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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Monday, March 24, 2008

Short Change

About the time that I was in second grade, my father became interested in CB radios. He had a CB radio setup, and would fiddle with it in the evenings. He was a banker, so his CB handle was "Plug Nickel". As kids, we were FASCINATED with the idea of holding the handheld microphone up to your mouth, pushing the side button, and TALKING to people. And having lots of people in the area HEAR you and talk back!

This was before cellphones and texting, mind you.

What was even more cool than the talking, was the fact that you got to choose a new name! Your own secret codename that was just for using on the radio. Mom chose Sunshine to be her handle. Dad liked the idea of having names related to banking and money, so he called my little sister "Little Penny". I didn't have a handle, however. "Magic Princess" was apparently not on the list of acceptable CB handles my Dad was wiling to let me have. I wanted a handle of my very own, but anything I thought of just didn't work.

In the fall, we decided to have a big family hunting trip out to Eastern Oregon. Everybody loaded up the cars, and headed out to the woods. My sister and I rode in my grandpa's truck, and we listened on the CB radio as all the family members chatted. I REALLY wanted to have a chance to talk on the radio, and my grandpa said I could try it. So I put the microphone up to my mouth, and following the lingo I had heard everybody using, I said, "Breaker Breaker, I'm looking to talk to the Plug Nickel, Plug Nickel do you read?"

My father responded with, "This is the Plug Nickel"

And I said, "Hi, Dad!"

All I heard after that was a smattering of laughter over the CB, and various Uncles and extended family members joking about how quickly I switched from CB talk to little girl talk. I was slightly embarrassed, but I really didn't have anything else to say other than hi, so I grinned and made the best of it. That's when my father came over the CB, and said, "That's it. That's your handle. We're calling you Short Change." And it was perfect! It worked for the banking angle my Dad was looking for, even though it referenced my quick little CB chat.

I didn't really ever speak on the CB after that. It didn't matter. I had my handle, my own secret special name. I was satisfied.


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