104. Lenny Magliore, Trucker

“I am a special kind of trucker. Maybe you’re thinking I’m just a bozo behind a wheel but driving a tractor and trailer is not what you think. Especially the way I do it. I’m a long-haul trucker. I specialize in dangerous loads or very special loads. Corrosive and poisonous chemicals amount for about half my loads. Special mechanical equipment is another big chunk. Most are very heavy and very special. Rocket engines. Turbines. Machines for bending and shaping metals. And finally, there’s the tech stuff. Very delicate. And I own my own rig, including my own tank and a highly specialized flat bed. I am really good at what might look like a fairly low talent job, but, like a lot of stuff, it requires a special touch and years of experience. So, I have customers who will wait until I am available before moving their stuff. They could have real trouble if something went wrong with their load. Lawsuits. Places could be contaminated for years. People could die. They need not just a trucker. They need a trucking artist. So, they call me. I go by “Lenny.” Or “Len.” Actually, no fooling, it’s Leonardo. My folks named me after the artist. Oh, sure, you might think: that name, ‘Magliore.’ ‘Leonardo Magliore.’ This guy’s folks or maybe his grandparents are maybe right off the boat. Nope. My pop’s a dentist. His father, my grandfather, was a dentist too. Everyone thought I was going to be a dentist. But it wasn’t for me. I gave it a shot. Started college. Took the pre-dent courses. My grades were good. But my interest in dentistry – not so good. I couldn’t see it.  So, I dropped out of school. My pop said, ‘If you’re not in school, you need a job because I’m charging you rent.’ So, I started driving for a lumber yard. Local deliveries. Plumbing supplies. Lumber. Cement. I liked it. And I was good at it. But it was no way to make a living. I went in the service and got to be a tank driver. That was a lot of fun. I was one crazy tank driver. The best they had. And I did my best to break those things. You can’t. I re-enlisted twice. But I had a couple of bad experiences in combat. So, I got out and went to trucking school, started out driving a six-wheeler on construction deliveries, moved up to tractors and then to specialized loads. There’s a lot more to this business than driving. It’s a whole world that goes on around most people without their having any idea. I love it and I am as good at it as it gets. I ain’t a millionaire but I make a nice living. We have a nice home, two great kids, and when I am home, my wife and I have a great time. Since I am away so much, I make sure I take two months off every year and as much as possible, get home for a few days at least twice a month when I am driving.

So, anyway, last year, I go to a high school reunion just for fun. I thought it would be great to see a bunch of old buddies. We talk about what we did after graduation and what we do now. Just like you expect, most of them looked at me like some kind of loser. They all have fancy jobs. “I’m a lawyer.” “I’m a vice president in a bank.” “I am a big frigging deal.” So, when it was my turn, I just said, “Well, I’m not nothing special. I drive a truck. What’s it to you.” I have to say, the looks on their faces pissed me off. But, you know, my wife – who happens to have one of those fancy jobs herself – just laughed. And a day after we got back, I was on the road again. Relaxed. Happy. Right on schedule.

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