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How Many ‘Chuggas’ Go Before The ‘Choo Choo’?

Human beings have a pretty highly-evolved brain, and can ponder all kinds of deep, philosophical, existentially relevant questions.

“Why are we here?”

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“What happens to us after we die?

“How many chuggas before the choo choo?”

What? You think I’m kidding? Then you obviously haven’t visited Reddit’s r/TooAfraidToAsk subreddit in a while, because that’s the exact question that lit a thread on fire. At the time of publication, there are over 27,000 “upvotes” on the post that asks the very simple question, “How many “chuggas” are you supposed to say before “choo choo”?

Roll your eyes all you want, but considering the mountain of garbage that is modern life at the moment, turning down our cynicism for a debate like this can be fun. And, I don’t know about you, but I can use some fun these days. I can use a lot more than “some” even, so let’s take this chugga chugga debate off the rails (not apologizing), shall we?

The onomatopoeic question of course refers to the sounds we make when impersonating a locomotive engine. Trains are pretty rad, and we all love doing the impression. But a lot of us have different opinions on just how many times you’re supposed to say “chugga.” I honestly didn’t put much thought into it until I started writing this, and then, once the recreational cannabis kicked in, then I REALLY started to think about it more in depth. My personal chugga count is four.

If you were around for the “Yanni vs. Laurel” debate, then you’re ready for this one. While a lot of people went with the classic, elegant, simple, two-chugga setup, others had much different ideas. One user said they think of it in terms of the theme song for the classic TV iteration of “Batman.”

“My rules (sic) is the same number of chuggas as we do for the Batman cartoon theme song,”deadfermata wrote. “Na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN!”

deadfermata picked up a lot of votes, probably from people who thought it was a hilariously long answer, and it is. I kinda hear it in the tune of the Batman song too, which makes it even funnier. Pretty sure it was just a joke, but there were others who agreed with me, that four is the jam.

Of course, I am very biased and four sounds perfect to me. However, the plurality of users seemed to concur that eight is the number that sounds best to them. Eight chuggas.

I like that that there was a redditor who took this as a challenge to really dig in on the math. Because it’s one thing to have an opinion. When that opinion is backed up with some solid mathematical computation though? It just feels like a much more intelligent subjective opinion on an ultimately irrelevant discussion. But still…

Their conclusion agreed with the rule of fours but took it farther than the others. A full 16 chuggas would need to separate each choo choo, according to Da_Anh, asking: “[I]f 2 trains leave the station at the same time traveling opposite directions and one travels at 4 chuggas per choochoo and the other 12 chuggas per choochoo, how long till they are 4 choochoos apart?”

So there you have it, it seems that the world has debated and decided that it takes you eight full chuggas to get to the choo choo of a train impersonation. But there is one person’s input on this vital topic that I felt was missing.

Maybe all the chuggas in the world don’t matter as much as those choo choos. This guy thinks so, anyway.

And if that’s not enough for you, this is the best thing you will watch all week, we promise:


Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.

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