November 10th, 2003

i'm ready for my close up mr demille

I finally feel like a real trucker

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Yesterday afternoon, I had a good deal of time on my hands so I decided to do some busy work on the truck. I cleaned it up and vacuumed the cab out. I also got realy industrious and changed my wiper blades. While digging around through my stuff and putting things away, I came across this dinky old CB radio that my Dad had given to me back when I started trucking. It's not much to look at, it's digital, and very small. I didn't even know if it worked. I pulled it out along with a set of battery clips that I had and hooked the clips up to one of the truck batteries. I took the live ends and touched them to the wires on the CB. It lit up! Whaddaya know? I'd been carrying that thing around with me for a year now and had never bothered to even check. I really don't have much use for a CB. They come in handy every now and then. For instance, some shippers will "call you" on your CB when your load is ready, or it's time for you to go into the dock area. They're also handy when you are behind another truck who is attempting some reverse manuever and you can actually be his "eyes" for the rear of the trailer, and vice-versa. They're also handy for keeping up with where the "bears" are or keep abreast of traffic conditions in metropolitan areas. While all of these things are certainly handy, they're not necessary to performing my job and the year long absence of a CB radio has always been more of an afterthought.

But now I had one that worked. So I figured out how to take apart the CB radio compartment above the dash and located the wires for connecting it. Unfortunately, I did not have any electrical tape, so it would have to wait. This afternoon I completed my installation and spent the latter portion of my workday listening to the chatter on the CB. I quickly remembered how I grow weary of CB chatter. But it is fun to listen to, just for the colorful and inventive language. I think my favorite is the use of the phrase "come on", both for how it's said (which can't really be re-produced here, but sounds something like "Kohm-oan") but also for how it is used. It's used at the end of a statement and, roughly defined, means that the speaker requires a response, either from someone in particular or general. As an example, tonight someone broke in and said "Coyote. You got it on? Come on."

"You got your ears on" incidentally became so cliche that real truckers don't use it any longer. Ditto for "good buddy". Actually, while I was in driving school, I was told that "good buddy" is now synonymous with "homosexual" in CB-speak. Another inventive phrase I heard tonight was used by a driver telling another driver which mile marker he had just passed. He said, "I just dropped the 80 in my pocket."

I'm not really good at idle chatter, so it's not something I see myself engaging in, at least, not anytime soon. It's akin to an LJ community or internet chat room; it's a good idea to "lurk" for while and understand the etiquette and lingo before joining in. Besides, I don't even have a cool CB handle. When I was a kid back in the late 70's, during the height of the trucker/CB fad, my handle was Red Rider, but I discovered that is a rather tired handle: it even appears in a Johnny Cash song.

Poll #203087 CB handle

What should be my CB handle?