Fuck Your Truck

I don’t like trucks. In general, they’re wasteful, impractical, and too damn big.

If you’re an avid follower, dear reader, you know my thoughts on semis, the huge tractor trailer trucks that haul goods around the country. Until we get the land-ferries built, or construct another more practical means of moving goods, I’ll leave them alone for the time being.

Let’s talk today about commercially sold, privately owned trucks.

Unless you use your truck for work, you should not have one. If you’re a contractor, a construction worker, carpenter, landscaper, or other such profession that requires you haul tools and materials around, then by all means have a truck. You’ve got a practical reason and are using the truck for its intended purpose. Fine.

But if you’re one of the millions of douches who owns a truck because it looks cool and you like it, stop it. Stop, you stupid insecure poser.

In my varied work career and vagabonding ventures, I’ve known plenty of people who own trucks and use them the way they’re supposed to be used, for work. A working person’s truck is a thing of rugged beauty. They are dented, scratched, smeared with mud, paint and other substances, missing pieces and fitted with improvised accessories. I respect the hell out of a working truck. This plays a role in my disdain for, what I’ll call, vanity trucks.

When I see a huge, pristine and shining truck, with its chrome rims and empty flatbed, I feel a visceral urge to fuck it up. It begs to be spat on, to have gum stuck on it, to be keyed, to have trash tossed into it. That may sound irrational, dickish, or illegal, but in truth it’s doing a service. Your truck looks like a toy. You’re an overcompensating poser. Everyone can see what a joke you are, riding around in a clean, unblemished truck. Damaging and dirtying it is helping make it look more authentic.

My animosity is not reserved for only one kind of truck. My prejudice is broad, and includes SUVs under its umbrella. Some will say that SUVs don’t “count” as trucks. To which I say: They’re obscenely large, wasteful, and dangerous. They count. Shut up.

I have been hit by vehicles on several occasions in my life. Two of those happened while riding my bike, once as a teenager and another time as an adult. The most serious hit was when I was around eight or nine; my dog and I were both hit and left for dead; my dog did die. On each of these occasions, it was an SUV that hit me.

Coincidence?

Yes. Almost definitely.

But also not necessarily entirely.

Vehicles in general give their drivers an inflated sense of power, safety, and privilege. Makes sense. You’re zooming around faster than is organically possible, putting in almost zero effort, shielded by thousands of pounds of metal. Might as well be riding a gun. It so follows that driving a truck or SUV is like driving a larger, more powerful gun, thus further inflating one’s ego and correspondingly reducing their empathy. Science. People get off on the power without respecting the responsibility. Otherwise not-awful people can become monsters behind the wheel of a car or truck, behaving recklessly and selfishly, showing less respect for others and concern for human life than they would on foot.

When you’re walking down the street, do you yell at people if they’re not going fast enough? Do you sprint down sidewalks, coming close to bashing into people, swinging your fists around? Do you ram into or side-swipe children crossing the street with their dog, make sharp turns and knock over young teens crossing ahead of you, or swerve into bike lanes causing cyclists to launch over their handlebars, and then speed off, leaving your victims bleeding by the side of the road?

Goddamn, I hope not. If you do, you’re a monster. There are a lot of monsters behind the wheels of SUVs.

(Note: The guy who turned too fast and hit me at an intersection and knocked me off my bike when I was a teenager actually did pull over, get out, and stayed until sure I was alright. The person who swerved into the bike lane near the Philadelphia Art Museum, leaving me bloody and my bike badly damaged, did not. Fuck them. The people who hit me and my dog when I was a child did not stop. They apparently came back later, long after I’d been taken to a hospital, and I believe they paid some of my medical bills, and so got off the hook for a hit-and-run. Fuck them, too.)

In addition to the dangers and impracticalities of trucks and SUVs, so many of them owned by people who have no actual use for them, no true need, who thus shouldn’t have them, there’s also the wastefulness of them. If all you’re doing is transporting between one and five people from one place to another, you don’t need anything bigger than ordinary car, and are wasting fuel for no reason, further adding to air pollution, being a douche.

Some like trucks for the safety they provide. Safety being for those in the truck, while increasing the danger for all those outside. A selfishly prickish calculation. The most dangerous things on the road are trucks. You’re fighting danger by creating more danger. Excuse a second gun analogy, but it’s similar in logic to the idea that you need a gun to protect against other people with guns.

The US isn’t the only, but the largest, consumer base buying trucks for no purpose. While people in other countries are buying safer, smaller, more efficient vehicles, the US has been increasingly buying trucks, the majority undoubtedly vanity trucks.

If you own a truck which you do not use for work, a truck which you know in your damn heart that you damn well don’t need, find another way to compensate for your insecurity, and sell the truck to someone who’ll use it for what it’s damn for.