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Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Ode to a truck

You cannot buy a real truck anymore _ not off the shelf anyway. In 1972 you could, but by definition a real truck is at least 20 years old these days.

The comfortmobiles that Detroit is currently marketing as trucks are a disgrace. The things ride like cars, drive like cars, accelerate like cars, and stop like cars. Basically, they are soccer-mom-minivans with the back cut off for a bed, or in the case of the SUVs, just plain mini-vans with a scooch more ground clearance and bigger tires.

Whatever they are, they are not trucks _ not real trucks.

The consequences of this travesty are wide and far reaching, especially in the arena of marriage.

Real men own at least one real truck. They have to. It is as necessary to their existence as breathing oxygen and eating dead animals killed in mortal combat. It is a force of nature.

Recently I've noticed several instances of feminine complaint regarding husbands and their trucks and some of these have struck close to home. Actually, they took place at home, but that is not the point.

The point is, you cannot separate a real man from his real truck, and trying to do so can be the ruin of a relationship.

Instead, a good wife should learn to appreciate the charm and beauty of her husband's faithful steel companion.

Like many things in life, a real truck is a total package, not a cafeteria experience where you take what you like and leave the rest.

It is the same with a good man. Every real man comes with flannel shirts, favorite socks, lucky hunting vests, and pictures of old female acquaintances kept solely in the interest of preserving modern history. It is a package, although I cannot imagine which part would be unappealing. Trucks are the same way.

Real trucks are made of steel. Lots of it. Often owners enhance the truck with homemade grill guards and bumpers welded from leftover sections of the Alaska Pipeline. The bigger the better.

Real trucks leak stuff _ oil, grease, and other fluids. It is part of the real truck maintenance system. By continuously oozing fluids the owner need only to top everything off occasionally and is never bothered with having to change out these fluids all at once.

Real trucks do not have computers or even electronics. Many barely generate enough electricity to fire a spark plug.

Real trucks are not comfortmobiles with carpet, cloth, and especially not leather, unless it is the semi-tanned hide from last year's bow hunt that you threw over the old vinyl to keep the springs from poking you.

Real trucks have real suspensions. Real bone jarring, kidney shaking, kid bouncing, coffee spilling suspensions. None of this independent suspension, four-wheel-drive on the fly, rack and pinion steering junk is allowed.

Real trucks are generally accelerationally challenged compared to the overpriced comfortmobiles of today. That does not matter and is not a valid criticism. Actually it is a benefit. Ask any real man and he will tell you that this seeming lack of speed simply indicates powerful, stump-pulling gear ratios that pleasingly whine in first and second gear. That whine is the sound of manhood and is worth money.

Real trucks have an odor _ each different and yet somehow related. It is a charming scent best brought out by warm summer sunlight through closed windows and usually consists of a delicate blend of motor oil (new and burned) heavy gear oil, gasoline, burnt wiring, mildew, tobacco products, a partially eaten moon pie, gun oil, coffee, sweat and dust.

So far I have not seen this scent marketed in a hang-up air freshener but I imagine somebody is working on it. I hope so. Then we can get rid of that wimpy new-car smell in the family sled.

Most importantly, real trucks have carburetors, points, coils, chokes, and sundry things mechanical that their real men owners can adjust, sand, dismantle and generally fool with. The manliest trucks have extra levers in the cab that activate things like dump beds, power-take-offs, extra windows or whatever. It does not really matter what the lever does Levers are cool.

The endearing aspects of real trucks makes for a long list. Just ask any wife of a real man. How these benefits do not translate exactly between genders is beyond me. I just chalk it up to a short in the female wiring harness.

But seriously ladies, even if the benefits of these rusty diamonds in disguise eludes you, take my advice and at least act like you feel the same love and tenderness for the ol' girl as your good husband does.

It will strengthen your relationship and griping will not do any good anyway. The truck is part of the package you were lucky enough to acquire at marriage.

The two go together like kitty litter and oil on the driveway.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

The media's bias

Last week the Alpine Observer ran a fine editorial pointing out the discrepancy between what we hear through the national media and what is really going on.

The Observer noted that if a person simply watched the network and cable television news outlets, he or she would assume that Al Gore was assured a landslide victory in November over George W. Bush. Reading the big daily newspapers gives the same impression.

And this certainly seems to be the case, one week later.

The Observer pointed out that in fact, Bush lead Gore in two of three national polls.

