Roscoe Bartlett, our local representative in the perplexingly named House of Representatives, is a perfect example of what is wrong with American government as it exists today. It’s not the principles — it’s the people. Instead of representing the interests of the people in Maryland’s 6th district, the congressional career of Roscoe Bartlett has been a fifteen year waste of time. His accomplishments include publicly complaining that too many college scholarships go to students that don’t have “American names,” participating in a 2004 ceremony in which meglomaniacal cult leader and owner of the Washington Times, Sun-Myung Moon, declared himself the Messiah of the World, and voting in favor of drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
But the other day Roscoe finally (as mentioned previously by Rick at Bent Corner) came up with a good idea: moving more shit by train. Sure, it pains me to agree with someone who has made a fortune subverting democracy, but when you’re right, you’re right. Here are a few reasons why trains are not only a more efficient means of moving freight, but also way cooler than trucks.
1. Trains are not only a more efficient means of moving freight, but also way cooler than trucks.
Trains use less fuel and are able to move much bigger loads much faster than trucks, becaues they don’t need to stop nearly as often. Over-the-road truckers are subject to traffic and weather, whereas a train just keeps on chugging down the track. Trains are also way, way cooler than trucks. Need convincing? Keep reading.
2. Railroad employees are better people than truck drivers. I can tell you from personal experience that some of the rudest, most ignorant and least showered human beings on the planet earn their living driving a truck. Working maintenance at a truck stop for five years, I met the occasional trucker who was a decent human being, who could carry on an intelligent conversation, who was charming and polite, who practiced good hygiene, who did not turn and whistle or whoop or go “Damn . . .” every time a woman passed nearby, and who did not treat every square inch of the grounds as his own personal toilet-cum-landfill. For every one of these I was pleased and privileged to meet, there were five guys with their bellies dangling out from beneath their shirts, their pants hanging down past the crack of their asses, who seemed to spend every waking moment complaining about the price of fuel, or the food at our Subway, or the fact that there was no TV room, or “these damn Mexicans,” or “those goddamn queers.”
On the other hand, my experiences with guys who work for the railroad have been far more pleasant. My grandfather worked for the Western Maryland Railroad, and later CSX, for thirty years. When I was little, before he retired, he would take me into the train yard from time to time, and I would visit with the other guys working in dispatch. I was in a phase then where I was fascinated with making photocopies of money. Pap gave me a $50 bill, and one of the other railroad guys helped me make a copy of it on both sides. He folded it into fourths, then did the same thing with a sheet of copy paper, then lined up the folds so that the two-sided copy would be lined up perfectly. The result was a very cool black-and-white counterfeit fifty. Number of times a trucker has helped me make a cool double-sided copy of a fifty: zero.
3. People make way better movies about trains than they do about trucks.
The list of films about truck drivers should fill us all with shame. It is packed with examples of unfunny comedy, lame action, and acting roles for Meat Loaf. I know, Smokey and the Bandit will always have its defenders, but I shall not be among them. Nor will you ever hear me sing the praises of Black Dog or Joy Ride. Trains, on the other hand, have long inspired filmmakers to dizzying creative heights. Look at the list of great films made by Buster Keaton that feature trains: Sherlock Jr., Our Hospitality, his classic short One Week, and his masterpiece The General. Think of all the trains in all those great westerns. Fuck, there was even a train in the last Back to the Future! Tell me you didn’t think it was cool when Doc Brown showed up at the very end with the train time machine. I know the rest of the movie wasn’t always so great, but come on! Is your heart made of fucking stone?!
In conclusion, big diesel trucks are a blight on our nation and should be wiped out, so are truckers and so should they, and trains should once again take over as our primary mode of transporting freight. Let us all look forward to the day when our interstate highways are free of obstructing and dangerous big truck traffic, and we can look to the side and wave at the trains as they steam proudly along on their bright steel tracks, without having to worry about slamming into the back of a trailer at 75 miles an hour because the guy driving the truck in front of us had to slow down to make sure his dick didn’t pop out of the pee jug.