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You know, I’ll have to admit that I’ve had some pretty lame titles over the course of the Trucker Dump podcast/blog, but this, my friends, ain’t one of ’em. You’ve got to admit that your first thought was, “What the… (choose your intensity of potty word here)??” But now that you’ve had a chance to pull yourself together, I’m sure you know where this is going. But first, let’s discuss butts in general, because, you know, that’s the kind of thing we do here.
Butts are great. You know why? Well, for one thing everyone’s got one. I mean, there are people born without arms and legs, but even they’ve got butts. Some people have great butts. Heck, 70 years ago the hilarious comedian/actor Carl Reiner liked a girl’s butt so much that he wrote a poem entitled, “Ode To the Buttocks Bountiful.”
Other people’s butts aren’t so great. My sister Angi has told me for years that I have a “cracker butt.” She’s right and I know it. My butt is so flat, it’s almost concave. It’s also appropriately white like a cracker; just as it should be. Sorry. Guess I should have issued a TMI warning there. Oh well. No taking it back now. And for the record, my sister is allowed to use the word “cracker” because she’s a white girl. Kinda like black folks can use the “N-word,” but no one else can. Funny how that rule isn’t reciprocal. One of these days, that whole “racist” thing is going to have to work equally both ways. Well now. That was a little tangent I didn’t expect. So anyway…
The Evil Overlord agrees with my sister’s assessment of my less-than-stellar tush. She says it’s a cute heart-shape, but I just don’t see it when I’m checking myself out in the mirror. Wait… I’m not the only guy to do that, right? 😉 I know she’s just being nice, which is a real stretch for someone with the word “evil” in her title. I don’t know. Maybe she does like it? Why else would she smack it so hard every time I bend over to put down the shower mat? Seriously, the last time she did it, a neighbor came over to ask if we got a look at the plane that caused the sonic boom. I swear that if a CSI guy came by right then, they could get a full set of her fingerprints from the red mark she leaves. TMI again?
Anyway, my butt has been nonexistent as long as I can remember. I had a few friends in high school who had fabulous butts. Yes… guys. I know because whoever my girlfriend was at the time never failed to notice. I didn’t mind. They were just speaking the truth. Having a flawed butt isn’t great, but it’s better than having a hairy butt. Even worse, a dude with a hairy, flat butt. I feel sorry for you dudes the most… or ladies I suppose. 😉
But you know what? Even if I had been born with a fabulous derrière, I wouldn’t still have it today. Why? Because I’ve been a trucker for 17 years, that’s why. Here are 4 Reasons Truckers Don’t Have Butts. Pay attention here. This is life-altering stuff.
Truckers freeze their butts off
A couple of weeks ago I was in Grand Forks, North Dakota when it was colder than a Slushie brain freeze. My company has a rule that the truck must be left running if the temperature is below 20 degrees. They do this to keep the fluids from gelling up and causing starting issues. I had checked the weather when I went to bed and it was in the mid-20s, but I knew it would be dipping below 20 around 4 AM. My plan was to use the bunk heater until then, get up and start the truck, and go back to bed. I’ve done this countless times to save idle time (my top speed is based on idle time).
Unfortunately, my Weather Channel app got it wrong this time. By the time my alarm went off, it was already 14 degrees. Thankfully the truck started, but just about the time I fell back asleep, what must have been the most annoying sound known to man started screaming at me. The display on the dash said I had low coolant levels and the bright red “stop engine” light was on. Now usually that means the truck is about to shut the engine down to protect itself, so I bundled up as quick as I could, hopped out, and was immediately chilled to the bone thanks to the -33 degree wind chill.
The wind was blowing so stinkin’ hard that the hood slammed down on me while I was checking the oil! Thankfully, those puppies are made of fiberglass and not lead. Not that it would’ve mattered since I’m a tough-as-nails, macho kinda guy. I wound up having to turn the truck in the opposite direction to keep the stinkin’ hood open!
