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So let me tell you about Jason:

Jason is 28 years old and is a resident of a small town in southern Illinois.  I made mention that he is somewhat daft.  I'm beginning to discover that he is like an iceberg; the depth of his unfortunate ignorance I haven't even begun to fathom.  In a way it's kind of sad, not to mention scary, that he has been able to survive this long with such a fundamental lack of understanding.  Whereas Roger was just crazy, with boneheaded ideas about how the world worked, Jason is more like a child; he hasn't even formulated an idea about how the world works.  He has an innocence and naivete that is due in part to his backward, insulated upbringing in Po-Dunk, Illinois but is owed primarily to what appears to be a general mental deficit.  I grew up in Po-dunk, Kentucky, afterall; being from the sticks doesn't necessarily equate ignorance.  So it's not just that Jason is uneducated or unrefined, he is unintelligent.  I'm not saying these things to mean, because, I actually like Jason.  He's a nice, easy-going and considerate person.  Imagine a real-life Forrest Gump.  Even his speech patterns are reminiscent of Forrest, although not as heavily affected as the one chosen by Mr. Hanks in the film.

On the one hand, as his trainer, it's frustrating.  I'm finding out I have to dumb everything down to a very basic level so that he can understand it.  I think I will be able to show him the mechanics of this profession; the physical act of driving a truck.  You remember these guys in high school.  We smarter kids might've been smug about the curricula of shop-class, but goddamnit they could build an awesome birdhouse.  It's the mental aspects of this profession I'm worried about him grasping: the use of the Qualcomm satellite, route planning and map reading, etc.  Of particular concern is the fact that he has almost no experience driving on the interstate highway system.  He has no former knowledge of basic things like how to read exits signs (exit only, A-B exits, etc), mile markers, or highway designations (I-70, U.S. 27, S.R. 37).

On the other hand, being with Jason is going to be like an adventure all in itself.  His wide-eyed, child-like interaction with his environment makes for unusual conversations that one doesn't typically have with an adult.  I imagine this won't seem so novel after a while, but for the moment it's providing countless hours of entertainment.  So for the next 2 months, my entries will likely be filled with what I call JasonismsTM.  These will be the direct quotes from my resident man-child.  The Jasonisms below, are just from today.


"Do all these exits go into towns?"

"I used to be good at algebra and then they changed it and had some tests like SAT's. You know, algebra? Equations and algebraic numbers."

[Driving on I-70] "Is this a superhighway?  I saw on the Discovery channel about these super highways that go into certain places to help them out."

"Do they have the same things on TV here that they do in southern Illinois?"

Me: "The truck speed limit in Ohio is 55mph."
Jason: "We're in Ohio?"
[I should add he drove us into the state and we had been parked at a truckstop about ten miles from the Indiana state line for about 5 hours while I took a nap.  About 30 minutes later, remarking on an interstate exit sign]
Jason: "Is that Springfiled, Illinois?"
[During the writing of this, I've discovered that Jason doesn't understand that we recycle city names in this country, so whenever he sees a sign with the name of a familiar U.S. city, it goes something like this:]
[In Ohio]
Jason: "Does that mean Baltimore, Maryland?"
Me: "Does what mean Baltimore, Maryland?"
Jason: "That sign back there.
Me: "I doubt it."
[Still in Ohio, 10 minutes later]
Jason: "There's a Newark in New Jersey, right?"
Me: "Yes."
Jason: "Is that Newark, New Jersey?"
Me: "That's Newark, Ohio."

[After being passed by a garbage truck] "This guy named David Briggs used to drive a garbage truck"
[Blah blah blah, I kinda tuned him out for a few seconds] "Do you know David Briggs?  He's on the city council."
[This is actually a regular occurence, his asking me if I know someone who drives a truck.  Even after I have explained to him that there are somewhere around 3 million trucks on America's highways]

[I mentioned earlier to Jason that he would drive over a couple of mountains this evening as we entered West Virginia.  Between Columbus and Zanesville, OH there is a stretch of straight highway with considerable hills.  As he is driving through this:]
Jason: "Is this a mountain?"
Me: "No."
Jason: "You said we would be driving through some mountains..."
Me: "Yes you will, closer to West Virginia."
Jason: "Is that part of the Adrionic Island mountains?"
Me: "Huh?"
Jason: "The Adrionic Mountains, part of a New York chain of mountains."
Me: "I think you mean the Adirondac Mountains."
Jason: "Oh."
Me: "The Adirondacs are in New York... they're part of a larger chain of mountains called the Appalachian Mountains."

