A Rant by Rex Terrance
I knew I shouldn’t have driven in this morning, but the opportunity to bug out early and get started on a long weekend away was too tempting. I knew the risks of going toe to toe with goliath, behemoth, and leviathan could get rough. I knew I was in trouble when the sky darkened and all I could see was a grill in the mirror.
It said “Dodge” in huge silver letters. It was a Super Duper, the latest in pickup-truck ginormity. I soon found myself surrounded by other titans, including a Titan, an all-black (even the chrome) 2500 Super Stoker, and a 350 Dominator. Suddenly I felt small and vulnerable.
A rare sight anymore is a pickup truck actually hauling something. Today the Super Duper pickup has become little more than a fashion statement. I can’t count how many times I’ve been passed by a Super Duper all decked out like it’s ready to tow a couple of D8 dozers, the Bud Clydesdales and food for a week, or an entire oil derrick, but is in fact hauling nothing but air.
I get a kick out of the Super Duper commercials, sandwiched in between erectile dysfunction fantasies, and ads for light beer swill, especially those narrated by Sam Elliott; “Guts, Glory, Ram…” I get goosebumps. From what I can gather, the sales pitch essentially delivers the following messages: “Bro, you drivin’ this machine means you are so not gay.”
In my neck of suburbia, these outsized rigs are proliferating, taking up ever-more space in the driveways, the side streets, and on the sidewalks. Many of the rigs are tricked out to the max, as in Mad Max. Some have attachments that could only be inspired by visions of a post-apocalyptic world where a cow catcher is welded onto the front and an I-beam supplements the rear bumper. For extra Mad Maximization, throw on a few fog lights, a breathing apparatus, a set of bolted-on side skirts, and way-cool war chariot wheels. Don’t forget the colossal telescoping exhaust pipes for the audio effect and you’re good to go. Some of these Super Dupers even come with a military-grade aluminum alloy frame, forged to withstand the rigors of the commute to and from the air conditioned corporate park.
The usual bumper stickers apply: Don’t Tread on Me (the new psalm), a skull & crossbones, Harley-Davidson skull (more originality); Transformers, Jesus is the answer (what’s the question?), and the typical decals from the NRA, Red Bull, Muscle Max, the Armed Forces, Unlimited Ducks, and Elkaholic. OK then, you’ve proven something about yourself oh valiant, non-sissy Super Duper man on his way to the big-box store for toilet paper and light bulbs.
I get a kick out of the Super Duper commercials, sandwiched in between erectile dysfunction fantasies, and ads for light beer swill, especially those narrated by Sam Elliott; “Guts, Glory, Ram…” I get goosebumps. From what I can gather, the sales pitch essentially delivers the following messages: “Bro, you drivin’ this machine means you are so not gay.” “Manly dudes imagining themselves doing manly things!” “Bigger means badder.” “Guys driving Super Dupers get all the hot chicks.”
Why so ginormous? Certainly the Supers can’t be sold overseas. Can you imagine a Super Duper rumbling around old town Copenhagen or squeezing into a parking space in Mumbai? Perhaps the Supers are necessary to accommodate the ever-expanding American corpus. Perhaps it’s necessary to have greater capacity to haul groceries home from Costco. Maybe we need to get our national swagger on.
Whether cut off, smoked out, or just plain overawed, I don’t honk, gesture, or attempt to make eye contact through the tinted windows of the hulking machines. Who knows what variety of Constitutionally protected right he might be packing, just in case a skinny white guy like me throws him a threatening glance and he feels the need to “stand his ground” in gridlocked traffic.
Nor do I tailgate. I try to maintain a minimum three-second spacing as a safety margin, which Super Duper drivers typically see as an opportunity to put themselves closer to their destination, by maybe three seconds.
Perhaps the only solution to this ongoing issue—unquestionably my own feelings of inadequacy—is to get me one-uh-dem machines! Trick it out, sticker it up, and imagine I own the road!