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Of Fumpdedumps and Trucker Bombs

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In Umberto Eco's Knights Templar ridden novel, 'Foucault's Pendulum,' a best selling esoteric read that 'The Davinci Code' cowers beneath, Jacobo Belbo, a frustrated editor, concludes he can’t write a book because he's not 'cut out to be a protagonist.' He decides instead to be an 'intelligent spectator.' It is with Belbo's spectator resignation that I approach our two topics: fumpdedumps and trucker bombs, both of which inhabit the realm of 'phenomenon.'

You have certainly experienced a fumpdedump; you just never had a word for it – until now. Let's start with a definition. (I’ve made up the definition; 'fumpdedump' is not in any Dictionary… yet. Eventually, it will claim a rightful spot just as 'blogosphere,' 'frankenfood' and 'barista' have).

fump·de·dump > n. A phenomenon whereby a person hears of, sees, or experiences something they have never encountered. The newly learned thing will then repeatedly come into the person's awareness, oftentimes within one week. Upon the third experience of the thing, a 'fumpdedump' can be claimed. [< Lax.]

(Note: the entomology is assigned to my friend Lance and his ex-wife, since they made up the word).

Here's an example of one of my first fumpdedumps: While shopping for a dresser, I was informed that the piece I chose was a 'tiger stripe' pattern. A couple days later, I heard the words 'tiger stripe' on Antiques Road Show as the appraiser discussed tiger-striped furniture. Shortly thereafter, I read the words 'tiger stripe' while perusing an article on furniture. How is it that I can go my entire lifetime without ever hearing about tiger-striped furniture then hear about it three times in one week? That, dear reader, is a fumpdedump!

Although a fumpdedump has happened to you, you probably can’t think of one now, but with your newfound knowledge, you will definitely have an 'Aha!' when one sneaks upon you. And one is about to, for when I finish informing you about our next phenomenon, that of the trucker bomb, it will come into your realm of consciousness three times in a short time frame – unless you don’t drive.

truck·er bomb > n. When big rig truckers urinate into plastic jugs or bottles and toss them out their windows while driving.[< Lat. humanus urina. Ital. Bomba.]

I do believe I heard a collective 'Mon dieu!' so allow me to elaborate. Trucker bombs are such a serious issue that an entire segment on National Public Radio was devoted to it. If NPR can enlighten us, so can this esteemed publication.
Once informed of the NPR segment, I merely had to find the highway as bomb after bomb came into my expanded awareness through the course of the week, thus becoming in a way, my latest fumpdedump. Like me, you have passed hundreds of trucker bombs, but it never coalesced in your mind why so many vessels of yellow liquid that aren’t Gatorade bottles are peppered alongside the road. Well now you know.

These tepid bombs do in fact explode when road workers who trim foliage and mow along the highway run over them. They pose health hazards, cost taxpayers millions in clean up, and bypass recycling, heading to the landfill to biodegrade in 30,000 years.

Studious research led me to the phenomenon's cause: Long-haul truckers are mostly to blame as they are only paid for miles driven, thus making the pit stop uneconomical. Fine. Most of us can relate to urinating inside a plastic jug while driving to save money. Right? Yet the burning question remains in our hearts, indeed for all America: 'Why, Mr. Trucker Man, do you not wait until you stop and then toss your bombs in the garbage?' Perhaps – like the Grassy Knoll – we will never know the true answer, the raison d’être, the holy of holies, the Big Lebowski.

And so we come to the end of our foray into the realm of phenomenon. You finally have a word for when some absurd thing you’ve never heard of decides to pop into your awareness repeatedly and under no volition of your own. No longer will you be confounded. At last, you possess clear understanding of the yellow liquid-filled plastic bottles that have always lain in plain sight over the long miles. And, you now have a new car game to play with the children, where ‘whomever spies the trucker bomb first’ gets to inflict a charley horse upon the thigh of someone less perceptive.

At long last, you can claim yourself to be, like Jacopo Belbo, an 'intelligent spectator.'

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Reader comments so far...

Tim Hauserman (not verified)
Fumpdedumps always fascinated me, but I didn't have a great name for them. I just returned from a hiking trip in Minnesota, and now every five minutes it seems I am hearing something about where I hiked, even though I had never heard Jack before. Perhaps they are always there, but our brain just doesn't register.

Holly (not verified)
"Well screw them screwin' screws! Wake up people! Wow... I never knew about these "bombs". How horrific. Too bad CSI doesn't run the DNA and start arresting these loosers. And the fumpdedumps are a part of my everyday life. I love them! Hey... I think that "dear friend" was the same one who taught me about fumpdedumps too!"

Jane Hunt (not verified)
Excellent writing Keaven - you have such a natural talent...

jane hunt (not verified)
This is the best article I have ever read in my entire life. Pulitzer prize quality.

Debbie Sajdak (not verified)
You are brillant beyond any words I can form without a dictionary! A big thank you for increasing my awareness when we pick up road trash! Yikes!

Patti Ragsdale (not verified)
"Yes, I say "mon dieu," as well. I never knew. Would like to shoot the kneecaps of those unholy truckers with ping pong balls or worse."

suzanne ravgiala (not verified)
about 40 years ago i went camping with my parents and boyfriend and in the middle of the night i heard a strange noise, and lo and behold it was my mom peeing in a milk bottle. I am sure she did not throw it on the highway, but i was freaked out anyways !

Anndee (not verified)
Piss on them, those lazy so-and-sos. What do they do when they have to doo?

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January 10, 2019