Thursday, June 08, 2006
I rode the school bus throughout junior high and high school. I went to school at what we in Chicago would call a "magnet" school but back in Rockford it was just Auburn. Auburn had the college-prep program, which I was in, and the performing arts program, which I made fun of but whose students I secretly envied. I had to get up at ridiculous times, wait for the bus in the dark at the corner of an empty field where there was no sidewalk and no curb and generally an immense puddle filled with mosquitos. Good times.
But the point of the story is that today I was remembering MOCB, the letters spray-painted on a crappy old brick building somewhere off Pierpont on the far west side of Rockford where decaying industry fades into decaying agriculture. "It means Masters of Cool Beat," one of my more worldy fellow bus-riders said. I suppose all the cool MCs would pronounce it "M-O-C-B" but we funny white kids preferred "Mockba". "MOCKBA!!!" we would yell with glee as the bus went by that building in the early morning light. MOCB became our favorite greeting, preferable to saying "Hi" or "Word to your mother" or whatever we were saying back in the 80s. MOCB! MOCB!
My senior year, our high school offered Russian for the first time. My best friend (and fellow MOCB enthusiast) Cathy and I took it, because we were bored overachiever types who fantasized about becoming fabulous glamorous spies (or maybe that was just me). The Russians were still mostly bad guys at the time, you know. Imagine our glee on the day we learned about major Russian cities and how their names are written in Cyrillic. The Russian word for Moscow, in Cyrillic, is Mockba.
Just now, I looked up MOCB on-line to see what the rest of the world had to say about it. Google has no knowledge of any Masters of Cool Beat, and I suspect the worldly voice in the corner of the bus was pulling our legs. That's okay, though; his little deception gave us much happiness, indeed a happiness that has lasted nearly 20 years and counting.