History: When I was fourteen years old, I got my first job at a sandwich shoppe/ice cream parlor called the Front Porch. The owners bought industrial strength paper towels called Job Squad. Once in a while one of these would end up in the pocket of my uniform at the end of my shift, and sometimes it would make it through the wash and dry cycle of the laundry. They were excellent quality and didn’t shred or fall apart in the washer. Consequently, Mom started buying Job Squad. That became our family’s designated paper towel. Just as Miracle Whip was always our “mayo” and Blue Bonnet was always our “butter,” Job Squad was always the house paper towel.
Observation: Fast forward many years. Tonight at the dinner table, I said, “Chuck, pass me a Job Squad, please.” He proceeded to pass me the cheapie paper towels that we pick up at Walmart for fifty cents a roll. They are definitely not industrial strength. We buy them because they’re, well, cheap. Now, I don’t know anything about the household Chuck grew up in, but we have been married for 31+ years (off and on) and he also calls paper towels Job Squads. Maybe that’s what thirty years of marriage does to a person: you pick up the other person’s specific terminology and use it in reference to generic products.
In college I took a class (I don’t even remember what it was called), but basically it was a study of the English language. We learned a lot of interesting things, like why chicken is spoken of in euphemisms like “white meat” and “dark meat” instead of “breasts” and “thighs” and why some people say “ice box” when they mean “refrigerator,” “Coke” when they mean just a regular “soft drink,” “Poloroid” when they mean “photo,” and “Kleenex” when they mean “tissue.”
I don’t even know if Job Squads can still be found, but, if you’re ever around me at dinnertime and I ask you to pass me a Job Squad, you’ll know that I need a napkin or paper towel or something to wipe my hands on.