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ursulav

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Driving back from picking up the last Harry Potter book, I got behind a silver minivan with one of those "Baby on Board" stickers.

However, in this case, the first B and the Y had been carefully removed. Since "Baby" had been centered on top, what remained said, quite neatly, "AB ON BOARD."

Hmmm.

Immediately, of course, my mind went into overdrive. Ab on board? Only one? Had the driver been in a terrible accident, rendering them five abs short of a sixpack? Was this sticker their way of coping proudly with this affliction?

Could they mean some other kind of ab? What else was there? Ab...ab...it'd be an odd abbreviation for abnormal...China Mieville had the lich-race called "ab-dead" but they were way too cool to drive minivans. There's a type of exercise equipment called an Ab Board, but who gets excited enough about their exercise equipment to modify stickers for their van?

The minivan eventually turned off, leaving these unanswered questions in its wake.


Readers beware - I've already had a couple of friends report that pages were printed out of order in their copies of the book.

Being a Food Network dork, the first thing to pop to mind was "AB? ALTON BROWN?! THAT WOULD BE SO COOL!"

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Ugh. I'm pretty sure it stood for "adult baby", which is the non-furry word for "Baby Fur". :/

Oh, sweet jesusmuffins.

Note: if you ever get to meet China, you'll note he has a full six pack. Not that I'm particularly prone that way, but I have a wife, and she and every other female at a certain convention in Ireland a few years back were outright drooling every panel he was on.

He was too much a gentleman to notice.

I have heard this from numerous sources as well...

Perhaps they were advertising their blood group in case they got in a terrible motor-vehicle accident?

This was my thought as well. That way the emergency responders can order ahead.

That is puzzling. I wonder what on earth the "ab" could stand for.

Maybe they were just advertising their blood type, in case there was an accident and they needed an emergency transfusion.

Damn it! You got my theory first!

Here in South Australia, the 'AB' refers to a particularly horrible chip/burger shop concoction. It involves chips, falafel meats, garlic sauce and tomato sauce. I know I've been told what the letters stand for, but I refuse both to know and to eat the damn things.

It made me think of the Abh, which are a race of genetically modified humans, by which I mean space elves, from an anime called Crest of the Stars/Banner of the Stars.

Able-bodied person on board? *shrugs*

You know, I'm amazed no one had mentioned this in 23 comments -- I'll bet the driver got tired of the MedAlert bracelets, and decided to advertise the occupants' blood type in case of an accident. That way, the paramedics can just root through the twisted wreckage and go, "oh, so *that's* what type of transfusion they need!"

Of course, the whole thing is rather redundant, since AB-type is the universal receiver, and the sticker doesn't even mention whether it's RhPos or RhNeg.

Of course, the whole thing is rather redundant, since AB-type is the universal receiver

'Universal receiver' is an oversimplification. As an AB+, I can receive other blood types with less risk than the other way around, but it's not risk-free... and when receiving plasma, the situation is reversed, so ABs are closer to 'universal donor'.

Very quick primer on transfusion science: each of us may have A and/or B antigens (chemicals that can provoke an immune response) on the surface of our red blood cells. Circulating in our plasma, we also have antibodies (chemicals that look for foreign material and tag it with a 'Kick Me' visible to the immune system).

A person with type O blood (which is just absence of A and B antigens) carries antibodies to both A and B. If you transfuse A, B, or AB blood into them, their antibodies will latch onto the A/B antigens on those cells, causing their immune system to attack the transfused cells. Their bloodstream gets clogged up with bits of dying cells, bad news.

If you transfuse type O whole blood into AB+ me, I don't have A or B antibodies, so the transfused blood cells are safe... but that type O blood contains A and B antigens, which will attack *my* blood cells. This is not as dangerous as the previous scenario, but it's still not great; I'd be safer getting my own blood type.

Plasma is basically the liquid component of blood, with the cells removed - and along with them, the antigens, but NOT the antibodies. So type O plasma still contains A & B antibodies that will attack my blood cells; OTOH, type AB plasma contains neither A/B antigens nor antibodies, so it's relatively safe for a type O recipient.

A long shot I know, but...

It wasn't coupled with any sort of Ancient Egyptian bumper stickers, was it? "Ab" was part of the nine parts of the soul, specifically the heart - which to them was where your "brains" resided.

Re: A long shot I know, but...

I think they've begun to prove that the heart does indeed have it's own sort of brain inherent in it's mechanical function. I think I've read that in a couple of different places, although I haven't yet gone digging for the actual sources that is based on. It's certainly an intriguing idea.

Sadly, when I see those signs, my mind happily produces images of babies literally strapped to wood planks.

My world is a twisted place.

I read it in a twisted spat of madness, and come away euphoric.

AB could be "able seaman" or "airman basic"

AB is one of the early ranks for a Sea Scout. Could be that the parent had a son or daughter who was in scouting.