In the middle of a major snowstorm, the sight of a snow plow brings glee. In Scotland, the very names of snow plows bring glee.
Ordinarily, machinery such as a snow plow might be identified by some alphanumeric designation. Scotland doesn’t settle for ordinary, though. Scotland gives its snow plow fleet fun names, often puns related to weather, the country or pop culture.
Some of the cleverer snow plow names are “Buzz Iceclear,” “Sweet Child O’Brine” and “Megameltasaurus.” Some names need a bit of explanation, such as “Gritney Spears,” which derives from snow plows being called “gritters” in Scotland.
Maybe due to Sean Connery, James Bond-related names are popular. “License to Chill,” “On Her Majesty’s Slippery Surface” and “Live and Let Plow” are a few names Ian Flemming might like.
The practice of Scotland naming its snow plows dates to 2006. The Scottish Transport Ministry enlisted school children to submit fun monikers for the snow plows.
Another layer was added in 2016, when Scotland debuted an online tracker for plows. People can see the current status of all Scotland’s snow plows in real time. The system has more than 750,000 views this year.
The naming fun spread to the United States, where Michigan, South Dakota and Minnesota began seeking names for plows. “Salter Mondale” and “Lake Snow Be Gone” are two of the more clever Minnesota-related names.
Most Chicagoans are too happy to see plows to think about naming them, but as I helped a friend shovel out his car, I suggested we think of names. Maybe the cold froze our creativity, but the best we could make were “Mi-cold Jordan,“ “Al Pacin-snow“ and “Frostin’ Powers.“ At least it took our minds off the arduous task.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
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