THEY WALK AMONG US

There’s many a shonky op­er­a­tor who has rein­vented them­selves to be an up­stand­ing mem­ber of the truck­ing com­mu­nity. Scotty Douglas writes

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver -

EVER NO­TICE how aliens only ever seem to abduct stupid peo­ple? Con­sid­er­ing how many smart peo­ple there are in the world you’d think the law of av­er­ages would mean that oc­ca­sion­ally they’d net at least a cou­ple of aca­demics, sci­en­tists or at least some­one with some sort of cred­i­bil­ity. But no, the lit­tle green men only choose to beam up in­bred mid-western corn farm­ers with a taste for back­yard hooch and then re­turn them with their minds erased and a sore bot­tom.

Makes you won­der what sort of pic­ture these aliens have painted of hu­man­ity af­ter their re­search.

But imag­ine you dumped one of those re­cently ab­ducted, moon­shine swill­ing, in­bred corn farm­ers with a freshly erased mind and a sore bot­tom into an Australian trans­port in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence and then asked him his opin­ion on what is go­ing on.

No doubt our corn farmer would shift un­com­fort­ably in his seat for more than a cou­ple of rea­sons (sit­ting, for ex­am­ple, may be a lit­tle un­com­fort­able).

But I reckon it wouldn’t take too long for the word hypocrisy to come up in con­ver­sa­tion.

Ever no­ticed that most of the faces that sit on some of the in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions in this coun­try also have a long his­tory of run­ning trans­port com­pa­nies? Of course they do, and many of them have been quite suc­cess­ful. Good on them for hav­ing the gump­tion, guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed.

But, it’s the pon­tif­i­ca­tion that sticks in my throat. There are more than a cou­ple of faces speak­ing on be­half of the in­dus­try that made their money from fast trucks, drugged driv­ers and elas­tic log books. Okay, so maybe that was the way of do­ing things back in the day, but to then bolt on some re­spectabil­ity and preach to the rest of the in­dus­try reeks of hypocrisy.

These peo­ple are kid­ding them­selves if they think that any­one with a his­tory in truck­ing doesn’t re­mem­ber their trucks flash­ing past in the night, of­ten, I might add, with a Truck­Safe plac­ard shin­ing from the back doors. Get off the f***ing soap box!

It’s okay now, though. Over the years you’ve made your money, built your re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers, bought your own infrastructure and now have a nice house, a boat, and a suit that isn’t shiny. Now you’ve got de­pots in most states and maybe are even even pub­licly listed.

You can af­ford to preach about ac­count­abil­ity, com­pli­ance and best prac­tice. Hell, you can prob­a­bly even af­ford to have a whole com­pli­ance depart­ment.

How easy it is to pre­tend that the busi­ness wasn’t also built on the blood, sweat and tears of hard­work­ing driv­ers, many of whom bent the rules to get the job done for you and ul­ti­mately sac­ri­ficed their longterm health and, in some in­stances, even died build­ing that busi­ness?

Just hear­ing any of them lec­tur­ing on com­pli­ance and what the in­dus­try needs makes my va­sec­tomy scar ache.

Of course peo­ple have the right to rein­vent them­selves. Sure, back in the day things were dif­fer­ent. But at least be hon­est about it. Stand up in front of your peers and ad­mit that you used to run a shonky out­fit but turned it around. At least some peo­ple out­side the room you are ad­dress­ing would maybe have some re­spect for you. Geez, af­ter all it works for footy play­ers af­ter a big night on the town.

No, best to pre­tend that no one, now re­spectable, ever specced their trucks up to run fast, no one ever en­cour­aged drug use, and no one ever com­pletely dis­re­garded driv­ing hours. It was only a small cow­boy mi­nor­ity that gave the in­dus­try a bad name, wasn’t it?

As the driver pop­u­la­tion ages we’re see­ing some well-re­spected long-term driv­ers shuf­fle off to that road­house in the sky. Many of them too soon as a re­sult of the truck­ing life­style. At least have the de­cency to ac­knowl­edge the sac­ri­fices they’ve made over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not paint­ing driv­ers as vic­tims of some evil em­pire.

We make choices, we know the job and there was a time when that meant pedal to the metal and log­books be damned. But that time is now over. Just stop with the preachy dou­ble speak and be real for f***’s sake. Maybe peo­ple will then ac­tu­ally lis­ten.

Aim for a bet­ter in­dus­try, aim for a safer in­dus­try by all means. Pro­mote a bet­ter im­age for truck­ing. But don’t pre­tend that the past didn’t hap­pen and it was all some­one else’s do­ing.

You know who you are. Even alien brain­washed Cle­tus from Iowa who mar­ried his cousin in a hooch-in­duced haze would be able to see through your bull­shit.

In the mean­time, I’ve got some great can­di­dates for the aliens to speak to. It could be an in­ter­est­ing study into hu­man ethics, hon­esty and the rewrit­ing of his­tory.

Speak­ing of which, the truck stereo is go­ing all weird and I can see strange lights in the sky. Maybe I’ll pull over to have a look.

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