[Ads-l] "short-bus people"

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Thu May 20 12:56:11 EDT 2021


Here are some examples where “short bus” is used in a literal fashion to refer to the bus, not the special needs students riding it.  These are from ProQuest’s U.S. Newsstream database.

The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) (Jan. 28, 1987):  “The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority’s new, shorter buses, above, are being put into service.  The short bus, which carries 31 passengers, is parked next to one of LANTA’s regular 45-passenger buses.  At left, LANTA board members check out the interior.  The new buses will be used on routes with lower ridership and where narrow streets cause maneuvering problems for the longer buses.”

San Francisco Chronicle (July 7, 1990):  [Title:] “Short Bus for Short Runs Debuts at Muni Party.”

The Sun (Baltimore) (Feb. 4, 1993):  “The short bus this morning made me wince.  I would send a long one just so you would feel better, not like only a half-student part person.”  The title is “Disabled, Handicapped, Slow for Deb who hated waiting at the stop.”


John Baker

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2021 12:42 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: "short-bus people"

External Email - Think Before You Click


The Usenet database has many instances of "short bus" as a technical
term for computer hardware. I am too lazy to manually screen them out,
so this citation can probably be improved.
Below is an August 1991 citation for "rides to school on a short bus".

Usenet group: rec.humor
Article title: List: Phrases that mean CRAZY
Sender: David Build Caudle
Time-stamp: Aug 29, 1991, 6:11:44 PM
https://groups.google.com/g/rec.humor/c/cwD66KcVuCs/m/ptgUtRE2dUoJ<https://groups.google.com/g/rec.humor/c/cwD66KcVuCs/m/ptgUtRE2dUoJ>

[Begin excerpt]
Thanks to everyone who sent in their phrases. A few people noted
that someone had done this several months ago; even so, the
responses I got supplied several that weren't on this 'original' list,
which was sent to me by Barry Gunn and appears at the end of my
accumulated list. I decided to ignore this list and pretend that my
list was the first, so a few phrases in my list are duplicates in the
original list.

Seems like the most reported phrase was "a few sandwiches short of
a picnic", which was first sent to me by Deveron (name?).

Anyways, here it is...
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: David Caudle <SAS... at vm.sas.com<http://SAS...@vm.sas.com>>
toys in the attic
not playing with a full deck
not rowing with both oars
has a few pages stuck together
puzzle is missing a few pieces
basket case
gone fishing
bats in the belfry
has a few loose screws
rides to school on a short bus
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 12:28 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com<mailto:adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> Good job Bill, Dave, and everyone. Here is a Usenet citation from
> December 1992 for the phrase "Rides to school on a short bus".
>
> Usenet Group: rec.humor
> Poster: Frank Reid
> Time-stamp: Dec 16, 1992, 5:14:10 PM
> https://groups.google.com/g/rec.humor/c/b0tBYPAOphY/m/pJTL63QnkD0J<https://groups.google.com/g/rec.humor/c/b0tBYPAOphY/m/pJTL63QnkD0J>
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> THE LAST FULL-DECK LIST
> [started a few years ago by someone else, updated by me.]
>
> A bad spot on the disk.
> A bun short of a dozen.
> A couple of open splices.
> A couple of volts below threshold
> A couple of revisions behind.
> A cup and saucer short of a full place setting.
> . . .
> Rides to school on a short bus.
> Running on empty.
> Runs squares around the competition.
> Sailboat fuel for brains.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 10:43 AM Jonathan Lighter
> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com<mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> > We walked too - or took the city bus. As a result our few school buses were
> > all small (now that I think of it), about like a modern SUV. But I'd never
> > think of calling them "short" (too weird).
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 10:04 AM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu<mailto:laurence.horn at yale.edu>>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > 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<mailto: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<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<mailto: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<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>> on behalf of
> > > ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM<mailto:adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>>
> > > >> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 6:53:00 PM
> > > >> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto: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<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>>
> > > >> Poster: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM<mailto: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<mailto: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<mailto: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=<https://www.yahoo.com/news/qanon-shaman-lawyer-makes-offensive-21443590=>
> > > >> 3.html
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> --
> > > >>>> James Eric Lawson
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<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<http://www.americandialect.org>
> > > >>
> > > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
> > > >>
> > > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<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<http://www.americandialect.org>

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>

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