A wise man once said “You can’t judge a man by his character but on the contents of his pickup truck.” At least it was something like that.
I have been filling pickup trucks with stuff for years and consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. Worry not, I am more than happy to pass on some advice.
The biggest mistake I see new pickup truck owners make is adding the old, flatulent dog too soon. True, an old, flatulent dog is an essential addition to any pickup truck, but you don’t want to add one until you are suitably prepared.
For at least a year prior to adding the dog, I recommend a daily regimen of driving everywhere with your head out the window. You should do this regardless of weather conditions. A general rule of thumb is you are safe to add an old, flatulent dog to your pickup truck when you can endure a sustained 30 m.p.h. sub-zero blast to your face without screaming and your eyes no longer water at highway speeds. The suffering you experience during training can be significant, but it pales in comparison to the suffering that driving around sealed in a cab with an old, flatulent dog may cause. Believe me.
Before you ask: No. There is nothing to you can do about an old, flatulent man such as your father or grandfather (or, God forbid, both). Retaliation might be an option, but it tends to just add to the general, overall suffering of everyone in the vehicle..
The second big mistake I see novice pickup truck owners make is confusing a “truck” with a “pickup truck.”
A truck is not a pickup truck.
A truck is a fairly newish vehicle. Every dial and button works. Every speaker sounds off loud and clear. A truck owner cares about what he puts in his truck and where he drives it. He would not consider placing a dog, flatulent or otherwise, in his vehicle. He slows down for speed bumps. There are dirt roads he refuses to drive down. He keeps his vehicle clean. You never see tobacco stains trailing down the side of a truck.
A pickup truck is something a truck evolves in to over time. It wears the badges that come from a lifetime of facing the slings and arrows of outrageous terrain. Pickup trucks have driven over small trees and backed into bigger ones. They have traversed mud holes the size of small ponds, went down “roads” that are basically animal trails and crossed fields with more contours than a waffle.
A pickup truck has pushed or pulled other pickup trucks. It has hauled everything imaginable and has the bed deformities to prove it. Fish and game are routinely cleaned on the tailgate, because the tailgate is a portable table on a pickup truck. The tailgate is a mobile work bench, too. It has the scrapes and dents and cut marks to show for it. Most tailgates on most pickup trucks have to be opened with pliers.
A truck has power steering that you can turn with your pinky finger. Pickup trucks have power steering, too, only you provide the power.
I have driven circa 1950s pickup trucks with steering wheels that actually turn easier than the ones on a new truck. The downside is it takes about six complete rotations in one direction of the steering to actually change the way the pickup truck is going. If you are heading for a stand of trees just past the bend in the road, this can cause a lot of excitement.
“Turn! Turn! Turn!” your passengers holler.
“I am turning!” You holler back.
You eventually spin the wheel around enough times to make the pickup truck change course, but all that hollering startles the old, flatulent dog. He reacts badly. Your only hope is it doesn’t inspire the old, flatulent man into action.
As your truck gradually morphs into a pickup truck the interior of the cab goes from a clutter-free environment to a container for all the stuff you need “just in case.” How all this stuff winds up in your pickup truck is somewhat of a mystery. You don’t really recall putting it all in there. Some blame spontaneous generation. Your wife blames… Well, who cares who your wife blames! It’s just one of a bunch of ridiculous theories about you that gets into her head from time to time. Besides, how would she know about the mysterious goings on of pickup truck? She doesn’t even own one.
In the event you are not sure what to include in your pickup truck inventory, I hereby present a list of the items currently in mine:
Pliers, wrenches, files, saws, a small hatchet. Fingernail clippers. Various straps. Jumper cables. Ropes and bungee cords. My ‘toting around’ tackle box. Several rods and reels. Spools of fishing line. Masking tape. Black electric tape. Regular tape. Knives. Some books. Reading glasses. Pens. Pencils. Notepads. Outdoor magazines. Medicines (Tums, BC Powders), toothpicks and various fast food sauce packet collections. Gum. Boots. Tennis shoes. Waders. Various jackets. Shotgun shells. Rifle shells (boxed and unboxed). One of those gizmos to break a window in case I wind up in the truck under water. A few packs of crackers. Binoculars missing the left lens. Coins of all denominations. Air freshener. Duck decoys. A casting net. Cloths. Flash lights. Batteries. A Go-Pro knock off. Band-aides. Hats. Packs of peanuts and crackers in various stages of fossilization. Jimmy Hoffa.
Okay. I was kidding about the last one.
My wife often says, “Why don’t you get some of that junk out of your truck?”
“What junk?” I ask her. “That’s all the stuff I need just in case. I don’t even have room for junk.”
“You need to put it somewhere else,” she says.
“Where else would I put it?” I ask her, a bit unkindly.
Well, who cares where she thinks I should put it? She doesn’t even own a truck.