The rules of dunnage

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If you ever see someone wrestling a piece of greasy two-by-four out of the trash, or offering a homeless person twenty bucks for a carpet remnant, or dodging traffic to retrieve bungee cords, you might be watching a flatbedder.

George is back to platform work. He’s been running giant, oddly-shaped and very heavy things back and forth to the new BMW plant in South Carolina. He finally gets to use all his chains and straps again, but he’s also started doing that weird thing platform people do when they see anything that could possibly used for dunnage. They pick it up (or pull it out of the trash) and tell you specifically what piece of equipment or load they will use their new herptaffalupagus-infested dunnage for. They then carefully make a place for their found treasure in the plastic milk crate full of other odds and ends they’ve picked up along the way, while telling you exactly, to the penny, how much money they just saved by not having to buy whatever whatchamacallit or geegaw the piece they just found will take place of.

zip-ties-sealsAm I right, or what?

This is all fairly normal behavior when you’re at the truck stop. Hell, watching someone who says he’s Jesus have a fight with someone who says he’s an alien is fairly normal at the truck stop. We’ve all seen things there that will likely be subject for therapy sessions in the future. But when we’re walking through the parking lot at the grocery store, on home time, and nowhere near the plastic milk crate full of highly diseased things, it’s a little more noticeable.

“Ooooh, look at that two-by-four. It’s in good shape.”

“I think that belongs to someone.”

“Nah, it’s just laying there.”

“Um, it’s part of the Girl Scouts holiday display. I believe there’s a manger nailed to it, if you look a little closer.”

“Really? Hunh. How long till the holidays are over?”

“Seriously? How much does a two-by-four cost? We can go to Lowe’s and get some, right? There’s not a shortage is there?”

“Nah. That’s no fun. You gotta find it.”

I’m confused by this, because it’s the complete opposite of his general attitude about tool and work-related things. He’s the guy who has eleventy-seven socket sets, 42 maps and three different hammers on the truck, just in case. If surviving Armageddon comes down to zip ties, buddy you can bet we’re coming out the other side just fine.

Trucking never ceases to be interesting, I learn new things each and every … Hey, is that a two-by-four? Pull over, I’ll jump out and get it …