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‘1111 -61,, 116 3 I SST ‘Ar ” srem /-‘4′ r 111, Adwz., _ PRECIATE IT, On Texas highways The subculture of Citizens Band radio trucker subculture from whence it spread to the shitkicker subculture, is gradually seeping to the surface of the state’s consciousness. CB is now so big that the Authorities Are Concerned, novelty tunes about the phenomenon are heard on the country-western radio stations, and the freaks are starting to crash the scene. In what may be a repeat of the fantastic cultural cross-pollination between freaks and shitkickers that produced progressive country music, one now hears CBers with The East Texas Roach Clip, Armadillo Rose, and Bogart \(to bogart a joint is to hold it the way Bogey did his cigarettes, inBut for the most part, CB is shitkicker civil disobedience. CB is not, as Newsweek seems to think, a trucker’s medium. It has grown beyond that, and now it belongs to the necks. The impetus for the amazing growth of CB was the imposition of the 55 m.p.h. speed limit in December, 1973. Drivin’ down the highway real fast in your pick-’em-up truck throwin’ Pearl or Star cans out the window is a time-honored part of shitkicker culture: a right, dammit. Kickers, like their wealthy opposite numbers in the oil industry, have never thought much of gummint interference. Texas CB dealers have no idea how many of the things are aroundall they know is that CB is spreading fast. According to one dealer, it took the Federal Communications Commission 15 years to process the first one million applications for CB licenses, five months for the second million and three months for the third million. The FCC licenses cost $4 for five years and some older CBers don’t bother to renew. There is a 90-day waiting period and the FCC is reportedly swamped and hiring additional help. The radios themselves cost between $150 to $160 a unit and $20 to $25 for installation. Their range in towns is five to six miles and on the highway ten to 12 miles. CBerscan and do argue that CB promotes highway safety. It is not a totally insane argument. The thing is excellent for keeping sleepy drivers awake and it does focus attention on driving, road conditions, and staying alert for sight of smokies. 6 The Texas Observer CBers occasionally use their radios to help law enforcement, reporting weavers or super-speeders, and warning nne another of road hazards and accidents ahead. They are good about reporting stranded motorists who need help. And it is still enough of a neck tool so that when a longhaired friend of ours, who was driving back from Dallas feeling cool, found a pick’em-up with a CB antenna sitting on his hmmm-hmmm, he slowed down, put out his joint and took off his beret fast. But it must be said that those who claim that CB is chiefly used to help “the laws” are full of bull. About four-fifths of all CB conversation concerns evading the laws, a.k.a., smokies, bears, local yokels, county mounties, black-and-whites, smokies in etc. The main idea is not to git caught speedin’. CB is also splendid entertainment. It’s the ol’ vox populi, unadulterated. The genius of the people, without pretension. DeToqueville would have loved it. CBers are themselves so down-on-the-ground, not to mention being downright coon-ass, that it is silly to rhapsodize about them; as though The New York Times had sent some high-brow music critic to review Willie Nelson. But CB does display the peculiar American genius for cooperation individualism, friendliness, and disrespect for authority. CB is getting together to outwit the Man. As we have pointed out before, Texas is just like the rest of America, only more so. Pardon our chauvinism, but a quick sampling of CB in four nearby states leads us to conclude that Texas CB is spicier, saucier, more full of juice and spunk than that heard elsewhere. \(Colorado CB is, comparatively, downright In the first place, CB here is a splendid cacophany of Texas accents. Lord, listen to the East Texas drawls; marvel at the West Texas twangs; wonder at the flat, raspy tones of the Panhandle. Through all of them one finds that raunchy Texian humora combination of pungent expression and artistically mangled grammar. Anybody who would leave the -g on an -ing suffix had best not go on Texas CB until he gits the problem corrected. Black and chicano accents are relatively rare, but in East Texas, Cajun accents are surprisingly frequent. One starts conversation with CBers going in the opposite direction \(after sight “Break one-nine,” meaning that you are breaking into the conversation on Channel 19, the main CB channel. If 19 has too many folks on it already, as usually happens in large cities, you and your callee can agree to switch to another channel. “Break one-nine for that northbound maroon-over-silver Chevy. Yew got your ears on?” If that maroon-over-silver Chevy has his ears on, he replies, “Hey there, breaker, you got that maroon-over-silver Chevy. Come on.” “How’s it look back over your shoulder, good buddy?” \(Have buddy is a generic term including all CBers. Some CBers are chary with their “good buddies,” applying the endearment only to those with whom they have travelled in convoy, but it is usually used in impartial and democratic fashion. Good buddy replies, “Yew got a clear shot [there are no cops] alla way back to that ol’ Amarillo town.” Another peculiarity of CB is that all agglomerations of human habitation, from villages to major metropolitan areas, are given the prefix “that ol”‘ and the suffix “town,” as in “that ol’ Dallas town” and “that ol’ Dimebox town.” Grasshopper and Charlie Brown chatted in the dark at 6 a.m. in mid-January in East Texas. Charlie Brown had seen an I8wheeler pulled over by the two-five-five. A big truck is an 18-wheeler: a car is a fourwheeler: a pick-up is always a pick-’em-up truck. Two-five-five refers to highway marker 255. If a good buddy asks you for your 10-20 and you haven’t seen a mile marker lately, you ask him to wait a shortshort until another one comes up. In the dawn near Dallas, Sidewinder and Preacher Man, both headed in the same direction, gloomily discussed recent talk about regulating CBs. The Texas Department of Public Safety has recently had some of its patrol cars monitoring CB in random areas in an effort to determine whether CBers use their medium more to help the law or to evade itsomething any honest CBer could have told them before they started the spot check program. Sidewinder, in the lead, put his hammer down. Preacher Man then put his pedal to the constitued a convoy, with Sidewinder runnin’ front door \(keepin’ lookout for