Friday, October 5, 2007

Garbage is as garbage does

You’ve probably all heard the phrase, “Don’t mess with Texas!” and I’d bet you figured it was some tight-jeaned, high-heel-booted cowpokey country singer who coined the saying. It wasn’t – it was originally part of an anti-litter campaign. It caught on and has become something of a rallying cry for the state – although it’s open to debate whether it helped clean up the roadsides.

My adopted home state of Tennessee had an award-winning, if ultimately not very successful, campaign called Tennessee Trash. One ad showed a slobby-looking guy toodling down the highway in a droptop beater, merrily tossing out bags, cups, and other debris. It hasn’t run for years, but probably wouldn’t put much of a dent in the mounds of trash DUI prisoner workgangs pick up every day.

Yesterday, a colleague came to me to report seeing a driver in a nice big rig toss a big bag of breakfast trash out his window. She couldn’t get close enough to get the truck number, but I had to immediately wonder – was that an OOIDA member littering MY state?

I also wondered how many other people saw that and thought, “just like a trucker.” I hoped that another driver might’ve seen that and admonished the perp on the CB – I’d have been using words once rarely heard on Channel 19 had it been me behind him, and I would by golly have followed long enough to get the truck number and drop the dime.

As my spiritual mentor Forrest Gump might say, “Garbage is as garbage does.”

People, people, people – you are the elite of trucking. The folks with the brains, the gumption, the desire … the pride, to own your own business. To hold yourselves and those who drive with you to a higher standard. I’m not taking you to task over the actions of this louse, but I am asking you to be vigilant – when you see or hear someone living down to the stereotype many people have of truckers, tell them to straighten up.