I once owned a house in Sturgis, Mich. This was extremely convenient since I happened to be living in Sturgis at the time.
It was a nice place — three bedrooms on a lot-and-a-half, on a nice shady street, with the town’s only surviving elm tree in the backyard. And it had a heated garage that was massive, big enough for two cars, a motorcycle and various pieces of lawn equipment, with enough room left over for a big four-wheel-drive diesel pickup truck with dual rear wheels.
I bring up the truck because that’s what I’m looking to buy in the near future. And I bring up the house in Sturgis because its price was approximately half of what it’s going to cost me to buy the aforementioned truck.
Yes, yes, I know those were 1976 dollars for the house and I’ll be spending 2012 dollars on the truck. Even so, it still looks like spending two 1976 houses’ worth of money on one truck, and if that thought hits you at the wrong time it will make you spit root beer all over the place. Trust me on this one.
The question then becomes, “Are you sure you need all that pickup truck, Michael? Isn’t that showing off? Aren’t you really just fantasizing about making all your cousins envious when you pull up to the next family reunion in a 2012 Heavy-Duty Manlyhauler?”
Well, yes. Also yes, and yes.
I need a lot more truck than I currently own because I’m doing a lot of hauling in one of my other jobs, and my old truck is vastly underpowered for the job. I need something with some oomph, and when I got my old truck they weren’t offering the oomph package. That was OK because I never really hauled anything heavier than garden supplies and the annual Christmas tree.
Now I’m carrying actual freight, and the truck isn’t happy about it, not in the least. In fact, it is currently expressing this unhappiness by not running.
But I must admit the showoff in me likes the idea of tooling down the road in something massive with a big engine, clearance lights and dual rear wheels. You armchair psychologists can make of that what you will. I will only add that in my life I have also liked the idea of tooling around in a British sports car, so your size compensation jokes don’t work on me.
As for wanting to make my cousins envious — guilty as charged. We McKenzies are a highly competitive people and never more than when we compete against each other. When I roll into the reunion in a new ride, my cousins will give me grief for buying the wrong brand and choosing the wrong engine and getting way too much vehicle, which is their way of saying they are absolutely scorched that I got a great new truck and they didn’t.
But boy, is it going to be expensive. Two houses for a truck. That’s a lot. And I wonder if I can handle it without feeling incredibly guilty for being such a spendthrift.
Then again, perhaps I should stop thinking about it in those terms. Houses and trucks? It’s apples and oranges.
Besides, it’s hard on whoever’s sitting across from me at the root beer joint. Trust me on this one, too.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.