Written at our kitchen table in Lyndell, Pennsylvania
“When you’re down is when you get the ultimate sense of justice. That’s the kind of thing I always enjoyed about driving a truck. You’d be workin’ around people that really knew what they were doing’.”
Jim stored stories in his head about all the characters he met along the way and when it was time, he wrote songs about them that were just about two and a half minutes long. His Haiku poetry, which he read and wrote often, helped him to condense his thoughts into few words. While playing live, just before Jim would sing “Speedball Tucker” and Maury would make the sound of the stock car speeding around the track, Jim would tell this story about his truck drivin’ days.
“This was another part of my character development. I got both my thumbs bent back the other way because y’know they’ve got these big steering wheels, great big things that when you hit a hole while you’re turnin’ the wheel, your thumb is going to be taped up for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. So, anytime you see these guys drivin’ these big rigs, they’ve always got their thumbs taped up. And they’re pretty happy, too, because on the long hauls you have to get into tryin’ to stay awake a little longer, to make the haul profitable. And so you can get stuff there on time.
So, the truckers, a lot of these guys go into these truck stops which are like pharmacies on the road. Ya stop there to get all those things that the guy in the commercial tries to sell to the kids in the school yard. I’ve met a couple of guys that have had maybe six or seven thousand ‘West Coast Turn-Arounds’ under their seat in a brown paper sack. Now I don’t take ’em… I just like having them around, in case Ineed ’em.”