By my estimations, I am a full 75% more a man this week than I was the last time I addressed you in this space. 

We’re talking big league machismo. I’m pretty sure that simply by thinking real hard, I could grow a mustache on the spot — and not some weenie, your-real-teacher-is-out-sick-today kind of mustache, either. I’m talking about a thick, lush, glorious handlebar stash like all the great gunslingers sported back in the age of duels in the street and daytime saloon drinking. 

I’m fairly certain that I can bench press more, eat bigger steaks and fix even major engine problems simply by dousing it with the abundant testosterone oozing out of my every pore. 

We shall pause here as you swoon and fan yourself over that delightful image. 

How did I become this paragon of manliness seemingly overnight? Have I been taking a bold new supplement? Extra pilates in the morning? Tae Bo with Billy Blanks? 

No, girly man. All I had to do to become this physical specimen, fit for a poster your kid sister will want to hang on her bedroom wall, is to get a new truck. 

A BIG truck. A lumbering beast with a fearsome snout, earth-mashing tires and a bulky frame that thrums with the V-8 power within. A truck that the manufacturers call THE TITAN because they’d be lying if they called it anything else. 

The truck is gigantic and it’s got a ladder rack, which pushes me to levels of virility too high to be measured with modern equipment. 

And I didn’t even have to spend a lot for this ultimate male-enhancing package. I bought THE TITAN used, with no regard at all for the rattle around the exhaust or the fact that it has enough miles on it to make me suspect it’s been driven to the outer rings of Saturn a couple of times. 

Because as we all know, it isn’t the condition of the vehicle that turns pipsqueaks into men. It isn’t things like safety features, air bag positioning or (snicker) fuel economy that makes the man. 

It’s size. SIZE, I tells you! And I know that THE TITAN has already transformed me into the hulking menace you see staring out from your sister’s wall because everybody who beholds the truck comments at once on its bulk. 

“Wow,” said a lady in the Hannaford parking lot. “That’s a big truck.” 

“Huge,” said another. 

And at once, I found myself strutting into the store with a fresh new swagger as though these fine ladies had made comments about my physical attributes rather than those of my truck. That’s how it works, I’ve come to understand. A man is what he drives after all, and all my life, I’ve been limiting myself, manliness-wise, by driving wee things like that puny Subaru Justy, the diminutive Geo Sportage and a sissy little Chevy Vega, for crying out loud. Now I understand why all you people have been pointing at me and giggling behind your hands whenever I passed. 

But no more of that, you hear? I am fearsome and imposing now because I drive this sun-blocking truck with 305 furiously galloping stallions beneath its hood. The truck is yuge, and by the transitive property, that makes me yuge, as well. Not to mention taller, more handsome and probably smarter. 

So, this weekend I took THE TITAN for a manliness-affirming ride out of town where I could point and laugh at wimps in smaller trucks. 

I went to Lowe’s in Augusta to buy a chop saw with which to shave (that’s how we in the testosterone guild do it. You wouldn’t understand,) but when I returned to the parking lot, there was a problem: the key used to unlock THE TITAN’S doors would not work. I turned the key this way, that way and then the other way, but nope. The locks would not pop open, and without the ability to enter the truck, I feared for my ability to maintain such sky-scraping levels of masculinity. 

I went back into the store to search for a key expert, and what I got was a young lady named Janet who worked in the tool section and who, as it happens, knows quite a lot about keys and locks. 

Janet walked me out to the parking lot, tenderly inserted the key into the Titan’s lock and twisted it just so. 


The locks obediently popped open, and I mean just like that. It was as though all the rods, pulleys and electronic connections inside the door were afraid of the lady and dared not defy her. 

The helpful lass then locked the doors again so she could demonstrate exactly how the key must be used to open the doors. CLICK. And CLICK and CLICK and CLICK. 

Lock problem? What lock problem? 

“It could happen to anyone,” Janet said reassuringly before handing the keys back. 

But it was too late. A sad silence had descended on the parking lot and you could see all my newfound testosterone floating away like discarded napkins in the wind. I turned to the ladder racks for help, but they wouldn’t even look at me. Somewhere across the lot, an old woman cackled. In a town miles away, your little sister began peeling that poster off her wall. 

The Titan is a monster of a rig, all right, but after the fiasco at Lowe’s, I think I’ll need to face the hard truth. 

I’m going to need a bigger truck.

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