Guys call our trucks her or it I call mine Mack
|This guy was a genius. He understood my truck’s soul. He was the one who named my truck for me, he said, “Phil from now on do not call you truck her or anything like that. When you talk about the truck. You call it Mack. That truck is Mack from now on you got it.”
After having the dealer’s mechanics screw up stuff on three tune-ups, and numerous other things I started taking Mack to Mike. Well he knew truck’s, I’m tellin' you, he was the king of mechanics in my mind. I was at the local coffee shop one day talking to some of the local guys, This new kid was sitting there, and he introduced himself as Mike.
He told us he just came to town a few weeks earlier and was opening a new auto shop and was looking for some business. He handed us all some of his cards. We informed him that we properly could drum up a few jobs here and there if he was any good. We told him what we had around here been nothing to brag about. We all welcomed him to town and told him to hang in there we would be dropping by soon.
He said something that struck me kind of as unusual.
“Yeah, it’s unusual.” He said. We’d been talking about how little work my pick-em-up had required during its first 100,000 miles.
“I know this seems a little weird,” he smiled, “but the longer I work on cars and trucks, the more I see that they sorta take on a relationship with their owner… even the personality sometimes.
And sometimes it’s like they’re not willing to let the owner down, they just keep going and going.”
From the time I drove it off the dealer’s lot, in 1975, I felt a kinship with that truck. Like it was instantly an extension of me of who I was at that moment, and who I would grow to become as we both racked up the miles.
I never named it. It was just “he” or “she” or “it” or “buddy” on a couple of occasions, even more names. It never failed when we hundreds of miles from home, in some mechanical or weather related distress. And we always seem to get home.
Now and again, someone would ask about my miles on my good running truck. When I told them what kept it going, they would often just smile and look away.
We were always protected in that truck. I learned about that early on. A month after I bought it, I had packed it up with son and wife and we all headed for Seattle Washington.
By evening, in a freak snowstorm we were coming down a long hill just out of Globe Nevada, in the trees. By now there was three or four inches of wet snow on the surface, at a reasonable speed for the road conditions, I come around the bend in the road, right there immediately in front of us two cars which had collided. Both were crosswise in the middle of the road, facing each other. No room to go around, with out going over the edge on one side or up onto the cutback on the other. There was absolutely no way to stop. Between them was a narrow gap, not wide enough for Mack that was for sure, but the better choice of any of the options that I had, so I went for it.
The last thing I said before I hit the gap was, “OK Mack, I’m sorry, just do the best you can.” An instant later, we were on the other side. No impact, not even a scratch. There were tears I could not stop streaming down my face. I did not quite get it, and I still don’t, but that truck was safety for me and all that were in it.
In work or play I never questioned taking Mack anywhere. Over the years, we cruised, and crawled, camped, and raced. We have been places were not even I would believe we could go. But, old Mack would chug and churn and dig in for more all it was worth. Some how we would always get there. Mack loved to haul things, He was a show off I swear. I could not overload Mack, believe me I tried many times, It became a challenge between us.
Thinking back I had to laugh. One time dad and I were headed to Canada to help my wife's folks move up there. Now mind you, Mack is a 1976 GMC pick up. What I had done, is everything, and I mean everything that said GMC on it had been taken off. I replaced it all with MACK truck parts even the bull dog on the hood. On the fenders where it used to say GMC now said MACK. On the grill it said MACK, and the tailgate yes, you got it MACK. Hell for all sake and purpose it should have been a Mack truck. Opps! Let the cat out of the bag.
I had some really mean sounding pipes on Mack and it sounded tough. Anyway, dad and I are mid way through Washington State, we pulled into a rest area. We both go into the john and when we come out there are three or four guys standing around Mack checking it out. I left the motor running so of course Mack is sounding meaner than mean can sound, rumbling away. We walk up, this one guy asked dad.
“What kind a truck is this?”
Dad smartly says, “You must be from the back hills can’t you see it’s a MACK.” We got in and drove off laughing our fool heads off. I could not believe dad did that.
Well low and behold the next place we stop for lunch sure enough here is one of those same fellows and of course he is pointing this out to some others and we over heard the conversation in the restaurant. It is a test pickup that Mack truck is planning to put on the market for the small business people and blah blah blah. Well I had heard about enough of this guy’s bull shit and was about ready to put an end to his line. Out of no where this man in a suite came up to him, tapped him on the shoulder and he asked him who he was. I’m thinking hum; I best wait a minute. Dad and I stood there listening to this suited guy question the jerk.
He asked, “is that your truck sitting out there?”
The jerk said, “no it is not. He did not know anything about it.”
Well the man said, “your lucky day, because if you did own that truck, and was making the misrepresentation that I heard you make, it could have cost you a heap of money.”
The jerk asked, “why?”
Well I just happen to be a Mack Truck Inc. Attorney. You are definitely misrepresenting the company.”
The Guy asked, “what about the guy who has the stuff on the truck.”
He said, “great advertising isn’t it. I have not heard him say one word about it not being what it really is.”
With that he turned to me and winked, walked off.
Dad and I walked off laughing. I still don’t know if in fact that suited guy was in fact an attorney or not for Mack, but whoever he was I have to thank him for putting that jerk in his place.