The first true failing of the recent "What Kind of English Do You Speak?" quiz bubbling up around the blogosphere is that it asks
Do you call it a
a. Drinking Fountain
b. Water Fountain
But doesn't include
Bubbler is an intensely regional term whose usage, I believe, doesn't extend more than 50 miles in any direction beyond Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you ask, "Is there a drinking fountain nearby?" they will gently correct you, saying, "Oh, you mean a bubbler," as though the "Milwaukeese" term is the common term and you are using wacky new slang.
Bubbler isn't slang—it's the real deal, and the term is old. For 18 years, I hadn't heard it called anything else by my classmates or their parents, or by mall clerks or gym teachers or bank tellers. Bubbler. I don't even know the origin of the term, but I do know that where I grew up there were a bevy of wild springs throughout the state forest, fonts you could see "bubbling up" out of the earth the same way, in other regions, you might enounter Black Gold.
Other funny Wisconsin language tic: There is no such thing as an ATM. I didn't know what that was until I moved to Minnesota (where "casserole" is strictly known as "hot dish"). In Wisconsin, all ATMs are TYME Machines, a quirky acronym that cleverly stands for "Take Your Money Everywhere."
Its usage ends when a teenage boy, trying to find cash to buy lunch in Minneapolis, asks everyone he sees: "Do you know where a TYME machine is?" And their puzzled, concerned faces: the precursor to Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite. The pity. The fear.