Trucks at Work

Optimus Prime Trucker

OK, let's get this out of the way first: I am a hardcore sci-fi junkie. I've got an office filled with Star Trek and Star Wars tchotchkes (that's Yiddish for 'trinkets' and basically worthless stuff, just in case you are ever teleported to the planet Trivial Pursuit) along with all kinds of dog-eared science fiction novels on my bookshelves.

That being said, I want to leave you with a brief thought about the Spielberg blockbuster movie 'Transformers' due to reach theatres this summer on July 4. The hero of this movie -- the leader of the 'good robots' known as 'Autobots' -- is named Optimus Prime. I grew up watching him in a million different schlocky animated TV shows, and one thing always stuck in my mind about him: he's a truck.

Originally a cabover tractor, Optimus is now going to be portrayed on the big screen as a twin-stack conventional Class 8 -- when he is not in robot form kicking butt and saving the universe, that is.

So, why is this even remotely interesting to the trucking community? I say it again: he is the HERO and the LEADER of the good guys. You don't see those two words associated with the image of trucks anywhere in the mainstream media today, much less in the movies. I've used this space to comment on this before -- largely in reference to the 30 year anniversary of 'Smokey & The Bandit' and the negative aftertaste it left with this industry in its wake.

So now we're going to have a gigantic, intergalactic movie hero that's going to spend part of his time in the shape of a Class 8 rig -- and, knowing Spielberg, this rig is going to look good, too. It's a positive trucking nod that's rare these days -- and I'll be in the front row July 4, giant popcorn bucket at my side, to see if it hopefully plays out that way on the big screen.