cleaning-the-gene-pool story?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ddubug, May 14, 2010.

  1. ddubug Senior Member


    I'm reading a memoir, 'Bittersweet' written by Matt McAllester.

    <The news editor sent me to a strip names Sunrise Highway.
    A motorcyclist had been showing off to his friends on the highway.
    He was balancing his helmet on his forehead. It slipped ontho his nose
    and he rode into the back of parked truck. "That's what we call a
    cleaning-the-gene-pool story," said another reporter."

    How can be a 'paked truck' on the highway?
    And what does this 'cleaning-the-gene-pool stroy' mean?
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    Highway must just mean ordinary road, not motorway, so vehicles can be parked.

    Cleaning the gene-pool sounds to me like a joke suggesting that this character is stupid (putting his own life at risk) and if he kills himself he will be ending his line, and thus his own personal gene pool will be stopped .. (I think, though there could be other ideas on that!)
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Suzi_br is close. It's not the man's gene pool that is cleaned. Rather, his death removes his "dirty" (i.e. dumb) genes from humanity's gene pool.

    A "cleaning-the-gene-pool story" would be a story in which someone is killed as a results of acting in a reckless or unwise manner, to put it mildly.
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  4. Spira Banned

    South of France
    UK English
    And of course it is a jokey allusion to (swimming) pool cleaning at the same time.
  5. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    It doesn't actually say that the parked truck was in the middle of the highway. The motorcyclist was driving down the highway when he became unable to see. He could have driven any amount of distance out of his lane before hitting the truck. The truck may have broken down and pulled over, or it may be parked a mile away from the highway - the story doesn't say.
    There could also have been a traffic jam ahead of him that he hadn't seen before the helmet blocked his view, i.e. all the vehicles on the road were stopped due to some traffic problem.
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Please be more careful with your transcriptions. Changed or omitted or added letters can change meanings in English.

    The typical U.S. highway has "shoulders" or service lanes on one or both sides. To "park on a highway" means to park on these lanes adjacent to the roadway. If this is the Sunrise Highway on Long Island, near New York City, it is a major highway with such shoulders and service lanes.

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