Todd McCann ponders whether a man should be defined by his job or by his passions.
Who’s a truck driver?
No, seriously. That’s a real question. Does just driving a truck make you a trucker? Or is there something more to it? Sorry, I realize I didn’t put a quiz on your syllabus, but hey, that’s the nature of the dreaded pop quiz. Deal with it. And don’t you dare stick that gum to the underside of your desk.
Here’s the reason I ask. I don’t really consider myself a trucker. Neither does The Evil Overlord. It’s not a conscious decision that we made. It’s just been that way ever since we started driving in the summer of ’97.
Every time someone asked us what we did for a living, we’d say something like, “We drive a truck for a living.” We’ve even told people “We’re truck drivers.” But I can’t ever recall us saying, “We’re truckers.” I’m guessing I’ve probably said it before without thinking, but if so it’s rarer than road kill tartare. So why is that?
Well I don’t know about you, but I guess I have a stereotype trucker in my mind. I think of a trucker as someone who looks, acts, and talks the part. They buy miniature truck collectibles. They know all the NASCAR drivers. They never drive without their CB turned on. But for the most part, I’m talking about drivers who talk about trucking all the time.
I’ve got some family friends who have truckers in the family. Every time we get together, they talk about trucking. A lot. I always find myself heading to the ladies table before too long. Go ahead, make your jokes about my manliness, or lack thereof. I can handle it. And I’ve got my mascara handy for when I start to cry.
Hey, I drive a truck 11 hours a day for 3-4 weeks at a time. The last thing I want to do is talk about trucking. When The Evil Overlord was my co-driver, we never talked about trucking unless it had something to do with our current load. Now that she’s off the road, we still don’t have long talks about trucking. It rarely comes up. That’s just the way we are.
I know I’m not the only one. Take my friend Alan, who I met on Twitter. Twice now we’ve shared a meal when I was in the Denver area. Sure, we talked about trucking matters a little bit. We have that in common. But you’d think two guys who met on Twitter because they both drove a truck would talk about trucking… but no. We’ve talked about our pets, our friends, relationships, politics, religion, and the cesspool this world is becoming. Now I’ve never asked Alan if he considers himself a trucker, but I’ll bet he doesn’t. Maybe I’m wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.
I guess I’ve always considered myself to be a truck driver, not a trucker. Maybe that’s just a matter of tomayto-tomahto. Is it? Once again, I really don’t know. Am I a trucker because I’ve driven a truck for 14 years? What’s the time limit? I know many hard-core truckers don’t consider rookie drivers as truckers. Heck, many times they don’t even consider them truck drivers. They call them “steering wheel holders.” Other super-truckers don’t consider you a truck driver if you drive a truck with an automatic transmission.
Maybe I’m just being retarded. Once again, that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve ever been accused of that. The Evil Overlord is full of loving comments like that. Does it even matter what I call myself? I think it does.
I’m not a trucker. I drive a truck for a living. I do my job each day and then I pursue other interests. I’m doing fun stuff on my Mac or playing a game on my iPhone. Even when I’m sitting in the cab of my truck or sitting in a Wendy’s writing a blog post, I’m not really thinking about trucking. Heck, you folks have read my blog posts. It’s not like a spend a lot of time researching and pondering these topics. An idea just pops in my head when I’m driving, I take note of it, and then I sit down one day and write a rambling string of 1600 opinionated words. Sorry about that.
I think perhaps the biggest difference between truckers and truck drivers may be how they look at the job. Listen, I know this is going to sound bad, but that’s never stopped me from saying stupid crap before. So here goes. Send your hate mail to… ah screw it. Send it to Alan. I don’t want it. LOL
I drive a truck. I know how important the job is. I know the skill that’s involved. I know how hard it is to be away from your family for weeks at a time. I know that I should have more pride in my job than I do. But I don’t. I’m ashamed to say that when someone asks me what I do for a living, I don’t say, “I drive a truck” with my chest stuck out. I say it expecting them to think less of me. Heck, I usually say, “I drive a truck for a living” and then with a whisper and a smile I say, “But don’t tell anyone.” Even when they act interested, I can’t help but imagine they’re thinking, “This guy must be an uneducated loser.”
I guess that’s just the way I feel about it. Is it wrong that I don’t feel pride in doing a job that I know deserves it? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this topic. And let me know, are you a trucker or a truck driver. Or is there a difference?
Photo courtesy of NCTRUCKINGITEMS