The Truck From Hell

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Bay Area traffic tests the nerves and good sense of countless drivers. On a local freeway the other day Jonathan Slusher found his buttons pushed and his better judgment severely challenged.

I should have stayed on the freeway. Traffic was backed up everywhere. It must have been an accident. Everyone was stuck in this mess together. No one was going anywhere for a while.

But suddenly in the rearview a silver jacked-up pickup appeared and tore down the shoulder lane. It sped past hundreds of stopped cars. The trucked nosed itself in front of the car in front of me.

That’s not fair! But I’m not living in New Jersey anymore, I reminded myself. This is Northern California. People are supposed to take the high road here. No one beeps or yells profanities at aggressive drivers on the road.

It doesn’t ever do any good to let them get you all bent out of shape.


Traffic crawled along and the pickup merged to the left lane. It had a bumper sticker with black block text on a white background.

"Nothing in this Truck is Worth Dying For"

What a jerk! I shook my head and held it in.

A deep bass thumped through the truck’s custom sound speakers. It wasn’t “Cat Scratch Fever” but it might as well have been Ted Nugent himself at the wheel. This guy was irritating. I figured that was the point.

A Terrorist Hunting Permit was displayed in the truck’s rear window. The driver looked soft and out of shape. If he were dropped in the desert with a heavy backpack and assault rifle to hunt terrorists he didn’t look like he would last very long.

The truck had oversized chrome wheels without a speck of dirt. Perhaps not everyone who drove recklessly in a squeaky clean mini-monster truck was overcompensating for male insecurity. I was pretty sure that this guy was. Passive aggressive provocateurs seem to be running amok unchecked and unchallenged these days.

I reminded myself to feel bad for him. Trolls must live unfulfilling existences.

Soon our windows were side by side. I looked over at the driver incredulously. His careless stare seemed forced and it remained straight ahead.

My window was already down and I wanted to yell, “Hey! Someone put a stupid bumper sticker on your truck. They must be playing a joke on you.”

But I held back. I held it in. It wasn’t easy.

With a Perspective, I’m Jonathan Slusher.

Jonathan Slusher teaches science and lives in Half Moon Bay.