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The question has divided Reddit.
How many “chuggas” come before “choo choo?”
This question was recently posted in the r/TooAfraidToAsk subreddit, which is typically home to the sort of questions you want to ask anonymously. Queries like “Is it okay to prefer living in fantasy instead of reality?” and “Is it against the law to make leather out of your own skin?” make us wonder if Reddit users need a blanket and some hot cocoa. But recently redditors became obsessed with the chugga conundrum.
“How many ‘chuggas’ are you supposed to say before ‘choo choo,'” user u/baption0 wrote. “I’ve always said two, but now my kid is saying three. However, my kid’s preschool teacher says one and it pisses me off that there aren’t enough chuggas for a choo; how’s the train supposed to go anywhere?”
The question immediately sparked a debate of presidential proportions.
Many people were inclined toward three chuggas. Simple. Sweet. Attainable. Three chuggas roll off the tongue and seamlessly flow into the subsequent choo choos.
But is it enough? One of the top commenters noted that they prefer an equivalent number of chuggas to the “na na’s” in the opening to Batman. “My rules (sic) is the same number of chuggas as we do for the Batman cartoon theme song,”deadfermata wrote. “Na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN!”
People were into it—1,600 votes for 13 chuggas. Not everyone felt that so many were necessary, however. “4 chuggas per choo is a very nice ratio,” one redditor challenged. There was much discussion on whether a single chugga could even get the train moving—a ridiculous notion that was quickly dismissed.
From there, the numbers modestly went up. Users hotly debated the possibility of four chuggas, which was a delicate number that deserved consideration, but just didn’t feel right to the majority of users.
The consensus, after literally days of discussion this month, seemed to come to eight. Eight chuggas—with alternating emphasis—before any “choo choo.”
Someone even did surprisingly complicated choo choo math. Their conclusion agreed with the rule of fours but took it farther than the others. A full 16 chuggas would need to separate each choo choo, according to Da_Anh, asking: “[I]f 2 trains leave the station at the same time traveling opposite directions and one travels at 4 chuggas per choochoo and the other 12 chuggas per choochoo, how long till they are 4 choochoos apart?”
Things got a little convoluted from there, but he found an answer. And Reddit users seemed to agree.
Thanks to the tireless work of the people at Reddit, we now have answers to a pressing question we didn’t know we’d asked. It takes eight chuggas to reach a choo choo, apparently.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.