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10 Questions with Hank, the CATA Bus Driver

If you haven’t seen him driving around State College like a maniac, then you’re truly missing out. Hank, the CATA bus driver (@Hank_CATAbus), is known for his hilarious tweets about dragons, Jägermeister, and his grandmother. I had the wonderful opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Onward State: What do you love about getting to drive a CATA bus every single day?
Hank: It’s not so much a love as it is a love-hate. There’s the good days…like the ones where I’ll make a mockery of some helpless freshman…or the days where I can laugh out loud at a student convinced they’ll get free tuition or even continue breathing if my CATA bus decided to hit them. Those are the days that really put the bread in my basket, so to speak.

Then there’s the bad days…like when it rains and you all smell like wet asshole all day long…or when it’s 8 a.m. and my not-so-morning self gets bombarded with cheery “Good Mornings!” and “Oh Happy Days!” Those are the days I rely heavily on Jägermeister to self-medicate my ex-animate soul. Not even my pet bearded dragons or the solitude of my personal lair in Gram’s basement can ease that pain.

OS: What’s your favorite and least favorite stop?
Hank: My least favorite stop would be any stop near Beaver Stadium. Sadly, things just haven’t felt the same without being able to wave at Joe, having him wave back at me every single time on the money. My favorite stop, aside from the one where you get off, is the last stop after a long day.

OS: Do you play music on your bus? If so, what do you listen to?
Hank: No. When I’m not utilizing the classic silence of an early morning commute for complex mental mathematical calculations, I’m listening to audiobooks on ancient mythology or dragon fantasy. You never know when these things may come in handy.

OS: Have you ever hit anybody or gotten into any accidents?
Hank: No, this isn’t amateur hour. I’m a professional and the best in the business. The only accident I’ve ever been in happened over 50 years ago, at birth. Gram wasn’t supposed to tell me that story, but she was really mad this one time.

OS: What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to driving around college students?
Hank: Getting flack for taking cig breaks…that shit drives me up the wall. When you’re out here all day, your forearms really start to feel the burn from whippin’ these behemoth CATA buses all over the State College region. Also, my undercarriage tends to get a bit moist/swampy and it’s nice to get some ventilation from time to time.

OS: What’s your favorite late-night drunk bus chant/song?
Hank: I’m fond of the one where everyone shuts the fuck up. I’ll never forget a cold night years ago as a young operator in training… I was forced to look on helplessly and witness firsthand what can happen when harmless drunk chants drive a timid CATA professional over the edge. Late-night songs and chants take me right back to the screams from that night. But all that aside, I do enjoy the occasional “Sweet Caroline.” PSU students must continue to carry that torch, even though Beaver Stadium chooses not to.

OS: Do you follow the no food/no drink rule?
Hank: I take that rule about as seriously as a heart attack. Everyone knows you don’t joke around about heart attacks.

OS: Is there a lady bus driver you’ve got your eye on, or do you like to stay solo?
Hank: Right now, no. The demands of this profession are often times too great to sustain a healthy relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of intercourse (especially spontaneous and unprotected), but I choose to fly solo and devote myself entirely to my craft.

OS: What made you decide to tweet about your daily life?
Hank: I’ve been in this profession a long time. There’s a lot of misconception about CATA bus drivers out there. Twitter became a medium allowing me to interact with followers and bus riders. I was able to let people know that, “Hey, there’s more to this overweight bus driver than meets the eye, just not all that much more.”

Even beyond that, Twitter has given me the opportunity to bring my followers to the front lines of battle, to see State College through the all-seeing eyes of a CATA driver. Whether it’s inside information on CATA, simple every day anecdotes, resurfacing feelings about my troubled past, or what I’ll be eating for lunch…I leave no stone unturned when it comes to Twitter. I tweet justice. I am CATA bus.

OS: As is Onward State tradition, if you could be a dinosaur, which dinosaur would you be?
Hank: I’m sure most of you already know I actually prefer dragons to dinos. It’s something I picked up when I was younger that’s just stuck with me. I guess I just feel as though I can relate to them. When I do choose to tweet about them it’s usually intimate, like some sort of emotional or spiritual release of what I’m feeling deep inside…

For example:
The family I don’t have…
@Hank_CATAbus: I plan on naming my first baby girl, “Peeeeyyyyaaaaahh” after the bittersweet sound of a weeping female dragon.

Gender confusion…
@Hank_CATAbus: If I were a dragon I’d be female (females possess superior aggressive tendencies and unprecedented dominance over males during mating season)

Superior Intellect/Scared for the future…
@Hank_CATAbus: “Gram, I’m home” *sits in closet corner with door shut tight and imagines the feeling of a dragon breathing fire for the first time ever*

I can’t believe I just sat through Les Miserables…
@Hank_CATAbus: If I were a dragon I’d most definitely eat cats, because fckin c’mon, they’re cats.

(Editors note: Hank the CATA bus driver isn’t actually a CATA bus driver…as far as we know.)

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About the Author

Maddy Pryor

I'm a 2013 Penn State alum with a B. A. in Public Relations as well as minors in History and Communications Arts and Sciences. I am proudly from Neptune, NJ and talk about it at any opportunity possible. I love college basketball and am a big fan of Penn State Basketball, as well as their official student section, Nittany Nation. I'm a big supporter of Relay For Life of Penn State as well as THON and Coaches vs. Cancer.

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