Glossary: Kilby Shortcut

Every group of friends develops a very localized parlance, usually drawn from movies they’ve all enjoyed or memorable events. My group of college friends was lucky enough to include someone who had inherited a dominant curator gene, Keith Tyler. This is well-evidenced by his contributions to Wikipedia, but also by his entering into the historical record a fairly exhaustive list of rubbonics, complete with phonetics, that would be useful in deciphering our conversations of the day.

This way's faster!Sometimes, a term or phrase has the potential to break out of the group and escape to the community and beyond, and I’m going to nominate one to do just that, or at least get it into Google. This term was apparently born after the rubbonics were codified, and I can’t remember the date, but I do remember the circumstances.

We went to the Cheri Theater (now the site of the Summer Shack and King’s bowling), one chilly Boston night. On the way back, Kilby proclaimed “this way’s faster” and promptly crossed the street. We declined to follow and proceed on our way as Kilby marched down the other side of the street. At the next intersection, he crossed back to our side of the street, but was there before us. “How?,” you ask. The answer is simple, he walked faster. This was not the first time he had performed such a feat, but it was then that the phrase “Kilby shortcut” was coined.

Kil·by short·cut

noun (kÄ­l’bÄ“ shôrt’kÅ­t’)

A path between two points which is longer than other obvious choices, but the extended length is mitigated by travelling faster.

An ironic footnote is that Kilby doesn’t drive, and never has, yet somehow is the best navigator I’ve seen when it comes to exploring cities or unfamiliary territory. Except, of course, when he says “this way’s faster”…