The oil level was fine, but the antifreeze was a bit low. I filled ‘er up, but sadly the mind-piercing alarm didn’t go off. Thankfully the truck kept running despite the “stop engine” light. The maintenance guy I had on the phone had me do some troubleshooting, but if I was out in that wind for more than five minutes at a time, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes for about 15 minutes. So basically, if I’d had a butt, it would’ve detached itself right there and scooted across the icy parking lot.
To make a long story short, I sat in a hotel all weekend until the local International dealer opened on Monday. I should’ve taken advantage of the down time and the quiet hotel room to put together a podcast/blog, but I honestly have a hard time staying off Netflix and Amazon Prime when I have free wifi. Turns out, a DEF injector had gotten clogged, probably due to getting too cold. Oops.
Another time, my truck broke down on I-494 near St. Paul, Minnesota in the dead of winter. That time, the motor died and I didn’t have a bunk heater in the truck. Due to the nasty weather and some nastier construction, it took the tow truck six hours to get to me. Despite me wearing my old cowboy-style, red long johns (complete with escape hatch) under my clothes and a coat, I was frozen to the core by the time I got rescued.
But we don’t need to have mechanical problems for truckers to freeze their butts off. We solo drivers have to fuel at least every other day. Team drivers probably do it every day. That means standing out in the cold for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your fuel tanks. It could be even longer if you have to pump DEF. What’s up with those DEF pumps anyway? I could play a whole game of Monopoly before they’re done pumping!
Then there are the drivers who work outside. Flatbedders often have to freeze their buns off while they tarp or untarp loads. Tanker yankers usually have to walk around their trailer monitoring the off-load process. Even reefer drivers find themselves sweeping out a trailer that has been preset to freezing temperatures. Although to be honest, this is probably welcomed in the next reason truckers don’t have butts.
Truckers sweat their butts off
First, let’s take all those scenarios we just discussed; only during the summer months. Tanker drivers are now sweat-soaked while hooking up hoses or walking around their trailers hitting it with a rubber mallet. As for the flatbedders, The Evil Overlord and I once watched a guy sweating all over his tarps as he folded and stored them in 101-degree weather. No thanks.
As for fueling in the summer, you’ve also got the added time involved with scraping all those bug guts off your windshield. Even worse, if the truckstop doesn’t have long poles on their squeegees, you find yourself with the hood up and standing over a hot engine. Good times. Good times indeed.
Another reason a trucker might sweat their butt off is lack of air conditioning. Modern trucks are generally quite reliable, but still, one of the most common mechanical failures is a malfunctioning air conditioner.
Last summer I was asked to go rescue an abandoned truck from a truckstop. When I showed up, I discovered that the air conditioner was broken. The maintenance department swore they knew nothing about it. Since it wasn’t my truck, I wasn’t about to take it to an International dealer where I probably would’ve been sitting for 2-3 days.
It took three days to get back to the yard. The first night it was cool enough to sleep in the truck, but the second and third nights I had to get a hotel room, which the company gratefully paid for. After all, I was rescuing their stupid truck.
Another situation where a trucker might sweat their butt off is when you’re at a loading dock that doesn’t allow idling. Your company is too stinking cheap to install APUs, so you’re sweating like a mob boss on the witness stand, and as usual, the loader seems to be moving slower than a snail with a cane. Thanks buddy. May all your lugnuts fall off on your way home from work.
Or say you’re trying to sleep in a no-idling jurisdiction, but instead you’re tossing and turning in a pool of your own sweat. Or maybe you have to go sweep out your trailer after it’s been cooking in the sun all day. It’s like an oven filled with dirt, without the fun of mud pies.
Still, truckers not having butts doesn’t always have to do with the temperature.
Truckers work their butts off
Truckers are allowed by law to work 70 hours in 8 days, so that is exactly what most of them do. That 70 hours includes a combination of duties like; loading/unloading, vehicle inspections, fueling, and obviously, driving. How quickly your butt falls off depends on the type of work you do. Lazy bum OTR (Over-The-Road) van drivers like me have it easy most of the time. I rarely have to hand-unload anything any more (knock on wood).
LTL and local drivers likely aren’t that lucky. Beer, soda, or local food haulers are getting out of the truck multiple times a day, each time loading heavy cases of Budweiser or chicken fried steaks onto 2-wheel dollies, and into stores or restaurants. Maxing out a trucker’s 14-hour legal work limit per day is fairly common with local work too.
