Saturday, February 8, 2014

The New Model Trucks

There was a time when pick-up trucks were tied to the old, rural American work ethic.

You’d see the battered and dilapidated Ford with a couple of taillights busted, the side view mirror long gone and the rear end of the truck about a foot off the ground, and you just knew some old, calloused crap-kicker was going to emerge from the front seat, Camel sticking out of the side of his mouth and wearing enough dirt, paint and general crud on his overalls to scrape off and use to erect a new office building.

It didn’t take Jeremiah Johnson to figure out this guy was all about busting his balls, getting the job done - no matter how many hours it took - and downing a hard-earned shot and a beer at work day’s end.

But, naturally, in today’s world, where hard work is what some other poor schlub has to do and long hours means punishing the keys on that iPhone while doing pilates at the gym, that same critter no longer inhabits pick-up trucks.

Today’s pick-up owner is, generally, a white guy between the ages of 18 and 30 whose only contact with the bed of his truck is tossing a case of beer or 12 on it so he can get wasted this weekend.

Using his truck to work or even haul something across town is an idea that rarely, if ever, enters his head.

He will, however, fly through the streets like a bat out of hell, take up two parking places whenever possible and generally behave like an unwiped ass when behind the wheel.

It’s the old bigger is better mentality. My mode of transport is larger than yours, I have the right of way. You have my exhaust fumes to inhale.

Call him the Suburban Cowboy, and his mount has four tires and an NRA bumper sticker.

Now, since there are no absolutes, I’m not about to throw a blanket over the entire pick-up truck-drivin’ community and call them all a bunch of non-perspiring dickheads.

There are still many of those dilapidated models of truck out on the roads, and there are plenty of hard-workin’ cusses in ‘em. Their numbers, unfortunately, pale in comparison to the new, slick, Armani-wearin’ nitwits who work no harder than the average millionaire’s child and haul nothing bigger than their own massive ego.

The only thing I can figure is that these lunkheads need to look, feel and seem important to the world at large. And tooling through town in the latest model pick-up is one more way to announce how big, cool and important they actually deem themselves to be.

All that’s left for these testosterone-fueled, Marlboro-man wanna-bes is to start wearing Stetsons.

That would just be too much to stomach – the soft-handed, no-hauling, Mr. Look-At-Me doing a JR Ewing imitation, complete with a bottle of beer in his hand and a softball-player tan, seeking out the latest thing in big breasts.

It’s a far cry from the shot-and-a-beer lineage that used to be part and parcel of the truck-drivin’ crowd.

But then pick-up trucks didn’t get treated like Jaguar XKEs back then either.

Back then, they were a working vehicle and a place for a working man’s tools.

Now the only tools in them are the ones behind the wheel.