This week those same polls show the candidates deadlocked in a tight race:

Bush 41, Gore 41: Battleground 2000 (

Bush 42, Gore 42: Rasmussen Research (

Bush 45, Gore 45: CNN/USA Today/Gallop (

Still, the impression one gets from the mainstream media is that Gore has it locked up.


Pure bias on the part of these media outlets. There is no other answer. It is simply a shame that so many in the "news" business have forsaken ethics and objectivity for political activism.

Tonight's debate is supposed to be heavily watched by likely voters. At least the voters will get to see the whole show and not just a sound bite, but beware the "reporting" that will follow.

Voters should also hesitate before using one debate to make their decision. A champion debater does not necessarily make for a good president whether he is a republican or a democrat.

Informed voters must look to several sources of news and information before they can consider themselves informed. Simply watching a decidedly biased national media, or watching a single debating contest, is not enough.

Your View

Band directors make decisions, not members

Dear Editor:
This is in regards to the letter concerning the Pecos Eagle Band. We are proud to say that we have received a Division 1 in marching contest two years in a row. How could a few members of the public say that we have `declined and continue to do so.'

Everyday we are out there on the field practicing to show the town what we can do and show our pride, and yet we are criticized for wearing street clothes, and `failing to be role models to the underclassman.'

No one but the band members are out there mornings and evenings counting, marching, memorizing music, and trying to perfect the show in order to receive and give this town another Division 1. We have a band director that makes the decisions, and what he says goes, meaning the street clothes, underclassman wearing uniforms, and marching with the upperclassmen.

If this matter concerns them so much maybe they should come out and march, direct, and memorize the music with us. Yes, the younger members should be commended for wearing their uniforms because it was hot out there, but don't disregard the younger member who fainted while wearing the uniform.

And to the many people who go out and support us on Friday nights, thank you from all the Band members, your support is greatly appreciated.


Is there a problem with our judicial system?

Dear Editor:
Recently, I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing the jail sentencing of a local Pecosite handed down by a Judge in Dallas County. The gentleman was sentenced to a two-year term in a State Jail Facility for Criminal Non-Support (child support).

The man in question has been on probation for this offense since August 1998. Over the last two and a half years, he violated his probation twice. For this offense, he was given a two-year sentence. What is bewildering is the fact that for the next two years, two different families must suffer. Not only will the child in question not receive any support from this man, but also his family here in Pecos will not receive any support either.

Granted the man must be punished for violating his probation and a jail term is necessary, however, two years in a State Facility is excessive, in my opinion, as well as others.

How can this man possibly attempt to support this child and his other children if he must spend the next two years of his life in jail? State Jail sentences are not like other sentences, he must spend the full term of his sentence day for day, with no time off for good behavior, etc.

What makes this case even more disturbing, he has never seen the child that he is ordered to support. The mother refuses to allow him visitation rights, but makes every effort to insure that he pays the child support for her daughter. What is wrong with this picture? It is okay for one parent to insist and pursue financial support from the other parent but does not have to allow that parent the right to have a relationship with the child? This little girl is 13 years old and has never been allowed to meet her father. I must say that I do agree he still has a responsibility to support his child despite being denied having seen her. This fact cannot be disputed but if one parent is forced to abide by a child support order then why not both?

What is even more bazaar, is just moments before, this same Judge handed down a sentence to a repeat drug offender to only 60 days in a county jail facility. This man had already spent 7 years in prison for a prior drug offense and when released on probation early this year, violated his probation three times for selling drugs in a middle school playground. This man was selling drugs to children and given only the proverbial "slap on the wrist" to possibly do it again. Is there a problem with our judicial system? I say yes. I do see a need for punishment in both cases, but in my opinion, the punishment should fit the crime. Instead of allowing our fellow citizen an opportunity to work and support his children, he must serve a term that is far too excessive. Not only are the taxpayers of this state forced to support this man, but also his family here in Pecos.

Even sadder, the first day of his incarceration, his youngest child was born. He was not afforded the opportunity to be here for his birth and has yet to see him at all.

A letter writing campaign has been initiated to the Judge in hopes that she will have leniency on this man and reduce his sentence. It is a long shot, but if enough people bombard her office with letters, she may agree that it is better to allow him the opportunity to work to support all of his children and not rely on the State of Texas to do so.

The little girl in question is lucky to have two parents she lives with to support her, but what about the children in Pecos? They must rely on the generosity of others and the state to support them.

If anyone would like to join the letter writing campaign, please contact me for the Judge's address. If we pull together as a community to help this one man, maybe we can make a difference in the judicial system as a whole. It is worth a try.


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