As we mentioned before, tanker pullers usually have to be present during the unload process and flatbedders are lugging heavy tarps up ladders and crawling around 15 feet in the air to make sure their freight is protected from the weather.
And then there is the regular wear-and-tear of driving for 11 hours per day. Non-truckers may be thinking, “They’re just driving. It’s not like they’re working hard.” Let me ask you; do you get tired when you take a long car ride? Well try doing that every day for 17 years. You’re right, it’s not physically hard; it’s mentally hard. Neither is much fun.
But you know what? Truckers don’t even have to be working to lose their butts.
Truckers talk your butt off
The image of the strong, silent trucker is a fallacy. We truckers love us some talking, as you can no doubt tell if you’re counting these words right now. It doesn’t take much to get us started either. Personally, I’ve been working on this.
I may have mentioned this before, but I used to talk waaaaay too much in social situations. I still don’t mind hearing my own voice, but I’m much more mindful of it after The Evil Overlord so graciously told me several times that I had monopolized a conversation earlier that evening. Actually, she’s not usually that nice. She’s more apt to say something loving like, “You should try shutting the f*** up every once in a while.” Who was the idiot that said truth in relationships is good? 😉
The truth is, truckers just often don’t know when to shut up. The Evil Overlord and I quickly learned not to say anything to truckers seating near us at truckstop restaurants. If you say one word to them, they take it as license to talk to you throughout your entire meal, even if we’re in the middle of a conversation ourselves.
Most talkative truckers that I’ve encountered just don’t seem to comprehend when someone is trying to escape. After a while, I’ll turn away from the blabbermouth like I’ve got somewhere to be, usually because I do. I’ve even taken a few steps away as he’s talking. Unfortunately, this rarely prevents a determined talker from closing the distance and continuing on with whatever boring topic he’s decided to enlighten you about. There have even been a few times when I’ve walked away with the guy still talking. I hate to be rude, but if he can’t pick up the cues that I’ve got crap to do, then so be it. It’s not like I’m ever going to run into Mr. Waggletongue again anyway.
I do understand that truckers are alone most of the time and therefore feel the need to connect with people. I truly do. I would just ask that you start paying attention to how interested your target seems to be and reign it in if his eyes start to glaze over. Trust me; it can be done. At least that what I keep telling myself.
And by the way, if you didn’t catch the drift, you don’t have to have your butt talked off by another driver, you can also talk your butt off to another driver. You’re one or the other, so either way your butt is vanishing as we speak.
So there you have it: 4 reasons truckers don’t have butts.
Now maybe you’re thinking that you’re the last living trucker to keep his/her butt intact; that somehow you’ve managed to avoid freezing, sweating, working, or having your butt talked off. Fine. But I wouldn’t get too cocky there, SuperTrucker. I guarantee you that if you keep at this trucking thing, you’ll eventually sit on your butt long enough to smash it in so much that it may as well have fallen off. If you don’t believe me, just check out my pooper the next time we meet.
So what did I miss? Are there other ways to lose your butt out here? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I trust you passed elementary math, yes?
Additional links from the podcast version:
The Trucking Podcast with Buck Ballard and Don the Beer Guy
BigTruckGuide.com for axle weights and bridge laws
LoadingSpot.com is a website where truckers can rate shippers and receivers. Check it out!
Carl Reiner’s poem, “Ode to the Buttocks Bountiful”
Learn about DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid)
Learn about APUs (Auxiliary Power Units)
In the feedback section:
Andrew listened to TD57: Really? A Good Dispatcher? and writes in complaining about his crappy dispatcher. He also needs my help killing him.
I mention two guest posters who weren’t afraid to record their voice for the podcast. Kevin McKague encouraged us truckers to get off our lazy butts when he recorded TD88: You Can’t See America From The Trucker’s Lounge, while Englishman Sam Fisher added some class to the podcast by recording TD87: Five Tips For Sleeping Near A Busy Road in his awesome Yorkshire accent.
You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com
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