.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The Last to Know - or - Mystery Solved - or - Do Whack a Do

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Fairbanks ten years ago was the abundance of taxis. I have lived in several towns the size of Fairbanks and cabs are a rare sight. There were cab companies in the other cities, but taxis were few and far between and usually parked at the airport.

On a busy winter day in this town of 30,000 residents there might be close to 100 taxis on the road at the same time. That includes cabs from the big companies and numerous independent operators who hang out at the airport.

Cab drivers come and go so fast that it is hard to keep track of names. Personally, I don't know the names of 1/4 of the drivers in my own company with whom I work at night, and in the busy season (winter) I might only know half of the drivers by name. The only day shift drivers I know by name are the guys who have been with the company more than two years. The drivers who do stick around are fairly tight, at least as tight as independent bastards can be. I have been pushing hack in Fairbanks for six or seven years. I know by sight, if not by name, all of the drivers who have been around for more than a couple years and I'll stop to shoot the breeze with them regardless of which company they drive for.

But there is one driver who I did not know.

His name is Whacker and he is a legend in the Fairbanks cab world. Whacker has been driving cab in Fairbanks for many years longer than I have. Other drivers have described to me what he looks like, which cab he drives, and other tidbits which should have helped me identify him, but I could never put a face to the name. To further complicate the situation Whacker bounces around between cab companies and alternates between day and night shifts as the mood strikes him.

Whacker was once known by another name, but ever since he got caught whacking in cab he has been known as "Whacker". As long as he lives in Fairbanks he will be known in the entire taxi business as Whacker.

Every cab driver in town knows Whacker, passengers know Whacker, even new drivers know Whacker, but I didn't know Whacker. I should add that the whacking incident occurred at the company for which I drive and Whacker has never been welcomed back.

I finally figured out who Whacker is.

Don't know why I couldn't put a face to the name after all these years. I've known him, have talked to him and even given him numerous cab rides over the years.

All of this could have been avoided if he had just introduced himself as Whacker. It's as though I met Bono and he introduced himself as Paul Hewson. Who the hell is Paul Hewson? Does Bono's mother even call him Paul Hewson?

My wife introduces me as asshole. I'm fine with that.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?