I had a great conversation the other day about the ways we used to socialize before the internet was a thing. Speaking in person is always important and I have yet to find a more rewarding form of socializing than face to face, but we can’t be around each other all the time (I’ve tried. It doesn’t end well). We are also going to ignore the post office and e-mail because those turned on us faster than a younger sibling who promised not to tell. But in my lifetime there was a type of communication that is still used and doesn’t get nearly enough credit. The CB radio.
The citizen band radio (or criminal band as it was affectionately known) was amazing. Depending on the size of your antenna (insert size joke here) and the people in your area, this was the intermediary for the cell phone, the weather channel, the GPS, and even chat rooms. And all of these features came free with the purchase of your radio. I can remember road trips with my dad where he would find someone interesting to talk to and hand me the mic. Dad was a trucker so he knew everybody anyway. Truckers were the best because they used the CB constantly. If you needed to know how to get around traffic or slow down where the cops were ask them. If they didn’t know first hand some had likely told them. Like most cultures you didn’t have to know the jargon to get along but it sure did help. “Breaker Breaker one niner, this is Sir Social. Anyone get the 20 of that bear on Rt 10?” Got you a lot farther than it’s translations. “Excuse me everyone on channel 19, my name is Paul. Does anyone know the location of the cop on Rt 10”
The best was picking your handle. Created after pen names but before screen names, CB handles have more flare than either because you got to say them. Like nick names tho you normally didn’t choose your own. Dad was Bronco because that’s what he drove for a long time. Grampa was Mechanic because he used to be one. But the one that takes the cake was my Nana. She was Happy Bottom because her name was Gladus and if you changed the pronunciation slightly it became Glad Ass. God love’ya Nan. The list went on Sawdust, Shaggy, Spanish Rose, Russian Hammer. These let you act however you wanted on the airwaves and only your friends knew if you were serious or just hamming it up. So the next time you see that awesome screen name that you wish you had thought of, just be glad no one chose a name for you like Bubbles or Skidmarks.