I recently had the opportunity to speak with my nephew’s 7th grade careers class about what I do for a living. It was something I had never done before. And yet leading up to it I wasn’t nearly as terrified as I should have been. Probably because I spent the morning running around with my own kids and didn’t have time to think about it.
But it was an interesting experience, telling them about the trucking industry and about my career in journalism. They had lots of questions for me. One kid asked how I got over the stage fright of speaking in front of so many people. I said, “You mean like me standing up here in front of you guys?”
He meant on the radio, of course. And the truth is I was nervous at first, but you get used to it after awhile. One of the tricks I told them was that I don’t think about speaking to the thousands of people listening to Land Line Now. Instead I think of just one driver in the cab of a truck and pretend I am speaking to only that one person.
They were very curious about what I do. What kind of skills does it take? What kind of an education do you need? What is the recording studio like? What’s your favorite part of the job?
That last question I didn’t even have to think about. My favorite part of the job is the people I get to meet. From a 7-foot, kilt-wearing, bike-riding trucker who testifies before Congress to a trucker who spent months trying to earn the trust of a stray dog so that he could give that dog a loving home, I have met some of the most interesting people in the world at this job.
I’ve met a guy who hauls classic cars for a living, and another one who was born in Cuba but came to drive truck in America. I’ve met drivers who were former police officers and teachers and every other walk of life. I’ve met a woman who has organized a convoy to raise money for breast cancer research and a guy who races drag cars with his son when he’s not out on the road.
I’ve seen drivers give the last five bucks they had to help a young boy who was stricken with cancer, and still others dig deep in the midst of a recession to raise money for troops overseas. More money than I even thought possible.
So, yeah, when I get in front of the mic, I think about those who are out there behind the wheel. And it’s not so scary when you know who they really are.