Today, we would like to talk about the jerk.

Not necessarily the jerk that cut you off in traffic before you read this entry. Although, that is one sort of jerk. And if by some chance, YOU are the jerk who cuts some one off in traffic always remember to give the courtesy wave. (1)

Jerk is an interesting word.

I looked up the definition in Webster’s Dictionary. Now, I could get off on a whole tangent about Noah Webster but will save that for another time. (2)

The first definition of jerk, is:

1- That A-hole that cuts you off in traffic on the highway knowing full well three lanes are changing to two in summer construction season, yet he barrels up in the right lane and imposes on your progress by cutting you off because you were the considerate driver who left a safe interval between you and the car in front of you.

OK. I made that one up. But here’s some other definitions from the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

-A single quick motion of short duration.
-A jolting, bouncing, or thrusting motion.
-An annoyingly stupid or foolish person.
-The pushing of a weight from shoulder height to a position overhead. As in “clean and jerk.”

Then if we start adding modifiers to jerk, we end up with jerk offs, knee jerk reactions, jerk chicken, beef jerky, jerkwater towns and soda jerks.

There was even a dance called “The Jerk” in the 60’s recorded by a band called the Capitols.


A quick digression to the Soda Jerk and his theater of operation.

The soda fountain was a social gathering spot in the late 40’s and 50’s in Americana. Many of them were in Drug Stores. Some of them were stand alone Soda Shops. Some of them were called Malted Shops. Some of them were in Diners.

The most famous replication of the soda fountain social setting were as follows:

1) Arnold’s Diner in the TV series, Happy Days. Richie Cunningham and Arthur Fonzarelli hung out here. “Ehhhhhh.”


2) Danny and Sandy meet on occasion at the Frosty Palace in the movie Grease sometimes sipping a soda with the Pink Ladies and T-Birds. “Summer Days, drifting away to, uh oh, those summer nights.”


3) While much of the action takes place with the fast cars in the parking lot at Mel’s Drive-In, there is a less featured soda fountain inside. “Rock ‘n’ Roll will stand man. Who’s this on the Wolfman telephone?”


4) The Chok’lit Shoppe was the comic book Soda Shoppe hangout for the Archie comic book series. It was run by “Pop” Tate and if you ever read the comic book series, who can forget frequent scenes where Archie is flanked by Betty and Veronica sipping sodas. Oooo what a Lucky Man he was.


You can dance it, you can eat it, you can beat it, you can lift, it you can be it. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for Jerk. Just don’t be one.

(1) In case you missed the inaugural Wedwand post, here’s a read on the courtesy wave:


(2) Noah Webster lived from 1758 until 1843. His Dictionary, the Webster dictionary took 26 years for him to compile. It sold 2,500 copies.