1. The trucker’s running late. How do I know if a truck driver is unpunctual? I look at his hands – if they drift to 10:15 and 2:15, I make the call. It’s a known fact in trucking that tardy hand-positioning leads to tardy deliveries. Timeliness is the hallmark of all great American truck drivers (think Stallone in Over the Top, who always perfectly timed his seductive slow-wrap-finger-cascade maneuver).
2. The trucker’s preoccupied. This applies if he has fallen asleep. Contrary to popular belief and occasional practice, it is difficult to drive and dream simultaneously, unless the dream is about driving. When I see a driver engaged in this type of ambitious multitasking, the protocol is to alert the trucking company. Truck drivers prefer to be awakened gently, usually with a light kiss to the forehead. But as an acceptable back-up, companies will transmit a crescendo of early Celine Dion ballads over the driver’s CB radio.
3. The trucker’s uncooperative. Here’s the arrangement: I mime the universal sign of “blow the air horn” and the trucker yanks it. It’s part of the social contract that Rousseau described. Remember, a trucker’s main job is to entertain other drivers. Promptly transporting goods comes second. And trucker safety is a distant third.
4. The trucker’s a sore winner. If he boastfully crosses the Mason-Dixon line with a New England license plate in a Victory beer truck, I dial up. The trucking company will compel his enrollment in a sensitivity training course on Southern heritage and his arranged marriage to a card-carrying member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (they take this offense very seriously).
5. The trucker’s contradictory. This occurs when the trucker drives through LA with an Arkansas license plate (“The Natural State”).
6. The trucker’s hurting the American economy. This occurs when the trucker gobbles a Hot Pocket. While the Hot Pocket symbolizes the great American trucker – a small piece of meat in dense protective casing – it’s also a reportable offense. Those doughy death traps combined with a sedentary lifestyle lead to heart attacks. And a myocardial infarction on the open road will spoil perishable cargo, thereby jeopardizing the trucker’s health and, more importantly, our nation’s fiscal health. A switch to Lean Pockets, which the trucking company will force, saves 6 grams of fat per pocket (or 88.2 grams of fat per day based on the typical 14.7 pockets-a-day trucker diet), and will not compromise taste, quality, or texture while ensuring our country’s financial security.
7. The trucker’s using the 18-wheeler as his bully pulpit. This occurs when the trucker nibbles a Lean Pocket. This is the land of the free and we take great pride in our freedom to choose to be obese. Perched atop the masses on his holier-than-thou throne, like the pharmacist of the road, a trucker should not abuse his seat of authority to spout such divisive health rhetoric. Once the trucking company receives the complaint, it will mandate that the trucker cross out “Lean” on the pocket sleeve and write in “Freedom.” Then I can cruise without worry and vigilance, knowing I’m driving in a pocket of freedom.
8. The trucker has a bladder infection or a gastrointestinal disease. When I see a trucker at a rest stop, I call both the hotline and 9-1-1. I assume all truckers relieve themselves, both urinarily and fecally, into empty soda bottles while keeping their hands (or feet, depending on the level of coordination needed) on the wheel. Otherwise, a trucking company would be funding, and thereby endorsing, work breaks for drivers, and we all recognize that the American work ethic demands uninterrupted effort (unless we somehow consider internet browsing to be a “break”). Furthermore, it seems quite Costanza-esque to drive all the way to a bathroom.
9. The trucker’s a fascist. If I drive on the shoulder to bypass traffic and the trucker does not allow me to merge in, he suppresses my participation in the democracy of traffic. He can box me out, but he can’t shut me up. By reporting him, I employ an even more important aspect of democracy – reaching out to a person in power to get what I want.
10. The trucker’s weak-willed. If I see a trucker allow drivers to merge in front of him, I report this offense. As a trucker, he epitomizes American machismo and should act accordingly. Command the road, Buddy. I also report feeble behavior when I observe:
- A trucker drive with a co-pilot (we fought too hard for independence);
- A trucker change lanes (flip-flopping announces a lack of conviction); or
- A trucker fail to exceed the speed limit (pigs wouldn’t be made of bacon, the Krispy Kreme triple cheeseburger wouldn’t be a thing, and trucks wouldn’t be designed to reach 120 MPH, if God didn’t want us to partake).
11. The trucker’s unhappy. Let’s be honest, boys view truck drivers as role models. Every lad asks for toy trucks, and practices driving them (and crashing them into his sister’s head). The highlight of a boy’s family road trip to some drab national park is seeing a big rig pull up alongside, dwarfing his dad’s Kia Sportage. The boy stares and wonders at the American ingenuity and technological prowess that produced such awe-inspiring machinery. With that responsibility, truckers should show themselves as satisfied and wear a perpetual smile (regardless of true feelings). Otherwise, boys will grow disenfranchised with the profession, and American innovation generally, and seek other lines of work. Thus, in an effort to prevent the next generation of men from pursuing Wall Street gigs, truckers should visibly express the joys of exploring the country’s open roads. If not, I call the hotline from my cubicle.
12. The truck’s too Neapolitan. This occurs when an African American, a Caucasian, and a sunburnt Irish trucker all sit together in the front seat. This is more an observation than a complaint.
13. When I’m lonely in my apartment and want to chat about highway safety. It’s like a free phone sex hotline if your fetish is reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes.