Inside a trucker’s tortured psyche

October 7, 2010  | by: Lucinda Coulter


View a larger version of The Trucker’s Brain

Overdrive’s February 1964 unattributed line drawing, “The Trucker’s Brain,” depicts as surreal a landscape as any by Spanish Catalan painter Salvador Dali. The style is also reminiscent of Mad magazine, popular in the 1960s, and the face peeking out of the cab (8) appears to be Mad’s signature character, Alfred E. Neuman.


The tiny owl perched on the bridge of the trucker’s nose (4), women’s hose on a clothesline (1) and the bucket collecting oil (21) lampoon conditions that still vex drivers – sleep deprivation, home sickness and high fuel costs. The calendar hung on the moon (22) was a reminder to truckers to renew their magazine subscription.

The helmet-clad ants in the motorcycle convoy could have been inspired by some of those late-night bennies (19) the legend mentions. Please drop Overdrive a line if you have an idea of who those ants represent or if you want to add missing parts in the trucker’s psyche as listed in the legend to the 22 features in the drawing:

(1) Dreams of the missus

(2) Bunk-and-shower-equipped truck stop finding section

(3) Radar trap finding section

(4) Sleep and nap-rewinding alarm lobe

(5) Night vision section

(6) Day vision section

(7) Brakes, inspection & checking section

(8) Optimistic outlook control and memory section

(9) A babe in every cab (dreams of glory)

(10) Perfect quality roads, year round, everywhere (dreams of glory)

(11) Automatic, robot pad folding and stacking department — robot is also able to hump pianos up two flights of stairs

(12) ITA membership dues-paying reminder section

(13) Deadheading memories (old and new)

(14) Storage section for special oaths, invectives, curses for hurling against (a) all kinds of bad road and driving conditions, (b) all kinds of stupid highway laws, (c) Pennsylvania TPK, tolls (d) anything and everything, always

(15) Special swamper language (grunts, groans) section — translation and communications section

(16) Tire inspection

(17) Pessimistic outlook control and memory section (usually much larger in size and more powerfully active than section 8 — remember?)

(18) Memories of those two babes (seen only once . . . But!) seen at 9:14 p.m., October 24, 1958 at Glotzo’s Truck Stop, Gruntville, Illinois

(19) Sleep and nap control section (snaps into action the instant caffeine and bennies lose their powers)

(20) Unlimited trailer length and weight laws in all states, Canada, Mexico, etc. (dreams of glory section)

(21) Tax-free gas, diesel, oil, tires, etc. (dreams of glory section)

(22) Overdrive subscription renewal section

NOTE WITH ORIGINAL LEGEND: (The corresponding numbers generally run clockwise, but are not in any more of a state of disorganization than are most truckers’ brains. Ant hill and creatures coming from it are self-explanatory.)

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