I just had a strange encounter in the peanut butter isle. No, I didn’t decide that mustard should replace my beloved strawberry preserves. Although that does give me a devious plan. I think I’ll try to get one of my nephews to eat a peanut butter and mustard sandwich. Maybe I’ll throw in some cash to sweeten the pot. Anyway, what really happened was that I ran into myself from two years ago.
I was listening to some tunes on my iPhone when a guy walked up and started talking to me. I really hate that, but I hit pause anyway. He was asking me if peanut butter ever went bad. Truthfully, I told him that peanut butter doesn’t last long enough around me to know the answer to that particular question. He laughed, saying that he had found a half-eaten jar under the bunk in his truck. I said, “Well, I sure know the feeling of losing stuff in my truck.” He raised his eyebrows in surprise and said, “You drive a truck?” I just love it when people can’t believe I’m a trucker. So, similarity number one.
As is typical in trucker conversation, the next question was, “Who do you drive for?” Well, I never reveal my employer on the web, but I’ve got no problem doing so face-to-face. No, we didn’t drive for the same company, but the two company names were so similar that we had a laugh about it. Similarity number two.
He went on to comment on my lack of a belly (very anti-truckerish) and said he was just starting to work on making his disappear. He told me he was an ex-Marine and expressed how disgusted he was with himself for getting out of shape. Now it would have been really cool if I had been in the Marines too, but I wasn’t even in the ROTC, let alone the real gun-toting deal. Anyway, I congratulated him on his decision and he began to show me the food he was buying and telling me how he tries to eat in the truck as much as possible. I agreed that was the way to go. The Evil Overlord and I figured that out years ago. As he said, “They serve too much food at truck stops.” So there’s similarity number three. We both try to eat as healthy as possible and stay away from fast food and truck stop restaurants. And believe me, that’s strange in the trucking industry.
Similarity number four came when he asked if I worked out to stay in shape. I told him that I had a couple of years ago when The Evil Overlord had quit trucking and I was running solo. He said he had just bought a set of dumbbells that he was going to use when he was away from home. I went on to tell him how he needs to find a way to workout inside the truck if at all possible. When he looked at me skeptically, I told him that it could be done and proceeded to tell him how to position himself to do certain exercises. I went on to explain that if he tried to do his workouts in a truck stop parking lot, he would have constant interruptions from truckers who wanted to talk his leg off. On that subject, why can’t anyone ever talk your beer gut off? Why is it always a leg or an ear? Anywho, he thanked me for the tip and admitted that I was right about that. We’re men, for Pete’s sake. We can’t be expected to count reps AND carry on a conversation at the same time.
Similarity number five was realized as I was preparing to leave. I wished him luck and he said, “God will help me stick to it.” “He certainly will,” I said. Two or three years ago, I had decided that I should give God a little more respect than I had in the past. I started to read my Bible and pray every morning and I started listening to some Christian podcasts. I told him this and he said that he had strayed too and he was trying to get back into the habit of opening his Bible everyday. He decided that the first step was unburying his Bible so that he’d remember. Good call, man. So this fifth similarity caused the sixth.
He said he was trying to quit cussing. I laughed and said, “This is getting weird.” I told him that I had quit cussing a couple of years ago when I started reading the Bible again. He laughed and said, “Man, it’s sooo hard when you’re out here with all these truckers.” I assured him that he could do it. I also made sure he knew that I fall back into my potty-mouth self every now and then, especially when I’d like to nudge some four-wheeler into the ditch for being a moron. I thought it might help him when he caught himself slipping. You know, for some strange reason, when you start reading the Bible you realize that your mouth could use a whole case of Palmolive dumped into it. God’s weird like that.
As for the seventh and final similarity, well, some things are just hard to believe. As the conversation wound down, he stuck out his hand and said, “Man, it was nice to talk to someone who has been through all this recently. I didn’t catch your name.” As I stretched out my arm, I replied,“Todd.” His hand stopped in mid-air. Through squinted eyes he said, “Seriously?” I grinned and said, “Don’t tell me your name is Todd.” It was.
Tags: Bible, cussing, down time, exercise, God, life change, peanut butter, relationships, team trucking, The Evil Overlord, truck, truck driving, truck stop, trucker, trucker stories, truckers, trucking, trucking industry, trucking jobs, trucking life