The great 'chugga' debate: Internet questions number of words before 'choo choo'
A Reddit thread asking how many times the word "chugga" should be said before "choo choo" has garnered more than 3,300 responses. (Pixabay / Pexels)
Ryan Flanagan, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019 10:22AM EDT
Chugga choo choo.
Chugga chugga choo choo.
Chugga chugga chugga chugga choo choo.
Chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga choo choo.
You saw that, right? That one or more of those lines above just does not scan, no matter how many times you try to make it work?
Here’s the thing: There are plenty of people who will agree with you that something seems wrong about some of those phrases, but disagree with you about which one’s right.
Yes, while the world continues to be plagued with problems around poverty, disease and conflict, people on the internet are arguing about the proper construction of a phrase meant to entertain children while possibly also educating them about imitating the noises trains make.
It all started when a Reddit user posed the question to a subreddit called TooAfraidToAsk, which welcomes “strange, weird and potentially embarrassing” queries. A perusal of the subreddit Wednesday morning turned up such curious inquiries as, “Why does everybody like rap and I don’t” and “What time is it on the moon?”
The question that prompted an “all aboard” response, though, was far less open-ended.
“How many ‘chuggas’ are you supposed to say before ‘choo choo,’” Reddit user baption asked last week.
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Baption – it’s not clear if they’re a man or a woman – said they have always limited themselves to two “chuggas” and were concerned that their child had recently started incorporating a third into their train mimicry. Then they added another wrinkle.
“My kid’s preschool teacher says one and it pisses me off that there aren’t enough chuggas for a choo; how’s the train supposed to go anywhere?” baption said.
Much to baption’s presumed surprise, the Reddit hivemind ruled that baption, their child and the teacher were all shortchanging the number of “chuggas” by a significant margin.
The top-rated responses that directly answer the question all state that eight is the optimal number of “chuggas” in the crescendo-like build-up to the final “choo choo” – possibly with increased emphasis on the first and fifth notes of the “chugga” octet.
Other suggestions, which received fewer votes, included users signalling that two or more “chuggas” could be considered acceptable regardless of the exact number, and that any even number works just fine.
“You can never stop on an odd number,” said user ItsYaBoi2319.
The discussion also derailed, as Reddit threads are wont to do, with jokes and other off-topic asides, including commentary on the nature of baption’s query itself.
“This has got to be the most innocent question ever to be posted [here],” said user MsParisGreene.
“It depends on if the train is going uphill or not,” chimed in user AstridReilly1, prompting user obsessedwithhippos – a self-described “railroader” – to claim that they “don’t use as many chuggas” when going downhill as when moving up an incline.
All in all, baption’s question received more than 3,300 responses on Reddit – and plenty more once it jumped the track to other social media platforms.