[After driving through the western suburbs; after driving through downtown Columbus with its fantastic skyline; and after driving through the eastern suburbs back into the pitch-black night of rural Ohio; in all a 45 minute urban-highway drive with multiple lanes, twisting ramps, and thick traffic.  After all of this
"Are we in Columbus yet?"

I can't make this shit up, people.

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i was afraid to meet roger, but next time you come through i WANT to meet jason.
this makes me laugh and laugh.
"do you know him? he's on the city council."

he sounds dumb and trainable. I want to meet him as well :)

I'll be in KC very early in the morning on Monday... so won't be able to visit with you then... but, I'm sure with as much as I got to Colorado these days (where I'm heading next week) I'm sure you'll have the opportunity...

we'll hafta go eat "steak and shrimp"... this boy's all about steak and shrimp... always wanting to eat steak and shrimp... if we go some place where he can get steak and shrimp, i'm sure he'll want to tag along, so he can eat steak and shrimp...


Wow, just...wow. I think that's all I can say really.
I really wish I had the patience to understand people like this better. I've had the great fortune of moving around quite a bit while growing up (though most of it was in the deep South). My parents also both knew the importance of learning about other cultures, even within the country. A lot of the stuff he comments on seems like common sense to me...

yeah, they seem like common sense to me, too... when it became apparent that he didn't even know what a MILE MARKER was, I had to pick my jaw up out of my lap

Hahahaha. Keep that positive attitude or else Jason will end up abandoned on the side of the road somehwere. I find when I do training, I have infinate patience for people like him because they try, they just can't help themselves. Please keep the quotes coming.

I developed really good patience with people managing restaurants, but I don't think I've encountered someone quite this lacking in basic sense... Thankfully all of those years managing restaurants also primed with a sense of professionalism... I've managed, so far, to keep a cool, calm approach toward his inane questions... but we'll see how long that holds :)

another voice calling for daily postings. this shiz is amazetacular.

yanno, I occasionally send links of your training experiences to Fuji and his dad, just for giggles. The last one was about the cloverleaf and Bob. Jason will be a common sight, I'm sure.

Good luck. I can't believe there's a guy who has never driven on an interstate training to be a trucker.

To his credit, he claims he drove to Chicago once (I would assume this was on I-57)... but I'm thinking this must be the only time...

10/10. I eagerly await further installments.

I think you've got the makings of a best seller here, soopageek!

hmm. the funniest thing about this entry was your reference to Columbus' "fantastic skyline". I'm just going to hope it was sarcasm.

It wasn't sarcasm, Columbus does have a rather nice skyline... it's a bit nicer coming from the east than from the west... but all the same it's better than say... Dayton's... :)

although the best Ohio skyline is still cincinnati when crossing the river from Kentucky IMHO

I totally agree on the Columbus/Cincinnati note.

I can't believe you didn't try to hunt me down on your way through here. Or at least mention to me that you were going to be passing through so I could ignore your hinting and feel superior about myself. I'm obviously not coming on to you nearly enough.

Alas, there was no time for tom-foolery... and even if there was, I am so behind in hanging out with spleazeball that I would have to snub you.

Especially since the opinions of some dumb roommate negated the last attempted meet-up betwixt you and I. ;-)

mwahaha i am teh WINNAR

Sounds scary. What made this guy ever want to drive a truck anyway?
Just curious.

I think he got tired of the $13/hr factor jobs he was working. I don't blame him. But he may not have the necessary faculties to do this job. That reminas to be seen.

these are PRICELESS.
please continue to keep us updated.
wow. i mean. wtf. why is he interested in trucking? you think he'd wanna stay in southern illinois (which is now synonymous with hicksville imho)

i hate that game but love your icon. also the larry kleist one. because raping is another game of mine.

can you freshen me up?

heh, i know I'D want to be anywhere other than southern Illinois... and people call us kentuckians hicks....

hey, just on the off chance, do you know Kevin?.
he drives a blue truck. I think he was in the states
seriously though, if you see kevin tell him I want
my 10 bucks back


I saw him today in West Virginia... he said "Yo momma!" when I asked him about the ten bucks...

looks like you'll be going back to cathartic screaming, my friend

and no solitary place to do it :(

The more that you talk about Jason, the more I am reminded
of my husband's best friend, Craig.

This whole post expained Craig, to a "T".

And I think this is why I like him as much as I do. It's
like I'm experiancing things new, just like he does.

This entry really made me smile.

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