Trucks Don't Eat Unleaded Gas
John U. Bacon
true: the body never lies. And I know this because I start sweating,
breathing deeply and tingling all over whenever I'm inside a pickup
that's right, nothing gets those magical hormones pumping faster than
a good ol' American truck.
all due respect to other forms of arousal, the pickup truck far surpasses
Kim Basinger for consistent thrills (or, perhaps for you, Mel Gibson).
For one thing, our chances with a truck are much better than with
a movie star. For another, it's never the wrong time or place to hop
in a truck; your performance behind the wheel actually improves
after a few beers (or I think it does, because the truck never objects);
and the damn thing always takes you home on the first night. I do
not find myself saying silly, regrettable things to a truck, and after
several years of contented companionship it doesn't say, "I need
truck actually transforms the driver. At 31 years old, I still look
more like Opie Taylor than Clint Eastwood. I get carded for buying
whole milk. But I hop in a truck and I'm overcome by an irresistible
urge to ramble through forests, chew Redman tobacco and fly over rows
of buses. Sure, I usually settle for ambling over parking stones and
chewing a stick of Juicy-Fruit, but the truck gives me the option.
That's why I'll lie, cheat and steal like a drug fiend simply to get
behind the wheel of one.
just as crazy about riding in the back of a pickup. I've hooted and
hollered standing in the bed, four-wheeling from Beale Street in Memphis
to logging roads in Michigan, which are like roller-coasters supervised
by a sloppy legal department. I remember leaning over the cab with
my buddies, giving the Rebel Yell while we were cruising 50 mph on
two dirt grooves. I remember all my friends ducking for no apparent
reason on one of the more perilous descents, and then noticing that
my cowboy hat had fallen off. I remember looking back to see it dangling
on the branch behind us, the one that missed decapitating me by about
four inches. I remember peeing my pants, just a little bit. I don't
do that anymore.
truck's natural seductiveness transcends economic and generational
lines. My father is a 63-year-old pediatrician whose work on juvenile
diabetes has been published nationally. He dreams not of the Nobel
Prize or a MacArthur Fellowship, but manning the wheel of a K-Whopper
down I-94, eating at truck stops and talking on the CB.
mother does not share my father's vision. When they received a sizable
tax return a few years back, my dad thought it the perfect opportunity
to appease his appetite and get a Dodge Ram pickup.
Mom thought otherwise,
suggesting instead a Steinway grand piano. After a long and heated
debate, they compromised by purchasing a baby grand, with a gun rack
mounted on the side.
the visceral thrill of truck driving is being threatened by the Banana
Republic Syndrome: the more rugged a product is, the wimpier its buyers
trucks are for picking things up. So why are suburbanites who pay
someone to pick up their trash buying trucks like mad? Most of the
current truck buyers could just as easily fulfill their hauling needs
by getting a golf-cart with tire chains.
they buy the next best thing: a dinky little truck with bucket seats,
tape deck, a king cab, short bed, and air conditioning. Then they
take it to the grocery store, buy chardonnay and brie, and wax it
us be blunt: a real truck has a functional bed, not a King-Cab in
the backseat or a "Camper's Cap" over the bed. A real truck
has a bench seat, not buckets. A real truck does not have a CD player,
nor vanity plates, because Real Truck drivers don't care what anyone
thinks of them. A real truck is high off the ground (can you imagine
Clint in a low-rider?), but not so high you have to pole-vault to
enter it. A real truck is not called "Big Foot."
does not go drive-through banking in a real truck, nor to a cocktail
party. You never worry about scratching or dinging a real truck (it's
no pretty boy), and a real truck, of course, doesn't eat unleaded
can tell you're in a real truck because you inexplicably start saying
things like "Gotta pick up some six-penny ardox nails" and
"Just throw 'er in the back," even if the cargo in question
is your mother-in-law.
above all else, a real truck doesn't dump you for your best friend,
like I just know Kim Basinger would.