Lord, please don't take me away.
In the mid 90’s, I saw They Might Be Giants live for the first time. After being dropped off in front of the Moore Theatre in Seattle, WA with my best friend, I stood in line with other people who also knew who this band was. Were these my people? We were not yet old enough to drive, so probably not? There was a sound check happing from inside The Moore. We heard the first couple bars of Rabid Child. It was an enthralling reminder that we were about to see our favorite band.
Rabid Child is responsible for introducing me to two CB radio trucker terms:
Hammer Down: accelerate or go full speed.
Rabbit Ears: I actually just learned today that this isn’t even a common CB radio term. It may refer to someone who has their “rabbit ears” on as being someone who is listening in on their CB radio.
These two words, according to this track, are the only words known by Rabid Child and her friends Chess Piece Face and The Big Duluth (they call her every day.) Supposedly, all they say to each other are “Hammer down” and “Rabbit Ears.” Are these the only words they know in the English language or merely the only trucker terms they’ve learned? Is there a song like “Rabid Child” in their universe from which they learned these two terms?
Rabid child stays at home, talks on a CB.
Truckers pass, calling out their handles to the kid.
Isolated and alone. A youth, bored at home, with access to a CB radio. They’re so into this CB/Trucker culture that they find themselves immersed in a world with friends from all sorts of demographics who share the same interest. Not unlike kids of my generation who were early adopters of internet chat rooms or bulletin boards. Truckers tipped their high seated, forward slanting baseball caps. An acknowledgment that they all belong even though, in a different setting, the two may never strike a “normal” conversation.
Much like me and my best friend, standing in line with college age kids and above who have been fans of They Might Be Giants easily a decade ahead of us. Once we heard the Rabid Child soundcheck, we were all the same. Fans of a niche group bonded together for a short time.
The song has a driving drum beat and haunting electric organ sound. At the end, Linnell belts out the final “Rabid child!” with such emotion behind it. An incredible way to end a brief yet nostalgic rock song.
Who has even used a CB radio since before the 90’s? I’ve only seen them on TV shows or movies from the 70’s. If you’ve got experience with these, I’d love to hear about them from you. And hey, should you pass the Rabid Child, give her a “Hammer Down” on my behalf.
Did you grow up with a CB radio in your house?
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