I Didn't Want It, I Needed It!
It's usually about the same time the homeless in the Los Angeles area migrate to the less-arid beaches for lucrative tourism dollars that I feel the need to purchase more Jeeps. Unfortunately, it's also about the time I get my meager but enough-to-buy-a-used-Jeep tax return. Add this to the fact that Tech Editor Christian Hazel will stoke the fire in anyone who's looking to purchase more Jeeps - or vehicles, in general - perhaps only to make himself feel more normal and less like a used-car crack head, even though he knows he is. This was another impulse buy for me. You know, the kind of purchase you simply make on a whim. Just like when your wife or significant other purchases those candy bars and tabloid magazines at the checkout counter, I didn't give it a second thought and I didn't think to shop around. Only instead of the easy-to-carry, have-it-now satisfaction of chocolate and mind-numbing drivel, I ended up with a 13,000-pound truck with a top speed of 55-60 mph that was 1,165 miles away.
It's really probably the only time in my life that I'll actually be able to own an M35A2 2 1/2-ton military truck. Later on, when or if I ever become responsible, I'll have to worry about things like homeowners associations, the opinion of a significant other, and the cost of constantly shrinking kids clothes. But for now I can be stupid and irresponsible because I have plenty of extra space at my house, and I can afford to own a truck like this. No, I deserve to own a truck like this. Anyway, of course, there were deuces for sale closer to home and probably for less money, but this was the first one I found that screamed to me, "I'm the one! Come and take me home!" Because it was nearly 1,200 miles away made it seem like it would be that much more fun to bring home than a deuce from across the street. This is how I think. It doesn't have to make sense.
The M35A2 deuce and a half (deuce) was listed on www.steelsoldiers.com. After receiving several e-mails from the seller, who provided detailed photos and even video of the truck, I agreed to buy it. Mostly because of how meticulous he was about it. Like many of my several-state-away Jeep purchases, I didn't haggle on the price. What ground did I have to stand on? I was willing to travel a total of nearly 2,400 miles there and back just to buy a truck. Asking if he'd take less would make me look and feel like an ass. I even paid $100 extra for the seller to put together an emergency repair kit with spare hoses, a fan belt, basic tools, coolant, oil, and so on.
It took me over three weeks to commit to flying nearly to Canada to pickup my new yard ornament. This was much longer than the three seconds it took to convince Christian to come with me. Not because I'm his boss and he's supposed to do what I say, but because he loves to see me miserable, even if he also has to endure whatever misery it might be. Which, in this case, would essentially be driving an industrial generator over 1,100 miles.
We flew into Seattle, where the owner picked us up. He was a military-looking guy sporting a high-and-tight who worked as a nighttime security guard (the graveyard shift, to be exact). My experiences with 7-Eleven servitude had taught me people who work the graveyard shift are a little off kilter. The fact that I had a wad of $100 bills in my pocket and he was driving us to practically the middle of nowhere in the woods "to his house" was very reassuring. I mean, really, only level-headed, sane individuals own a 2 1/2-ton military truck and live in the woods. I tried to forget this and figured if anything fishy went down I'd tell him Christian had the money in his underwear and then I'd make a run for it. Besides, no matter what the situation, I was pretty sure I could have outrun Christian and left him for Buffalo Bob freak-show fodder. Why else would I bring an out-of-shape buddy along?