So, I was reading yesterday's column by Pakeha, which was quite harrowing, albeit by proxy. When I reached the part wherein the malefactor enters the scene, however, I confess to having feet a touch defensive. Because, as does the miscreant who made the family Pakeha's life much more complicated, I drive an F-150 pickup.
It is, of course, silly for me to have felt that way. After all, the F-150 is and has been the best selling pickup truck in America for decades. Ford is, frankly, a real slut when it comes to selling pickup trucks. So it's not exactly an exclusive club. We certainly can't be responsible for all the members. And, much more generously than the situation warranted, Pakeha refrained from any generalizations regarding those who drive F-150s. In his place, I doubtless would have relegated them all to Eternal Damnation, right next to all those Lincoln Navigator owners.
But he didn't. So it was a non-issue, and I could unclench. No reason to write a column about it. But, aside from karma handing Pakeha the queen of spades, it's been an F-150 theme week.
First, there was the snow. As I mentioned last week, it snowed a lot. Eventually, when it stopped, we emerged. Roads were plowed, driveways were shoveled, and people started going places again. Other people.
Because my truck is a two-wheel drive. (As a friend observed: "They come that way?"). Yes, mock me if you like, but this is the first time I have found that to be an actual disadvantage. Now, spending an hour (no exaggeration) attempting to back the damn thing onto the road from the driveway conveyed that, yes, in this situation it was a large disadvantage. But until this week, it hadn't been an issue.
I'm not an auto hypocrite. I didn't buy my truck because I felt the need to convey to other motorists the truly staggering size of my penis. I bought it because I really don't like having to fold myself origami-style to get into a car. I'm over six feet tall. With a full-size pickup truck, I can step right in. With a passenger sedan, it's limbo time.
Yes, I bought my truck for comfort.
Was I going to take it off road? Not much. I got a long bed, so that I could sleep in the back (as I do go camping now and then), but I wasn't going to take it down any dirt trails. So I didn't need a 4x4. And 4x4 translates to a lot more money, not just up-front but in terms of maintenance costs. The maintenance difference between a 2x4 and a 4x4 is many thousands of dollars over the life of the truck.
Plus, at the time, I lived in California. Where it didn't snow. So the choice was obvious.
Of course last week, as my two rear wheels spun helplessly, like an infant trapped in the Disneyland Tea Cups with a professional wrestler, I did feel a tinge of regret about that decision. But only a tinge. And later that day the ice melted enough to let us out of the house.
So there was that. Then, yesterday, as my wife and I drove to the butcher shop, we saw an F-150 that had been customized in a way we had not only never seen, we hadn't even considered. It had a spoiler, it had custom side panels, it had swanky rims. But we'd seen all those. What set it apart was its custom paint job - nothing new there, except:
On the back of the truck, was painted... the truck.
Yes, the cherry red custom F-150 had a picture of itself on the tailgate. Also some sort of mission building, and the virgin mary. The three figures, truck in the center, took up the entirety of the tailgate.
It really stumped me. I mean, having a picture of your truck I can understand. A tattoo, if you're really insane. But a picture of the truck painted on the truck? At the office, at home, sure. But do you need a picture of the truck when you are looking at the truck?
Perhaps it was a message - some sort of holy trinity thing, with the mission building and the virgin mary playing the part of the other Supremes to the truck's Diana Ross. I've seen trucks with jet aircraft painted on them, as a means of reminding the viewer that the F-150 is simply the next generation in the series of vehicles beginning with F, such as the F-14 Tomcat and the F-15 Eagle.
Other folks have actual eagles, or lions, or Klingons. Okay, I haven't seen a Klingon painted on a truck, but it's only a matter of time. And I have seen trucks bearing the St. Louis arch, a bluebird, and the logo "King of Toilets". So nothing's really that out of the ballpark.
Come to think of it, maybe I should get something painted on my truck.
A recliner, perhaps.
- Sun Ra
Columns by Sun Ra