Where the buttons are

It’s something of a sport in my family, when things get dull and boring, to introduce a topic guaranteed to send an otherwise-content family member into complete nuclear orbit. What’s even more fun is the fact that, most of the time, the family member in question absolutely knows he or she is being picked on, but is unable … to … resist … the … urge  … to … RANT!

For some strange reason, most of these stories have to do with some mode of transportation. We’ll start with me, because I’m fair like that.

The Nut Rant. I’m sure I am not the first person to have noticed nor will I be the last to be deathly appalled by the existence of truck nuts. Ah yes, the polyurethane depiction of naked man balls, attractively attached beneath the rear bumper of a large, compensating-for-something pickup truck. No, the hilarious reaction I had when these … things first became available and/or widespread was my complete denial that they were, in fact, exactly what they appeared to be.

The scene went something like this:

Me, in the passenger seat of the car, in traffic: “What IS that hanging under that truck up there?”
Husband Tras: “What does it look like?” [suppressed laughter]
Me: “Well, it looks like testicles — good lord, what has someone got on the back of their truck that LOOKS like man parts?”
Tras: [raised eyebrows]
Me: “No.”

“No,” I said, “those are NOT manufactured depictions of human gonads. That is not what they are, because there is no one, anywhere, who would willingly and on purpose purchase and then place such a thing on the back of a vehicle. There exists nowhere in the known universe a person who would make the conscious decision to attach a replica of the most unflattering and graphically detailed piece of the human anatomy which God himself created in His image on the outside of a motor vehicle which anyone driving by could see, even GRANDMOTHERS and small children and … and …”

And. Well. Um. Ahem — yes. I guess I stand corrected, then. There is a form of humor lower than a pun — and it certainly appears that it hangs lower as well.

And so, if there is ever, at any time, something that I protest cannot possibly be, Tras has only to remind me that these things exist and I am forced to admit that indeed, the devil is loose in the world, and he is treated to Installment #487 of The Nut Rant.

Yellow Truck. Although I did not witness the birth of this long-lived peeve, I have been around for its maturation, fruition, and eventual elevation to Beating a Dead Horse heights.

It seems years ago, my brother-in-law David pointed out the idiosyncratic color scheme adopted by Yellow Transportation Inc. for its semi-tractor-trailers. They’re not, as one might reasonably predict, yellow — they are orange. Cue rant.

One day Tras entertained the children and I with the stories of the vehemence, length, and apoplectic nature of the Dave Yellow Truck Rant.™ We were, of course, delighted, and from thence forward, on any car trip, every eye was peeled for a glimpse of the hilariously rant-inducing Orange Yellow Truck.

One bright fall day, on our way South for a family get-together, one such truck was spotted and Tras snapped its photo with his phone and promptly emailed it to David, who would be joining us at our destination. The rest of the trip was merrily consumed with predictions and suggested enactments of just how David would react upon receiving the email. This we of course told him all about when we all reunited in North Carolina.

At first he was all “yeah, yeah, yeah, it bugs me, you’re all so funny, hee-hee-hee,” but, as expected, he eventually started defending his Anti-Orange Stance When It Comes to Yellow Trucks. We all sat back, pleased with ourselves, and thoroughly enjoyed the rant in full flower. (Available in either yellow or orange.)

No Hams on the Gunwale. Tras has a ski boat which I, as wife and life-partner, now own as well. Due to circumstances not particularly favorable for intensive weekends of skiing and boating (which would be, in order, the birth, rearing, and management of a 5-year-old plus the introduction of termites into the aft deck which has rendered it mostly unseaworthy) I have yet to sail upon it. Boating was, however, for many years, quite the Tras passion and I have heard many, many stories from him, his family, and his friends about the varied exploits which have, over the years, occurred on the water.

One of these was a Soileau family outing. As might be expected from an extended family which included a mother prone to making potato salad, they arrived fully laden with enough food to feed a small country for at least a week. In addition to the aforementioned potato salad, the menu apparently also consisted of pork and beans, two-liter containers of various carbonated beverages, plastic cups, silverware, and a large, fully cooked, bone-in ham.

Let us contemplate the scene. Tras deftly maneuvers the boat and trailer into the lake, the family aboard, and he quickly takes truck and trailer to the parking area so that the many other boating parties may also launch in as timely a manner as possible. This is boating etiquette and boating protocol. So when he begins to make his way back to the launch site, Tras is understandably perplexed at the long, long line of cars, boats, and trailers stretching off into infinity. My, there certainly must be a LOT of people on the lake today.

The reason for the line, it soon becomes apparent, is the presence of one boat blocking the launch site. This boat hasn’t courteously been moved out of the way so others could launch — no. It is full of a merry band of picnickers, unconcernedly quaffing Cokes and sawing away at a large ham perilously parked upon the gunwale of the craft, which has drifted not one inch.

Appalled at this breach of boating decorum and stunned at the depth and volume of the feast, Tras quickly maneuvers the family out of launch’s way and on with the day of boating. Yet the ire, it did burn.

“We knew Tras was mad about something, but we didn’t know what,” said Tras’s sister Diana years later, when the event was trotted out for public consumption.

Many apologies from boating-protocol-ignorant family. And from Tras, good humor at the ribbing — which eventually, to everyone’s delight, deteriorated into low-grade, delayed fuming.

Everyone waits for the climax of the rant, for Tras can depended upon to, at least once, recall in vivid detail the horror he felt when he returned from the parking area and saw his boat at the eye of a hurricane of boater irritation — with his oblivious family happily munching around none other than a large ham laid out upon the gunwale.

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6 thoughts on “Where the buttons are

  1. I had to google “truck nuts” in order to confirm this, and no–I have never once seen them in the state of Oregon. Never. Now that you’ve mentioned it I’ll probably see them daily.

    Did you know they’re illegal in the state of Delaware? According to Wikipedia, that is.

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