A couple days ago, one of my friends heard my dad call someone a “huck,” and naturally they were confused by the fact that we all seemed to know exactly what he meant by this made up word. Anyone who has spent time at my house has undoubtedly heard this word being tossed around. In fact, right now as I’m typing this Pops is currently walking around the kitchen singing “hucks hucks hucks” as he searches for a small bags of crumbs he lost. If you are utterly confused by that last sentence, don’t worry I will try and clear some things up for you.
The word huck seems to have originated from my dad and his brother’s time at Penn State. It is derived from the word “huckster,” which was the name commonly used for peddlers back when peddlers were still relevant. At least, I’m pretty sure thats where it came from. By the time I was born, the word had taken on a new meaning. If you ask Pops or any of his roommates, they will explain that huck is simply a racially and gender neutral slur. By making up their own insult, Pops&co were able to call each other out without dragging in all the messy implications and baggage of the common insults most people use. For a bunch of drunk college kids in the 80s, that’s actually pretty progressive if you think about it.
So you’re probably wondering at this stage what qualifies someone as being a huck. A huck is anyone who is currently being any one of the following things: ignorant, ungrateful, rude, insensitive, self-centered, lazy, arrogant, greedy, cheap, sneaky, uncouth, pretentious, etc. etc. It truly is a catch-all insult for any type of unpleasant behavior you might experience. For example, the person who left trash in your car? Huck. That guy at work who never pulls his weight? Huck. Cadillac Poppop driving 60mph in the left lane? Sorry sir, you’re a huck. Your college roommate who offered to sell you the rest of his can of soda instead of just handing it over? Definitely a huck, maybe even the original huck. Even more serious crimes such as cheating on a boyfriend, stealing money, or turning your back on your family can all be classified as huck moves.
While there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to recognizing and properly labeling hucks (ie. “hucks leave cups”), in general you should feel free to use the term liberally at your own discretion. Basically, whenever you feel as though someone needs to be knocked down a peg or adjust their behavior, go ahead and call him out. In our family, this is what is known as “calling a huck a huck.”
Growing up, Tony and I were trained at a young age on the importance of being able to call a huck a huck. This means not being afraid to call someone out when there behavior was not up to par. It means being able to do so in a manner that was not a personal attack, but in a constructive way. It also means not being defensive when you yourself were being called a huck. Everyone has a huck moment now and again. Within the past week alone I’ve been called a huck for the following reasons: leaving for work without washing my breakfast dishes, going too long without changing Rory’s cage, not being concerned that my windshield wipers are broken, and opening 3 new credit cards on the same day. Sometimes we don’t even use words and just hold up our hands in the shape of an “H,” the international sign for “you’re being a huck.” Here at the Calvano household we seem to subscribe to the philosophy that it is better to be called a huck at home and correct that behavior, rather than running the risk of becoming a lifelong huck out in the real world. It’s a philosophy that I think has served us well.
I hope that you were able to learn something from this lesson on the history of hucks, or at the very least were a little bit entertained by the ridiculous family I am lucky to be a part of. Now, go forth and be confident calling a huck a huck.