Kurt asks: “Okay, I give up. What’s a turtle?”
Well, Kurt, it’s a good-natured but rather silly drinking “club” which has a loosely organized lore and history going back to some pilots in WWII. Turtles are supposedly clean-minded individuals who will keep to themselves but “stick their necks out” for people in need.
The clean-minded part is tested, as a rite of initiation by giving the right (clean) answers to double-entendre riddles, such as:
Q — What goes in hard and dry and comes out soft and wet?
A — Chewing Gum.
Yes, pretty silly, but good clean tongue-in-cheek barstool fun.
The “secret handshake” is when you ask someone “Hey, so-and-so, are you a turtle?” they have to say “You bet your sweet ass I am.” (Being clean-minded, it is always assumed that the questioning turle has a jackass in their posession. Heh.) regardless of the situation, or they have to buy the questioner a drink of their choosing.
Like I said it’s pretty silly. But so are many drinking activities perpetuated by college-aged kids. Turtles are significant in how widely they extend beyond college-aged kids.
I was sitting at the end of a two hour long design review which had left everyone, understandably, feeling a little punch-drunk. An older guy, the developer, expressed his desire to imbibe at a local establishment later that afternoon. Making conversation, I aksed where he planned to go. “The Turtle Club,” he said, referring to a floating pub along the shores of the Lake not far from my own house. “Oh,” I said, “are you one?” briefly recalling my own silly college days. And he replied, “You bet your sweet ass I am.” right there in the conference room as we were gathering up our papers to leave.
And that reminded me to ask you all out there, if only as a cheap attempt to get more comments on my blog. Shameless *and* silly, I admit. And that’s how I came to mention Turtles.