TD75: Who’s A Trucker?

Listen to the audio version above and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
Or enter http://abouttruckdriving.com/truckerdump.xml into your favorite podcast app.
Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein
Mystery Feedback Song – Only a cheater would click this before listening to the podcast! You aren’t a cheater, are you?

No, seriously. That’s a real question. Does just driving a truck make you a trucker? Or is there something more to it? Sorry, I realize I didn’t put a quiz on your syllabus, but hey, that’s the nature of the dreaded pop quiz. Deal with it. And don’t you dare stick that gum to the underside of your desk.

Here’s the reason I ask. I don’t really consider myself a trucker. Neither does The Evil Overlord. It’s not a conscious decision that we made. It’s just been that way ever since we started driving in the summer of ’97.

Every time someone asked us what we did for a living, we’d say something like, “We drive a truck for a living.” We’ve even told people “We’re truck drivers.” But I can’t ever recall us saying, “We’re truckers.” I’m guessing I’ve probably said it before without thinking, but if so it’s rarer than road kill tartare. So why is that?

Well I don’t know about you, but I guess I have a stereotype trucker in my mind. I think of a trucker as someone who looks, acts, and talks the part. They buy miniature truck collectibles. They know all the NASCAR drivers. They never drive without their CB turned on. But for the most part, I’m talking about drivers who talk about trucking all the time.

I’ve got some family friends who have truckers in the family. Every time we get together, they talk about trucking. A lot. I always find myself heading to the ladies table before too long. Go ahead, make your jokes about my manliness, or lack thereof. I can handle it. And I’ve got my mascara handy for when I start to cry.

Hey, I drive a truck 11 hours a day for 3-4 weeks at a time. The last thing I want to do is talk about trucking. When The Evil Overlord was my co-driver, we never talked about trucking unless it had something to do with our current load. Now that she’s off the road, we still don’t have long talks about trucking. It rarely comes up. That’s just the way we are.

I know I’m not the only one. Take my friend Alan, a.k.a. @alanqbristol, who I met on Twitter. Twice now we’ve shared a meal when I was in the Denver area. Sure, we talked about trucking matters a little bit. We have that in common. But you’d think two guys who met on Twitter because they both drove a truck would talk about trucking… but no. We’ve talked about our pets, our friends, relationships, politics, religion, and the cesspool this world is becoming. Now I’ve never asked Alan if he considers himself a trucker, but I’ll bet he doesn’t. Maybe I’m wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

I guess I’ve always considered myself to be a truck driver, not a trucker. Maybe that’s just a matter of tomayto-tomahto. Is it? Once again, I really don’t know. Am I a trucker because I’ve driven a truck for 14 years? What’s the time limit? I know many hard-core truckers don’t consider rookie drivers as truckers. Heck, many times they don’t even consider them truck drivers. They call them “steering wheel holders.” Other super-truckers don’t consider you a truck driver if you drive a truck with an automatic transmission.

Maybe I’m just being retarded. Once again, that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve ever been accused of that. The Evil Overlord is full of loving comments like that. Does it even matter what I call myself? I think it does.

I’m not a trucker. I drive a truck for a living. I do my job each day and then I pursue other interests. I’m doing fun stuff on my Mac or playing a game on my iPhone. Even when I’m sitting in the cab of my truck or sitting in a Wendy’s writing a blog post, I’m not really thinking about trucking. Heck, you folks have read my blog posts. It’s not like a spend a lot of time researching and pondering these topics. An idea just pops in my head when I’m driving, I take note of it, and then I sit down one day and write a rambling string of 1600 opinionated words. Sorry about that.

I think perhaps the biggest difference between truckers and truck drivers may be how they look at the job. Listen, I know this is going to sound bad, but that’s never stopped me from saying stupid crap before. So here goes. Send your hate mail to… ah screw it. Send it to Alan. I don’t want it. LOL

I drive a truck. I know how important the job is. I know the skill that’s involved. I know how hard it is to be away from your family for weeks at a time. I know that I should have more pride in my job than I do. But I don’t. I’m ashamed to say that when someone asks me what I do for a living, I don’t say, “I drive a truck” with my chest stuck out. I say it expecting them to think less of me. Heck, I usually say, “I drive a truck for a living” and then with a whisper and a smile I say, “But don’t tell anyone.” Even when they act interested, I can’t help but imagine they’re thinking, “This guy must be an uneducated loser.”

