“Breaker-Break!” (Or so we started CB conversations in the 1970’s)

Maybe you remember those days. For whatever reasons, Citizens Band radios exploded in popularity in the mid-70’s and I just had to get one. It was kind of like the blogs, Facebook and Twitter of the day but in audio only. Kind of like the cellphones before smartphones, only without the ability to keep it one-on-one private and within a limited radius. CB’ers had their own lingo and instead of names we had call signs — usernames called “handles” which often related to our jobs or interests. We’d turn on, tune in and try to insert ourselves into the multitude of others within the 15-mile legal broadcasting range who were also trying to cast their relational net in the sea of 23 channels (later 40, not counting the single-sidebanders).

“Breaker, Breaker,” we’d announce our presence and desire to break into the radio channel’s conversations. And since the most common use of mobile CB’s was to find the fastest route while avoiding getting a speeding ticket, that was usually followed by something like, “How ’bout ya over there, westbounders on highway 78. Got your ears on? What’s it look like back toward the T-town?” And hopefully we’d hear something like, “You’ve got Big John in the Flying M” — the logo on Merchant Truck Lines 18-wheelers — “and you’ve got clear sailing all the way, so put your pedal to the metal. Have a nice night tonight and a better day tomorrow, good buddy. Big John on the side.”

And meanwhile, there was a growth in the use of “base stations,” who were non-mobile CB operators. Some number of those enjoyed trying to see how far they could increase their broadcast range by using powerful linear amplifiers. If one of those folks happened to live nearby and “tied a knot” in his antenna wire as that was called, their chatter would come through television sets and even over common radio speakers that weren’t even turned on!

And that brings me to a point. While I was once trying to reason with one of those overpowered neighbors, he loudly informed me that he’d bought his very expensive amplifier because “I want to talk!”

Well, CB’ers are still around and now we have the bloggers and Facebook and other channels, just – so – we – can – talk.

Actually, we don’t just want to talk, we want to be heard. Even the largely millennial population of texters who may not actually be flapping their jaws but tapping buttons instead, want to be heard. And not just heard, but somehow to be recognized as individuals, noticed — even cared about. They — WE, you and I — want to make a difference and matter to someone.

Like the ancient Greek philosopher, Archimedes, who said “Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I can move the world,” we’ve hopefully found our motive ability in our words. Whether our goal is to move THE world or just yours and mine, I’m talking and in some way, so are you. Comments?

Have a nice night tonight, and a better day tomorrow, good buddy!

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