Boaty McBoatface, Again, With Plows
You remember Boaty McBoatface. A few years ago, when the Internet (meaning most of us) was tasked with the responsibility of naming a British research submarine, Boaty McBoatface won the day. According to the New York Times:
We have James Hand, a public relations professional and former BBC employee, to thank (blame?) for this latest episode. Mr. Hand became a bit of an overnight sensation when he submitted the name Boaty McBoatface after seeing reports of the competition last week. Then he watched his creation spin completely out of control.
Now children in Vermont’s elementary schools are having their own Boatyesque moment, but this time, they are being asked to recommend names for each of the state’s 250 snowplows.
It’s not a totally new concept. Scotland has a history (since 2006) of naming its snowplows, known as “gritters.” Hence the name “Gritney Spears.” 2021 winners included Megameltasaurus and Spreddie Van Halen.
Why here? Why not? “VTrans’ Todd Law says they got a lot of inquiries from the public last winter about whether they’d consider naming their plows. and now, local kids will have the chance to do just that.” Schools have until October 22nd to submit their names -- one per school.
Best of all, every participating school will get to meet its newly named snowplow—with name displayed— when their plow pays a personal visit to their school.
The bandwidth of my own thinking cap on this is disappointing narrow, but I bet you’ve got some great ideas. Makes you want to be a school kid again, just for the opportunity to name that plow.
(Photo, top, courtesy of Vermont Agency of Transportation. Quote from WCAX.
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.