Copy/Paste: The Remix

Copy/Paste: The Remix

The need to outperform our prior successes is inherent to our existence as humans. Unfortunately, when it comes to publicizing a personal life with the intent to entertain and educate, some seasons can make that difficult to do.

The long-wise and long-dead Solomon, Ex-King of Jewish Folks, once said in his most ecclesiastical work, Ecclesiastes, that all things under the sun are futility. In the mix of all of that optimism, he also stated how there is a time and a place for all things: a season for everything.

Since I feel an unnatural compulsion to inform and educate everyone around me about all the dumbest mistakes I’ve made, this current season’s elements of “nothing much new” dramatically distresses me for no directly logical reason.

I mean, sure my Goober Smokers and Watermelon are moving to Iowa in the next month or two. I’ve started learning to play the banjo, and she’s started to play the guitar. I’m fixing my Philosopher Accountant’s 100,000 Tips to drastically improve grammar, flow, and formatting. I have big-ish plans for everything about my website, writing career, and bill-paying career. Watermelon can now start making noises that almost sound like English. Gummy Cheesers is working through psychological torments that have plagued her from an early age, as well as me learning how to mitigate my own unique brand of psychosis. But is that enough?

Yes. Yes, it is. One of my most significant role models of late, the venerable and witty Mike Rowe, recently showcased a venerablier and slightly less famous fellow by the name of Keith. Keith artfully stated an excellent point: that happiness and satisfaction in a job well done is a greater good than any level of influence or fame or attainment.

It would be better to have a career that rewards with fulfillment than with money. A family filled with love is better than one filled with possessions. Satisfaction is better to attain than prominence.

I could go on with all of those Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul-isms, but the reality is that the only two days worth living for are today and the day that God will ask what you’ve done with your life.

I guess I forgot about what I knew, which is ironic considering how much I’ve written on the subject, but that’s probably normal for being on this planet. Thankfully, I haven’t fallen off the deep end yet to join the crowd I have termed “Schizophrenics For Christ”. If my punctuation, HTML formatting, or logical cohesion starts to slip, please contact my wife so that she can take away my internet privileges.

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Rough Road

Rough Road

If you recall what I had said previously, the lifestyle of OTR driving is somewhere between RV living and living out of your car, except that there are a few added elements to make the lifestyle even more scattered than your average hobo living.

For starters, OTR means the place you’re showering and the place you’re relaxing are nowhere near each other. The showers are inviting, sure, but there’s something cathartic about changing your clothes into extremely casual wear and then sauntering over to your bed. If you do that in OTR, you have no shame, since you’re walking past a driver’s lounge, convenience store, fuel island, and 50 trucks to do so.

Second, say goodbye to the convenience of free space. It’s a step up from living in your car, and you will have enough electricity to run anything you need, but you won’t be able to run everything you need at the same time. Checking up on the latest with your PC is going to have to wait until you’re done brewing your coffee, and that’ll be after you’ve cooked your breakfast and trimmed your nose hairs.

Third, don’t bother with work-life balance. Life comes in the form of using a computer, phone calls, exercise, sleeping, and any other hobbies you can think of that don’t take up too much space. They get smashed in the middle of waiting for shippers, waiting for the shop to fix something, waiting for the 10-hour reset to finish, waiting for a 34-hour to finish, and waiting because you don’t know what you’re waiting for.

Have I mentioned the waiting? Trucking is either rolling down the road or waiting, though flatbedders have the advantage of securing the load, tarping, untarping it, and finally unsecuring it. But it’s mostly waiting. Like right now for me. I’m waiting to get a shower because I am waiting for my truck to get out of the shop while I’m waiting for my 10-hour reset. It’s a bit hard to lose wait when I have so much of it!

On top of that, the community of truckers is made of a few broad groups:

  • 5% noble men of strong character with asphalt mixed into their blood
  • 30% antisocial people that might have too much of an obsession with knives
  • 20% rookies that are still trying to find out which way to turn the steering wheel when driving forward
  • 45% horrible human beings that are mentally incapable of being employees in any other profession

In case you’re wondering, I’m in that “antisocial” crowd.

The whole industry itself is a mess. When the weather, truck breakdowns, traffic, accidents and late shippers screw up the schedule, the truckers are at the bottom of a very tall totem pole that reaches up to the executives.

Most of the industry involves what I call “trickle-down abuse”: the CEO beats the VP’s to an inch of their life, the VP ravages the senior managers’ sense of self-respect, the senior manager calls the supervisor things that can’t be put into print, and then the laborer (trucker/forklifter/etc) is whipped by the supervisor.

Finally, if you have a family that you at least somewhat like, it can be difficult. I’m out on the road for 2-4 weeks at a time, and it can really be a strain on my Flowy Wiggles. It will later affect our Ninyos as well. The secret for a good OTR family is to like your family enough that you want to go home, but they can’t be so awesome that you miss them when you leave.

The job isn’t all bad, though. It pays well, and it’s rewarding. Flatbed work is especially rewarding, and there’s something cathartic about unsecuring the load at the receiver and being able to say “yeah, I just moved 45 tons of steel pipe across the country without it falling all over the place and killing everyone. That was me.”

But, like all other dirty jobs, the big reward for hard work is in yourself. It can’t be earned any other way than doing the thing you don’t feel like doing, but it also can’t be taken away without severe brain damage. Overall, worth the effort.