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Old buffer

An "old buffer" is...?

Memory storage which needs to be refreshed
19(22.4%)
A retired Chief Petty Officer from the British navy
9(10.6%)
A foolish old man
40(47.1%)
An unfamiliar phrase
12(14.1%)
Something else which will be explained in a comment.
5(5.9%)

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Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
oursin
Dec. 21st, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
Or, of course, found at the end of an abandoned railway line
inamac
Dec. 21st, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
That was my first thought too - I spent far too much of my youth around railway enthusiasts.
frandowdsofa
Dec. 21st, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'd have gone with the old man definition, except he's not necessarily foolish. There's an aura of Chap and ex-military about him. Don Quixote is one, a lot of characters played by Wilfred Hyde-White, James Robertson Justice, and every so often Alec Guinness. Those two elderly Englishmen that are always in train carriages muttering about the cricket while murder and armed rebellion go on over their heads. Colonel Blimp, Falstaff, Lord Emsworth. A sense of time and potential past.
khalinche
Dec. 21st, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Lord Emsworth is a perfect example.
steepholm
Dec. 21st, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
I second all this.
the_alchemist
Dec. 21st, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
In that case, how does an old buffer differ from an old duffer?
owlfish
Dec. 21st, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
I would like to know this too!
non_trivial
Dec. 22nd, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
I would have said the two were synonymous.
chickenfeet2003
Dec. 21st, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
My, quite a bit younger than me, cousin is a retired CPO from the RCN. I don't think he'd take kindly to "old buffer".
la_marquise_de_
Dec. 21st, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
It's an old man, certainly, but not necessarily foolish -- more clownish or perhaps an object of mockery.
the_lady_lily
Dec. 21st, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
An elderly gentleman of a certain socio-economic class, not necessarily limited to ex-navel personel.
lemur_catta
Dec. 21st, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
Familiar with old duffers and gaffers. Buffers, not so much.
retsuko
Dec. 21st, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
I'd heard 'old duffer' before, but not 'old buffer'.
momist
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
Old buffer
To me, a buffer used to be associated with the end of a railway track. It's the device that stops rolling stock from running off the end, although not, as some people think, to stop many hundred tons of locomotive from running off the end under power.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895.jpg

An old buffer then, would be some ancient, or perhaps redundant, railway infrastructure. Memory banks haven't been around long enough to be old in my perspective.

An Old Duffer, is definitely the old man who can't get things right. I'm slowly becoming one.
zcat_abroad
Dec. 22nd, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
Could also be an elderly machine for polishing the floor. That's the first thing that springs to mind when hearing 'buffer' - something for polishing with (big or small, young or old!).
perfectlyvague
Dec. 23rd, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
Duffer's more common. I'd get what buffer meant, but I'd say duffer or codger over it and yes, I'd expect some sort of military background before 1970.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )