When I was a kid, nothing was funnier than “The Three Stooges.” Even today, all I have to hear is “Nyuk! Nyuk!” and I’m grinning. I lived for the moments when they lined up - Moe, Larry and Curly - and the slapping, eye-poking and noggin-knockin’ would start.
Somewhere along the line, though, I realized “The Stooges” had something profound to say about life - there are a lot of Curlys, they’re always the ones who get popped last, and they almost never have anybody else to lay some smack on.
Let’s see a show of hands - who’s felt like Curly lately? Don’t be shy - raise that arm or I’ll moider ya. OK, put your hands down and rub your eyes - it makes them feel better after they’ve been poked.
You’re not alone: A lot of truckers - owner-operators and company drivers - are feeling like Curly today.
Diesel shattered all records this summer. Your carrier or some broker may get smacked, too, but they’re grabbing the surcharges and passing on the hurt until it reaches … you. And there ain’t nobody there for you to pass the hurt on to.
Wake up and go to sleep!’
The FMCSA issued final hours- of-service rule. No customized split-sleeper break. One size fits all, sit down, shut up and keep going, or oops, hunker in the bunk. I don’t know about you, but the last time I slept for eight hours, I had the flu and a temperature of 102. And, I have never enjoyed working every waking moment.
‘I’m a victim of soicumstance!’
That weigh station inspector must have been bored or behind on quota because she had no other reason to run a Level I inspection on you.
OK, I’ve had enough of these knuckleheads. I’m declaring a National “I’m Moe, You’re Curly Day” when all those Moe-rons we deal with move down the line and we Curlys have someone to pass the slap to.
‘Why I oughta …’
A few owner-operators arguing over how much surcharge they get won’t accomplish much. But if hundreds or thousands do it every day, every load? It might get their attention. And here’s another thought - as the price of diesel goes up, those “free” showers at truck stops are worth less and less. Let’s see those “travelplazacenters” throw in some more incentives for your dollars, like free coffee and donuts or heck, a discount on a meal. If they don’t, give your business to small business.
‘Oh, a wise guy, eh?’
The HOS rules were created to prevent ruthless companies from exploiting truckers’ time - which is another way of saying our highways are paved with good intentions. There must be at least half a dozen ways for companies to weasel on this latest attempt, and the only way to pop that weasel is, strangely enough, to run absolutely compliant. If you don’t respect your time, health and safety, no one else will either.
‘What’s the big idea?!’
On National IMYC Day, it’s your turn to show up unannounced at your favorite inspector’s home and look through their garage, home office, bedroom, kitchen and so on. I’m sure their bills are all paid and paperwork filed neatly, tires properly inflated and vehicle recently inspected.
Oh, and they can account for everything they’ve done for the past eight days. In writing.
Ideally, National IMYC Day would be sometime during Trucker Appreciation Week. I’m sure the ATA would go along with it, aren’t you? Soitenly!
Bill Hudgins may be reached at email@example.com.