Totin’ that ol’ ball (hitch) and chain


Are you a simple common citizen who would like to be famous? Win a large cash award? Be an international celebrity and an idol to millions? Me, too. You might think I am suggesting you get featured on a television dance show or perhaps display your awesome talent of balancing a bucket on your nose. No. Both those endeavors take too much work and incredibly toned thighs and/or neck. What I propose instead is that you win the Nobel Peace Prize.

“What????” you might reply. “How could a simple common bucket-balancing citizen like myself win the Nobel Peace Prize?” Well, I’ll tell you how. All you have to do is invent universal hand signals for a married couple who are trying to back a vehicle up and hook it to the ball hitch of a large travel trailer.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that gets a family vacation off to a rousing start than hooking the trailer to the towing vehicle. For brevity’s sake, the towing vehicle will be referred to as a truck because, if you haven’t noticed, all travel trailers sold today are only slightly smaller than the Trump Tower (but have more fake chrome) and it takes a whopping big truck to pull them.

Before you scoff at my gross materialism and point out that there are perfectly nice miniature-sized trailers in which each occupant is allotted 12 square inches, let me say two words. Murder/suicide. When you are spending your vacation in a thin-walled aluminum box with sagging particle-board floors and the ever-present danger of a propane gas explosion, the first requirement is a little space. The second requirement is about four gallons of vodka and that’s just for the kids.

Ha, ha. That is a little vacation humor. Humor is important on vacation because never in the history of matrimony have like-minded people set out on a road trip together. Inevitably one person will want to travel that ol’ lonesome highway, dawdling through every small town on the map to absorb some of that wonderful rural charm. The other person will want to drive at Mach 0.8, never stopping for meals or bathroom breaks which, let’s face it, are intrinsically related. This second person is investigating the feasibility of a nuclear powered truck to eliminate fuel stops. I am not pointing any fingers here but the minute someone says, “Let’s get off this Interstate and drive on the smaller country roads,” I know that four gallons of vodka isn’t going to be enough.

But before this hypothetical couple hits the road they must, you recall, hook the trailer up to the truck hitch. In this egalitarian equal rights world of 2018, backing up the truck is clearly man’s work. That leaves standing behind the truck to line everything up as woman’s work. Like most traditional woman’s work, standing behind a truck driven by an increasingly frustrated man-person is a lousy job. Some day I am going to get a big government grant to study how many times the backer-upper just snapped and ran over the liner-upper.

Under the guise of safety, I stand over to the side. We all know this is just to remove what must be almost overwhelming temptation to off me after we have been in action for about 15 minutes.

In his defense, it must be said that I work with an excellent backer-upper. He deserves better help. I am unfortunately not very good at predicting where the ball of the hitch is going to end up until it is one millimeter away from the trailer. Then I make encouraging statements such as, “Move the butt of the truck one-inch to the right.” Yes, I use a sentence that includes the phrase “butt of the truck.” You can see how this is not conducive to marital bliss. You can also see why there is such a pressing need for universal hand signals.

Truly it is not all my fault. Getting the side to side part is just half the battle. I have to get the front to back part right, too, and I for one would like to know why sometimes the truck rolls forward after it stops and sometimes it doesn’t. Calculating the roll-forward distance is vital for an accurate trailer tongue/ball hitch meeting.

Luckily, just like a toothache, the ordeal of hooking up the trailer eventually passes and we are off to explore America. But, due to the lack of yellow cake uranium, first we have to stop for gas.
Totin’ that ol’ ball (hitch) and chain

By Marla Boone

Contributing columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.

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