[Ads-l] "short-bus people"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 20 10:04:50 EDT 2021


I wonder if this “short dog” for ‘short bus’ is related to “riding the dog” for taking the Greyhound (or by extension another long-distance bus.  I wonder how old that is; I looked for “dog” = ‘(Greyhound) bus’ in Jon’s extensive (three-page) entry for “dog”, which has lemmas for everything from penises and D grades and of course homely or lazy people, to worthless horses and venereal diseases, but didn’t see any relevant glosses, but I might have missed the bus. 

As far as my own familiarity—like Jon, elementary school in NYC in the ‘50s and no familiarity with the expression until I read reviews of the aforementioned movie “Shortbus” came out that explained the reference.

LH 


> On May 20, 2021, at 9:30 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> I vaguely remembered hearing about a short story that referred to a
> short bus as a short dog. Eventually, my memory was coaxed into
> revealing the name of the famous story which used "short dog" in the
> title. A bibliography for James Still, the author of the tale,
> indicated that the story was first published in 1951.
> 
> Short story title: A Ride on the Short Dog
> Author: James Still
> [Begin excerpt]
> The vehicle was scarcely half the length of regular buses—The Short
> Dog everybody called it.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> http://faculty.csupueblo.edu/sandy.hudock/biblio.html
> A James Still Bibliography
> "A Ride on the Short Dog." Atlantic 188, no. 1 (July 1951):55-58.
> 
> Garson
> 
> On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 11:04 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>> Pretty certain we had a short bus for special ed students in my small, rural hometown that dozens of regular sized busses coming in from the country in the 1960s.
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 6:53:00 PM
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Subject: Re: "short-bus people"
>> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "short-bus people"
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> The 2006 edition of Partridge has "ride the short bus" with a first
>> citation in 1995. Further below is a December 1994 citation.
>> 
>> Year: 2006
>> Book: The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English,
>> Volume 2: J-Z,
>> Editors: Tom Dalzell and Terry Victor,
>> Publisher: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
>> Entry: ride the short bus,
>> Quote Page 1615
>> 
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> ride the short bus
>> to be mentally deficient US
>> From the literally short bus that special education students use in the US.
>> 
>> Actually, I think our bass player, Frank [Cavanaugh], rode the short
>> bus, but that was 'cause his mom drove it =E2=80=94 Baltimore sun, p. 8, 28=
>> th
>> September 1995
>> 
>> =E2=80=94Chris Lewis, The Dictionary of Playground Slang p 184, 2003
>> [End excerpt]
>> 
>> Date: December 31, 1994
>> Newspaper: The Leader-Post
>> Newspaper Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
>> Article: 'Tak a cup o' kindness for auld lang syne'
>> Author: Ron Petrie
>> Quote Page A3, Column 4
>> Database: Newspapers.com
>> 
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> When you're a Scottish laddie on your first day of school and you ask
>> permission go to the bathroom -- "Kin ye lit me oot? I mus' gae my wee
>> nip a tinkle!" -- the teacher immediately brings in a speech
>> pathologist. "Special" is what the pathologist calls you -- "Special
>> Ronnie" -- but deep down you know that soon you'll be riding the short
>> bus to school.
>> [End excerpt]
>> 
>> On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 8:31 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> w=
>> rote:
>>> 
>>> Live and learn. Thanks.
>>> 
>>> I believe that was the practice even when I was in elementary school, but
>>> I've never heard the term "short bus."
>>> 
>>> JL
>>> 
>>> On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 8:18 PM James Eric Lawson <jel at nventure.com> wrot=
>> e:
>>> 
>>>> Derived from the practice of using short(er) school buses to transport
>>>> students with 'special needs'.
>>>> 
>>>> On 5/19/21 3:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>>> What th' -- ?
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>> https://www.yahoo.com/news/qanon-shaman-lawyer-makes-offensive-21443590=
>> 3.html
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> James Eric Lawson
>>>> 
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth=
>> ."
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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