Opinion » Maxed Out

Big trucks vs. snow... and the winner is?



So I've been thinkin' about buying a big truck again. Not that I ever owned a big truck and want another one, not that kind of again. But I once thought about buying a big truck and now I'm thinking about buying a big truck again. That kind of again.

I'm not thinking 'bout it too hard. If I was, I wouldn't have bought a small truck... but that's a different column.

You know the sort of truck I'm talking about, though. Big! Big tires with big burly-looking knobs of black rubber sticking out every which direction, tires really capable of digging into whatever they roll across and transmitting all those horsepower into dust-raising, dirt-spewing, mud-slingin' forward motion. Maybe a rack of lights mounted on a rollbar hugging the contours of its extend-o-cab, a trailer hitch capable of pulling a big boat or maybe a fifth-wheel hitch in the bed to haul my chalet wherever I go. That kind of big truck.

The big truck is, as hinted above, just a start. What the hell good is a big truck if you don't have some big thing to haul or pull around with it? No good at all, I'd say. A statement without a real voice, a meal with no dessert.

So I'd wanna get me a couple of big, fast snowmobiles to haul around on my big truck. Not those pussy, underpowered-overpriced four-stroke snowmobiles that don't make much noise and burn fuel as efficiently as a Prius. No way, dude; I'm makin' a statement here. I'm after those big, loud, go-anywhere, climb-anything, leap tall buildings, run Bambi to the ground, blue-smokin', high-revvin' snowmobiles, the kind that can reduce an untouched snowscape into snow-sculpted Los Angeles freeway scene in no time flat. Hell, there's a lot of backcountry around here to get to and I'm just certain somewhere out there there's a cornice no one's been filmed jumpin' off. What a waste of pristine nature.

And let's face it, what's a big truck without a big RV to pull around? I mean, what kind of crunchy granola moron goes camping in an uncomfortable, cramped, damp, smelly tent? Loser. If I really wanted to eat freeze-dried kibble and lug my world around on my back I'd... I'd... well, I don't even know how to finish this sentence. Where's the glamour in that? Where's the sense of entitlement, the wanton heady rush you get when you know you're doing your part to debunk the myth of climate change?

Give me three bedrooms, pop-out bay windows, a microwave convection oven, 32-inch plasma TV, satellite dish, hot tub and a walk-in freezer any day. Now that's campin'.

Besides, when you've got 800 diesel-burnin' horsepower just beggin' to be challenged, how in the world are you going to drive your mileage down into single digits if you just cruise around town or down to the corner for milk with nothin' but air in the back of your big truck? You're not! It's as simple as that. Without those sleds in the back or that really cool fifth-wheel, you're just screaming "Driver Has Tiny Dick" to everyone you pass.

Up to now, there were only three things keeping me from livin' the dream big. One was that I'm not really comfortable driving big trucks or big cars. They're hard to park and you can barely tell when you've run over someone. And I've always had a bias for smaller, more intimate cars, sports cars. I guess I could live the dream by buying, say, a Bugatti Veyron. Sixteen cylinder engine, 1,200 horsepower, zero-to-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, 415 km/h top speed and an engine capable of sucking so much gas so fast you can actually see the gas gauge dropping in real time. Hell, who hasn't found themselves in a situation where you needed to get to a hundred clicks in under three seconds? But there is that price tag that rivals an astroturf soccer pitch to contend with. Big truck's a lot cheaper than that.

The second reason is I have a bias for simpler experiences. I'd rather have fewer cylinders to look after, smaller tires to buy and a less intimate relationship with my local gas station. I like the solitude of the backcountry and really prefer to hear snow falling and skis swishing across the landscape than the banshee wail of a steroidal two-stroke.

And other than unanesthesized dental surgery, I can't think of many things less appealing than dragging a fifth-wheel around. With professional help I may be able to overcome these biases... but I have a bias against professional help and self-help books.

The final hurdle may well be the simplest to overcome. There's always been this nagging conscience thing, this almost indescribable barrier to wastefulness and conspicuous consumption, a fear of contributing more heavily than I already do to the whole global warming thing.

But two things are helping me get over that last barrier. One is I'm getting old. I'm pretty certain I'm now old enough to really not give a damn. Hell, I'm so old it'd take a major catastrophe for my part of the world to run out of fresh air, fresh water and enough to eat before I die. And since I haven't bred, what do I care if your kids choke to death on bad air, die a hideous death from skin cancer or drown when rising oceans flood the coastal cities of the world? OK, there are step-children and a grandchild... but, dude, it's my right to suck gas like there's no tomorrow; bugger you.

And then there's the reassuring actions of our political leaders who, on this side of the border, embrace piping bitumen across the country and around the world, continue to treat climate change like a pet monkey — something to show off but really not have much to do with.

If, in addition, I can believe the various candidates running to lead the Conservative Party, they'll just dismantle anything remotely having to do with ruses like carbon taxes when they come to power.

Both of which pale in comparison to the scorched-earth presidency taking shape south of the border where anything having to do with climate change is just fake news. Then again, maybe they're on to something. Science is such an inexact way to predict what's going to happen. Hell, science can't even decide which is better: butter or margarine. How can they be certain global warming is real?

But then... I look out the window at snowy mountains shining in bright sun. Check the thermometer and see it's still below freezing. Think about what it would be like without the snow. Forget any thoughts about that big truck. Some things are simply more valuable than my own short-sighted satisfaction.

Heck, might even be more important than yours too.


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