Monday, May 01, 2006

Pickup lines

Truck commercials these days are so full of testosterone, after I watch one in my living room, I have to shave the armpit hair out from under our TV’s antennae. A jagged mountain peak off in the distance gives way to the gaping grill of a truck bouncing wildly, driving straight at the screen as the electric guitar kicks in, then the camera zooms out so you can see mud flying in all directions, splattering against Toby Keith, who is ripping a stump out of the ground with his teeth.

Then the voiceover comes on: “The all-new Dodge Seminal Vesicle. You’re lucky it has tires instead of feet, or else it would kick your butt. There’s so much testosterone in this vehicle that it comes with its own pituitary gland, standard. And with twelve cylinders more than you’ll ever need, you can really peel out of the gas station, which works out well, because you’ll be spending a lot of time there.”

My wife Kara and I recently watched a contestant on “Who Still Watches Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” quit because she was stumped on this question: “What type of automobile was the top-seller in the U.S. in 2005?” The choices were SUVs, sedans, pickup trucks and minivans.
“SUVs! SUVs!” we yelled at the screen as the woman dithered and then gave up without answering. “Man, she’s so dumb. It’s SUVs.”

It’s a good thing the lady didn’t use a lifeline to call us. She walked away with $15,000 more than I would have, and after she gave up, the answer was revealed to be the Treaty of Versailles. No wait, it was pickup trucks.

That blows my mind. Sure, there are plenty of people who actually use them for what they’re intended, but there’s just no way that so many people really need pickup trucks. If truck commercials were honest, they’d probably go something more like this:

Guy #1: That thing got a hemi?
Guy #2: You bet it does!
Guy #1: Why on earth would you possibly need one of those? You’re an accountant.
Guy #2: Because truck commercials have so addled my brain that I actually thought getting eleven miles to the gallon was a fair tradeoff for being able to tow my house to work in the morning if I wanted to.
Guy #1: Whatever. Can you help me move this weekend?

And that’s why, as much as a pickup truck may not be the best decision for most people, it is certainly the best decision for most people’s friends. My buddies who have trucks spend at least a weekend per month helping somebody they knew in second grade move to a new apartment.

I hear those same buddies complaining pretty loudly about the recent rise in gas prices. I feel their pain, too, but personally, I think it’s fair to pay more for a product that is clearly superior than what the oil companies were offering us just a few short years ago. If you think back, can you even remember how long it used to take to pump a dollar’s worth of gas? Ages. By the time you spent a dollar, you’d have stood there beside the car like a doofus forever, waiting endlessly for dang near a whole gallon to come out.

With the way the oil companies have improved their services, a dollar’s worth of gas takes about a nanosecond to go through the pump, and I only have to wait for a tiny fraction of a gallon to come out. I appreciate that the oil companies are spending their untold billions in profit to help me get on with my day, which gives me more time to spend with my loved ones. And Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

You can tell Mike Todd where you’d like to park your pickup truck online at


  1. We've got so many hemi's around here it's ridiculous. What we need that much horsepower for is beyond me. Even our riding lawn mower has a hemi in it. lol

    I loved this post!!!

  2. Sheri, living in Maine might automatically make you hard-core enough for however many hemis you've got. Although, someone as hard-core as yourself obviously doesn't need a technicality.

  3. i love mondays. my weekly fix of helpless, pancreas-exploding laughter.

  4. dude... don't talk to me anymore.

    I'm serious...

  5. Jered Earl -- No you're not.

    I agree with you that whether or not you met Britney Spears eight years ago is a very important matter, and not to be taken lightly, especially on the internet where everything is always true.

    OK, OK, I'll burn myself to make it even -- I don't even have a wife. I made Kara up based on a composite of female attributes that I learned from watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  6. I can't believe you tackled this subject without bringing up the obvious "one step further", the Hummer.

  7. Hey MoN -- Nice to hear from you, man. I did wish hemorrhoids upon Hummer owners in a column a month or two back, so I think they're covered for now.