I guess that’s just the way I feel about it. Is it wrong that I don’t feel pride in doing a job that I know deserves it? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this topic. And let me know, are you a trucker or a truck driver. Or is there a difference?

, , , , , , , , , ,

15 Responses to TD75: Who’s A Trucker?

  1. humblefloyd September 27, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

    Sounds like you’d rather do something else. Too bad. I have other options, but I like what I do. I don’t think or talk about it much on home time. Someone might ask where did you go this trip. I take photos and share them. Snow capped mts., Joplin after the twister, things I wouldn’t see in a normal job. And this is not a normal job. A lot of people can’t do it. I’m a pro. I put safety & courtesy first. And I’m proud of what I do. Am I a trucker? A driver? I don’t know. It’s not my whole life, but it’s my job. And it’s great to have a job doing something I enjoy.

    • Todd McCann September 29, 2011 at 1:18 AM #

      Perhaps I misspoke a bit. I don’t hate the job itself. I just hate that it makes me be away from home so much. I actually think driving a truck is kinda fun. No boss breathing down my neck. Plenty of time to listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts. Beautiful scenery. I honestly think I wouldn’t mind trucking for the rest of my life if I could make the money I do now, but be at home more. Of course, we both know that isn’t the way it works. I’m glad you enjoy the job. We need more drivers like you.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

  2. @darkstaff September 27, 2011 at 10:47 AM #

    I’ll chime in on this one.
    I consider myself a driver. Why do I say that?
    Because. After many years of doing this job and thinking to myself, “there’s GOT to be something better”, I’ve decided to make “this” my better.
    I’ve been divorced. Twice now.
    And, now that I’m free of family constraints (and a home) I am able to do what I do behind the wheel without any obligation or guilt.
    The obligation of getting home in time for that special event. The guilt for not making it due to circumstances beyond my control.
    I’m in a great place, all said and done. My bills are minimal, I can buy nice things (mostly tech) whenever I have the money for them. I enjoy myself out here. Even the bad times. They make for great stories.
    Now, I understand that the vast majority of people can not do what I do, and that’s live out here. They have families, friends, societal obligations they’ve made for themselves.
    I understand the why of not wanting to fully commit to the title of “Trucker”.
    But for those of us, the few, like myself, it’s more than the job. It’s not even a lifestyle. It’s a life. Saying that came from some serious hardcore self evaluation and contemplation.
    So yes. For the time being, I’m a trucker.
    Now, here’s the shocker. I don’t have a CB in my rig. I shower often. I wear clothes that fit, look good and are in good repair. I’m intelligent, well read and highly opinionated. I don’t like NASCAR. (I’m sure that’ll ruffle a few feathers) And, I keep to myself. I won’t talk your ear off about anything unless you ask me to. And I damn sure will never be the guy who commands the entire room to listen to HIM, because he knows he’s perfect. Silence and few words go a lot farther, IMHO.
    There you have it. I’m a trucker, because it’s all I have at the moment. Someday, someone may see my photography and hire me for my eye. Until then, I’ll guide this “rolly-house” down the road.
    Peaces.

    • Todd McCann September 29, 2011 at 1:26 AM #

      See there, once again a stereotype fails. I guess I can’t really expect the general public to not stereotype truckers if I’m guilty of doing it myself. The weird thing is, I know better. I’m not the stereotype. You aren’t either. Probably half of my truckin’ Twitter friends aren’t either.

      As for your situation, I’ve told countless people just what you’ve said. If you’re single and unattached, truck driving is perfect for you because you don’t have many obligations. Good call.

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts, Eric.

      And “Peaces” back at you.

  3. Becca September 27, 2011 at 12:27 PM #

    Unfortunately not many people like what they do, including myself. I sit in a cubicle staring at documents and a computer all day. However I am grateful every day I have a job because many people don’t. I really like this blog because I agree with you. My future father in law has been a truck driver for so many years he couldn’t think about doing anything different. That’s when you have “trucker” status. Truth is it’s scary to think about changing jobs especially a totally different one in this economy. I guess we just have to make the best if the situation for now till it can change. Your job identity is what you make of it. Just felt like sharing.

