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Dents, dings, and other scars

I just noticed another dent in my pickup. I don’t know how long it’s been there – it's kind of a crease in the front of the hood.

Not a huge surprise. I've had it almost five years and that would be a long time for a farm pickup to stay dent-free. I doubt if this one lasted a year before the first dent showed up.

That’s not my personal best, though. Many years ago, we brought a brand new one-ton pickup home and drove it into the shop to install a fifth wheel plate. I think it had about 45 miles on the odometer. I walked across the floor to get some tools and bumped into a long piece of pipe leaning against the wall. It slid down, hit something else, bounced twice, and left a long scratch down one wheel well. I locked eyes with the guy who was working with me at the time. There was a long moment of silence and then Bill said, “Well, thank God we got that out of the way.”


I don’t have a one-ton pickup anymore. The one I’m driving is considerably smaller, just big enough to tow our Bobcat loader between farms, but that’s all. It’s an anonymous grey color, because it’s four miles to the closest paved road and I can’t afford to wash it every day. I think the actual color name is “Gravel Road Shabby.”

I’m always kind of amused when I park in a shopping mall or somewhere similar and see all the ginormous pickups with chrome wheels, shiny black paint jobs, and pristine boxes.

I mean, I’ve spent most of my life in pickup trucks, because I’ve spent most of my life picking up heavy stuff and hauling it around. That doesn’t jive with the picture I have in my head. Instead of me unloading softener salt or sheetrock, I see me in a Miata with the top down. Sadly, that ship has sailed – or been hauled away.

I was amused and a little mystified, but then read an article about why so many pickup trucks are sold. Apparently, having a big pickup makes you feel more manly. Seventy-five percent of pickup owners use it for towing once or less a year. (That means never.) Thirty-five percent haul something once or less in a year. So, they don’t pull stuff and they don’t haul stuff. So why would you drive a pickup? Well, the survey showed that people bought pickups because they “helped them to present a tough image.” Evidently, driving a pickup truck makes men more handsome, strong, and appealing to women.

If that’s correct, why do I know so many bachelor farmers?

The article did make me laugh, though. I’m no stranger to trying to impress women by my choice of vehicle. When the woman who married me saw for the first time my ‘65 Chevy Panel truck that had the back door held shut with a piece of rope and rust holes in the floorboards, she was almost speechless. But I could tell she was seeing me in an entirely new light. And, bottom line, she did marry me.

I think the big shiny pickup guys are missing something. A pickup without a scratch or a dent is kind if fraudulent. It’s the scratches, dents and scars that tell the real story, that sort out the real from the phony.

Copyright 2022 Brent Olson


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