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Scooping the loop is some form of a bizarre social ritual, observed in small towns in rural Iowa over the weekend. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, teenagers from miles bring their cars and drive in slow circles around the town square for hours at a time. (The town square is also referred to as the 'loop', hence 'scooping the loop'. Nobody is quite sure where the 'scoop' part came from.) There's lots of horn honking, pulling over to say a quick hello before hopping back in and scooping again. Think American Graffiti, only with a much more backwater flavor, a hickup truck or two, and no Harrison Ford.

Scooping the loop is a phenomenon that, for some reason, seems to make a lot of sense to the locals that do it. To the rest of us, it's pretty funny and rather pointless... but then again there's nothing else to do in these small towns. Apparently scooping the loop is a rather common thing in quite a few Iowa towns, although perhaps under slightly different regional names; a good example can be found in Pella, IA on Sunday nights. (The story goes that on Friday nights, the locals are all off scooping the loop in nearby Knoxville, and on Saturdays, in Oscaloosa. Or maybe the other way 'round).

But woe betide the poor college student who is returning from break on Sunday night and accidentally turns into the town square; it can take 20 minutes to get out of the loop once you've accidentally scooped it. Not to mention that everybody else knows you don't belong and you get honked at a lot.

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