    • Todd McCann September 29, 2011 at 1:41 AM #

      Well thanks for sharing, Becca. I think you’ve nailed one of the biggest problems. Very few people are happy with their current occupation. The grass is always greener on the other side. Only it’s not. I’m sure if I ever manage to become a pharmacist, that one day I’ll look back and see how good I had it out here on the road. Of course, the better paycheck and being home every night will help to ease my pain. LOL

      Hmmm… I’ve never thought of it like that. You have “trucker” status when you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else. I guess that might explain why The Evil Overlord and I never considered ourselves “truckers.” From the very beginning, we only planned truck driving to be a means to an end. Our intial plan was 2-3 years. Somehow it managed to engulf 14 years of my life (9 for her).

      As for the scariness of switching jobs, The Evil Overlord and I are both worried about that right now. The economy sucks and jobs are tight. Add to that the fact that the school we will be attending is in a town that got demolished by a tornado earlier this year. So the jobs are really suffering there. We don’t have a clue how this is going to work going to school and working. But at some point your just have to jump off the 14 story building and trust that God has attached the bungee cord.

      Thanks again for stopping by. Great insights. And by the way, congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

  4. Alan (@alanqbristol) September 28, 2011 at 3:17 AM #

    Just to clarify my personal outlook. There is nothing wrong with being a trucker or driver or whatever you prefer to call yourself. It’s just that people have used that to pigeon hole me at times. Todd and I have both discussed the concept of, “Yes, I drive a truck but that does not define me”.

    Like Darkstaff, Todd, perhaps humblefloyd and a number of others – we do what we do, and do it professionally but don’t want to be confined to a narrow definition or a stereotype someone saw in a film or old television show.

    Nothing wrong with driving a truck, my great grandfather, grandfather, great uncle, uncle, father and for a short while – my mother – have all done it. Several friends still do it day in day out and take pride in doing it well. And I will always respect a person who does his or her job in a safe, courteous manner.

    It’s just that we’d sometimes rather discuss other things and have the background and experience to do so. Ever read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy? It’s long, but I’m working on it right now. Not because I want to lord it over anyone but because I’ve been curious for a long time about what’s in it.

    Trucker? Truck Driver? They both fit to various degrees. Six of one, half dozen of the other perhaps. Just don’t box us in, men and women behind the wheels of class six through eight trucks have varied experiences, talents, hobbies and relationships, that’s all.

    • Todd McCann September 29, 2011 at 1:46 AM #

      That seems to be the key. The difference is in the mind of each person. Enough said on that.

      And hey, congrats on working your way through War and Peace. I’ve been meaning to order a copy of that. My bedroom door is off balance. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and showing us your pretty face, Alan.

  5. John Mac September 28, 2011 at 6:24 AM #

    Todd,

    Great to meet you in person. I’m just gald that I you had in fact cleared up that little matter here in Denver and that I did not have to take any official action.

    Hope your travels are safe and feel free to email or call next time you head to Denver.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isYgZn-Z_1o?rel=0&hd=1&w=1280&h=720

    • Todd McCann September 29, 2011 at 1:59 AM #

      You see what I’m dealing with here, folks? The first stranger I meet who actually reads my blog and he makes me drop a load in my drawers. LMBO Seriously funny though. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s the story in case you missed it. https://plus.google.com/116025138248104427691/posts/Adkfqx3Nddd

      Hey John. It was good to meet you too. I have to admit though, I’m a bit ashamed of myself. I didn’t even know your name until you handed me your card. Very rude of me. Of course, I was in a state of shock at the time so maybe you’ll give me a bit of leeway. ;-)

      And wow. That Trucker Steve sure does know how to put together a video, doesn’t he?

  6. Old Friend September 30, 2011 at 10:29 AM #

    Wow Todd, you know how to bring out the comments!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2011 at 6:12 AM #

      Nah. People were just really bored that day.

  7. rose lefebvre October 3, 2011 at 5:10 AM #

    You could say you are a product distributor…or in charge of product disbursement.

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2011 at 6:13 AM #

      Oooooo. I like that. I’ll go with being in charge of product disbursement. Being in charge of stuff makes me sound waaaaaaay cooler. :-)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Does Driving a Truck Make You a Truck Driver? — The Good Men Project - April 25, 2012

    [...] Originally appeared at About Trucking Jobs [...]

Leave a Reply


eight − 5 =

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

%d bloggers like this: