Trailer Hitch Experiences (Dan Gould)
I share the following trailer hitch experiences fully aware that I could very well be pummeled with hate mail and might even find myself sleeping on the couch again.
It’s a long-standing joke in my household that trailering, specifically hooking up a trailer hitch, requires a certain chromosome, or maybe a lost gene. Well-known philosophers have claimed that a husband and wife simply can’t partake in such practices together, especially after having children. Some sort of weird mojo, I’m told.
Backing up a truck to a trailer hitch is a simple feat, so long as you have a person directing you. My wife and I have attempted this relatively straight-forward process repeatedly, but every time I’ve leapt out of the truck after she said “okay,” the silver ball had been about 8 inches to the left of where it should be. I would then jump up and down in frustration like some hairy character in the Planet of the Apes, which in turn caused my wife to look at me funny and then walk away, leaving the silly monkey to his own devices.
With no other choice, I’d get back into the truck and smash the rear bumper into the trailer a few times before getting it to hitch, then go apologize to Patty for being a banana-eating simian. Days later, (sometimes months) we’d joke about the “hitch” and why it always goes so bad. She’d claim that I didn’t follow her directives. I’d repeat the chromosome thing. She’d get mad at my lame remarks, which would end any further conversation for an extended period of time.
This cold-wash cycle would repeat itself anytime the word “towing” was mentioned. That was until one day when no one was around to help hitch except my 10 year-old son, Danny.
Knowing that he’d witnessed the unsuccessful attempts of his mother and father, I suspected he might be confused. Danny stood on the trailer and listened carefully while I gave him a few words of advice. He nodded and seemed confident.
As I backed the Chevy towards him, he barked directions and waved his hands, then simply said, “stop!” Leaning out of the driver’s window, I asked if we had to try again. He replied that it was okay.
I rolled my eyes as I slid out the pick-up door, expecting to see the ball in another zip code, but instead my eyes welled in tears. Right before me was a hitch, magically floating over a shiny silver sphere. It was nothing less than the Space Shuttle docking with the International Space Station!
Danny stood there proud, smiling, but unable to grasp the profoundness of the moment, how the torch had been passed from father to son. He may have gotten his mother’s brains and good looks, but he also got that all important “trailer-hitch-Y-chromosome” that every father wants to pass on to future generations.
Patty got home minutes later, to the sight of us jumping around in joy. We couldn’t wait to tell her all about our proud male moment. She smiled while listening and even deflecting a sexist jab that I “let slip.” She was clearly unimpressed.
How could this be, I wondered? Was this not momentous?
She then walked into the house and gave Danny and I that look, the one that only a loving mother and wife can deliver. No words needed, the message was clear: She was the zookeeper and we were little more than her silly baboons.