Monday, August 08, 2005

Ed The Toothless Trucker.

"Youse Vavoom? Yeah, I'm comin' ta' pick youse up at 10:00 AM. Sharp."

"Here goes. The move is on," I thought to myself. We had been packing at a feverish pace, hoping that we'd finish in time. When the 18 wheeler arrived, a total of three men hopped out. One fellow had the physical stature of Butterbean. The other was a fast wirey guy. Those were our loaders, I figured. An old man gingerly stepped out of the drivers seat. It was Ed the toothless trucker.

"Vavoom, right? I'm Ed. Let's get your stuffs moved."

As he spoke, I noticed his front teeth had been worn down to black nubs that protruded from his bright red swollen gums. The nearest full tooth had a strange greenish hue that still makes me ill upon every revised consideration. The rest had large black stains on them.

The loaders loaded and Ed and I chatted. He told me all about his reckless childhood and how he was a real hellraiser. I kept thinking to myself, "I can't believe we're entrusting this man with all of our things." We started talking about life on the road, "Say, youse wanna see the inside of my big rigs," Ed asked. "Sure. Why not," I responded.

As I climbed into Ed's humble abode, I noticed a milk jug half filled with a frothy yellow liquid. "This is a bad idea," I thought. We sat in the rig for about half an hour. Ed told me about his service in Vietnam, how things had changed when he returned. He was a P.O.W. and experienced the worst prison camp had to offer. "How'd you get into the military," I asked. "Well, the judge says to me, he says, 'Youse gots two choices -- 30 years in prison or da military.' So I says, I says, I'm goin' military. There I was, Vietnam." "Don't do it, Vavoom. Don't ask him what he did to potentially get 30 years," I kept thinking.

"So... What'd you do to deserve 30 years in prison, Ed?"
"92 counts of whaddya call it... aggravated assault wit da' intent ta' kill. I was real young. Long time ago, that was."

A silenced swept through the cab of his 18 wheeler. "My God," I thought. Suddenly, Ed erupted, "Hey, youse like vitamins?" "Uhh... well... I just..." "Here try this," he said as he poured some goopy orange syrup into the cap of a bottle with a name like "Truckers Delight." "C'mon, takes it. What, youse too good for my vitamins?" I kept thinking about his teeth. Clearly I wouldn't drink any elixir that could've contributed to Ed's failing dental health. "Oh, I never take vitamins. I hate them. Really, I hate them. Ask my wife, she'll tell you," I reasoned. "Your loss. C'mon boy, come here." A mangy dog sprung out of the back of Ed's cab and started furiously licking up the "Truckers Delight" out of the cap Ed offered. As the dog lapped up the orange liquid, Ed said, "Wives. My first wife became a, whaddya call 'em, quadrapalegic on a count of a swimmin' accident. I racked up $500,000 dollars in medical bills tryin' ta' save her life." "Man, you must have declared bankruptcy from all of it," I responded. "Nope. Just finished payin' it off. She deserved all ofs it. I was a youngun and I was all broken ups when I learned that it wasn't gonna work. She died. I promised myself I'd pays da' bill off, sos I did."

I realized this toothless man was a remarkable guy. From further discussion, I learned that he was a fantastic person, strange, but fantastic. Just from his demeaner, I had thought he was a simpleton, a real nutjob. He served his country, paying a heavy price, turned his life around, and honorably cared for his dying wife. He did a fantastic job for us, hauling our junk across country. We've talked a couple times since he dropped off our things. Ed and I will chat every now and then, while he makes the lonely trip across country, ferrying people's dreams to their final destination. I'm proud to have befriended him and once again I've been reminded not to judge people by their physical appearance.


Blogger RT said...

What a great story! Well worth the wait.

It's true, you can't always judge a book by it's cover, for better or for worse. To do so is to miss out on some precious things. (Although, I suspect you knew that well before this post, Vavoom ;o) )

I have to agree with you on the vitamins. I wouldn't have touch them either, no matter how much I liked the person offering them. I'll let things touch my mind that I would never let touch my body... Doggie slobbers being one of them.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya, books are rarely like their cover.


11:40 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

wow, you meet so many interesting people and once again you restore my faith in humanity with your stories.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

What a wonderful story. Ed sounds like a real character.
Glad to hear that the move went well and not one item went missing!

1:36 PM  
Blogger A Fashionista said...

Great anecdote Vavoom. But I stills wanna hears about yer wicked apartment.
Oh shit, now I'm talking like Ed.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

"...ferrying people's dreams to their final destination." Wow - what a great line. It's sooo true.

Many times, the drivers also own their rigs. If Ed did, that would make him a person with some pretty decent business acumen, too.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

It's not the destination, it's the journey, and it sounds like he's been on a quite a journey.

7:49 PM  
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8:31 PM  
Blogger LoraLoo said...

Vavoom... fantastic story. It was well worth the wait.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Meow said...

The vitamins story made me want to hurl. He must have mixed a crude batch of some ancient Creole voo doo energy elixer. EEEWWW!
Also anytime someone starts the sentence off with, "You think you're too good for....." puts me off. Cuz they're trying to guilt you into something and I don't like them any more. Little bit bossy isn't it? I don't like pushy, agressive, arrogant people who can't take no for an answer. I would have been diplomatic like you tho and said, "No thanks. They make me vomit". No one likes a puker. LOL

7:13 AM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I was sure that at the end of it you decided to try his Trucker's Delight vitamins. Upon first description (you mentioned the yellowish-filled milk jug), I swore you were going to say that he used that when he had to go but couldn't stop.

It's a great story and I'm thankful you took the time to share it.

6:24 PM  

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