“Mirror, Mirror On The Wall”

Roger Clark
May 2022

Trucking down southwest Missouri highway 59, it’s a very scenic drive. And very narrow, in places. As I passed a northbound reefer, we actually touched mirrors with a resounding clack.

“Are you okay?”, he quickly hollered on the CB.

“I’m okay!”, I hollered back, and continued without slowing down.

Some weeks later, attending the monthly drivers’ meeting, I mentioned this non-incident to a senior vice president.

“You should have reported it,” he said seriously, “because there could have been more damage than you could see at the time.”

I confidently assured him there was no additional damage, at which point there was no further action or discussion.

Three weeks later, approaching Toledo from the south on I-75, it was just past dusk when the entire mirror assembly spun off the truck, left dangling against the driver door by a single bolt. Directly and carefully, I paid cash to a Stoney Ridge truckstop for remounting the mirror without calling the company.

A couple years later, I was in Toronto with a newly-minted student driver. I told him to back into the loading dock while I opened the trailer doors. Unfortunately, he did exactly as instructed, and I had to scramble out of the way before getting run over. 

Thoroughly flustered by my own stupidity, I tried to get his attention by throwing a flashlight against the side of the truck. The idea was good. The result was disastrous, when my ten-dollar missile ricocheted into the passenger’s mirror. Glass flew everywhere, and I can still hear that sound thirty years later.

 Another sound we never forget is the trailer dropping to the ground behind us. Like most old timers, I’m convinced you’re not a proven driver till a fully loaded wagon slides off the 5th wheel. It was my turn on the east coast, when it happened, and the emergency air line whiplashed into the driver’s mirror with catastrophic consequences. 

It was Aristotle, as you know, who discovered secrets of the universe. Plato founded philosophy, and Newton discovered gravity. But me, I learned a few things too along the way, including what it takes to reverse that gravity, while standing on broken glass, cranking on a 2-speed landing gear, trying to manually raise 40,000 pounds off the pavement.  If that ain’t experience, then I don’t know what is!

 More recently, one of our drivers smashed the right front fender mirror on a brand-new Kenworth. It’s okay, though. I use that mirror just to comb my hair, but the company insisted on replacing it anyway. The truck was out of service for a week, and repairs cost $358, but it came back with a brand-new hairbrush. 

Yet there’s another kind of experience out here, and perhaps a different kind of mirror. I don’t know where Slippery Rock is. I don’t even recall where Pennsylvania is, anymore, but this month marks my 5-year anniversary writing for one of the best-known publications in our industry. It’s been an unbelievable privilege, sharing stories with the Movin’ Out family, and I haven’t been this encouraged since being shot at, and missed.

 Successful truckers have a universal code, and it’s really pretty simple. We never go where we’re not wanted. We never stay where we’re not welcome. Here at Movin’ Out I get to tell stories that are true, or could be true, right between Mike McGough’s wisdom, Pam Pollock’s stream of consciousness, and Steve Pollock’s incredible photographs. If I ever make the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, (my wife remains optimistic…) I am definitely gonna have him take my picture!