Like its long-ago predecessor, the CB Radio, the Internet may drown in its own capability. A mosquito dies under a fatal slap and its demise will be reported, analyzed, and dissected in some niche on the Internet within minutes. Amateurs and professionals race to see who will be the first to report the tiniest morsel of information whether it has food value or not. The number of Blogs on the Internet must surely approach that of grains of sand on the seashore.
The CB radio craze came in the `70’s bearing the promise of turning the world that existed within the range of its signal into a warm, fuzzy community. People could pick up their microphone and with no more introduction than "Breaker, breaker," become whomever they wanted be and talk with anyone who cared to key their mike in return. Anonymity was "King.” We became someone's "good buddy" and presented ourselves to the world as "Pig Iron," "Miss Wallaby," or whatever nom de plume we felt described us. With our radio set to Channel 19 we “Put the “pedal to the metal” racing down the highways in convoys flaunting the cursed 55-mph speed limit.
For a time it was glorious. With a CB in our car it was easy to find strange addresses or pass the time pleasantly on a boring drive. Making full use of our anonymity of our “handles,” it was easy to carry on flirtations with “Foxy Lady,” “Red `n Ready,” or “Spicy Sue;” each of whom could just as easily have been someone’s grandmother as a willing femme fatale.
Long tedious drives on dreary Interstates were made more bearable by the jokes, banter and dire warnings of "Bears," "County Mounties," and "Local Yokels, who sometimes were said to be "advertising " with flashing "bubble gum machines" mounted on top of their patrol cars. It was “combat” between the cops and us. Being “in the rocking chair” we could cruise at whatever speed we dared so long as we did not pass our “Front Door” or get passed by our “Back door.” “You shake and I’ll rake `em.” the vehicle in the rear would broadcast to whoever was out in front looking for “Smokey.” The best place to be was “in the rocking chair” where you could cruise at whatever speed you cared-to so long as you didn’t pass the guy leading the convoy or let the guy in the rear of it pass you. Although the range of a CB radio was somewhere around 25 miles, there were times when driving down the highway at night in certain atmospheric conditions we could, due to something we called “skip,” hear someone talking from somewhere clear across the country.
Soon the cool, clear water of innocent conversations and flirtations was replaced by the effluvium that rose from the bottom of the constant stream of verbiage. Obscenities, lurid descriptions of “beavers” and gutter talk became the norm. It was no longer “safe” to have the CB turned-on with your wife, girl friend, or kids in the car. The forest of CB antennas on America's highways began to disappear, and within a few years CB radios became artifacts; killed by filth.
Interesting observation there Don. I never thought about the CB culture and how it morphed into the internet culture but on steroids so to speak. The internet is different in some ways though I think it is evolving, or at lest I hope it is. It is an incredible tool that has been givin into the hands of the masses and in as much as they do and will use this tool for 'base' reasons I truely hope it matures and becomes a tool that can save a generation and usher in a new and better tomorrow. Time will be the test, and this site i hope shows the way. Thank you for being part of this.
That's a big 10-4 good buddy . I was" Charlie The Tuna" for quite a few years myself . Now I'm just me . I know the internet has filth on it but up to the ibdividual which way he goes on the internet . I prefer sites like this .
I've forgotten my "handle." Old Age.... Dennis and Charles, I agree with both of you that the Internet has some important differences to the ol' CB. Biggest thing, maybe, is that on CB you really didn't have any way to avoid the filth. Pretty much everyone out on the highways used Channel 19. Had to take whatever came over the airways. With Internet we go where we want to. I believe in "Free Speech" up to a point. Pornography is past that point to me.
Great story and good comments. I also don't recall my handle but I do remember using call letters. KMA-0525. KMA oh five two five calling KBD 3540 come on in KBD thirty five forty. My grandfather lived with us and brought one home. I was hooked and it is the single thing I remember most about my relationship with him. Thank you CB's. I lost interest (teenage things) before it got smutty. Thanks for reminding me of the fun.
The parallels between CB and the Internet never occurred to me, but I find your comparison quite interesting, and when I got to "each of whom could just as easily have been someone's grandmother as a willing femme fatale" I actually burst out laughing. Good one!