The announcer, from one of the big national networks, was reporting on President Obama’s Tuesday announcement of new federal automobile fuel-efficiency standards. The announcerÂ predicted that the proposed increase inÂ minimum mileage per gallon from its currentÂ 27.5 mpgÂ to 35.5 mpg would “make pickup trucks so expensive they wouldÂ usedÂ strictly for work, and not for macho status symbols.”
Macho status symbols? Macho status symbols?!
To hoity-toity types who sip martinis at Beltway cocktail parties, that might beÂ the perception. To those of us in flyover country, it’s anÂ out-and-outÂ insult.
Call the average home handyman’s pickup a “macho status symbol” and he’ll show you the retaining wall he built, stone by stone, with rocks hauled in the back of his truck. Call the average deer hunter’s pickup a “macho status symbol” and he’ll open his freezer and show you the venison he hauled home last fall. Call the average camper’s truck a “macho status symbol” and he’ll wonder how the hell else he wouldÂ tow a camping trailer around.
To many of us — no, make that most of us — pickup trucks are tools. Nothing more. They haul our lumber, tow our boats and take us places our passenger cars simply can’t go.
“Macho status symbols.” Harrumph!