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The Socratic Trucker: An American Memoir

The Socratic Trucker:

An American Memoir

by

Roger Anthony Farinha

Author’s Note:

Following are a series of excerpts from the main and most serious of my books which is available in both electronic and hard copy format on Amazon.com at the following URL address: www.amazon.com/author/roger-farinha. I offer this free sample in a shorter e-book here, in order to receive greater exposure and enable new audiences to discover my work.

I hope you can encourage my good labor on behalf of my human family, to whom I am so willing to offer the best of me despite great personal sacrifice and its requirements for dauntless faith at times, through PURCHASING my work. If we had been living in a world where, as I envision someday and for which I am working, human beings can transcend our monetary system and all individuals can be challenged instead to make a career out of their unique contributions to HUMANITY, not reduced to the common denominator of currency which simply monetizes (and ultimately cheapens) all human creativity—then will we see our GREAT AND NOBLE AGE!

Therefore, won’t you please join this greatest revolutionary cause by supporting my career?

Table of Contents:

From the Prelude:

From the Introduction:

From Chapter 1:

From Chapter 2:

From Chapter 3:

From the Interlude Chapter:

From Chapter 4:

From Chapter 5:

From Chapter 6:

From the Afterward Chapter:

From the Prelude:

The engine brakes roared as the eighteen-wheeled machine fought against the relentless pull of gravity, doggedly claiming its 72,000 lbs on a narrow and winding highway, somewhere above the Pacific Northwest and heading down, down into a city which moments before looked like a speck but now appears as a sea of light, from a mountain hidden in the dark, towering otherwise silently in the void of night. Had I liberty to reflect in my usual manner, I would certainly wonder how an intellectual got here, but I would immediately recall that before all else I am a spiritual being for whom life entails twists which may even at times appear violent.

From the Introduction:

I touched down with my family in New York City in 1981 bedecked with gold! The chains and rings and bracelets we all wore, which might even have given us a royal air, signified two things. First, the remnant of our wealth, hurriedly salvaged from the old country as my father fled a covetous and vengeful kleptocrat (Burnham), liquidating only such property as might not alert his cronies to our impending departure. Second, our gold represented our augmentation of the certainly greater expenses (particularly in opening up her home) our kind aunt (Auntie Dee) assumed in sponsoring an immigrant family of seven.

A few years after, my father crowned me ultimately by insuring I was naturalized, a decision made for me which I could not have better made for myself—so much have I come to identify with the great historical and human significance of this country. I am an American in soul, made so by fervent ideological identification rather than by mere accident of birth!

From Chapter 1:

“Just me, I’m afraid.” Their forward questioning left me a little abashed as I normally am when I stick out in my solitude. Deciding to become a trucker did not change my social condition any bit. Whether for reasons of inflated self-importance or for merely being an awkward soul, I had always been a loner. My peculiar agenda in this writing adventure therefore almost seemed a last chance to reach out to my fellow man at the time, whether it turned out to be the final straw whereby I withdrew forever with no hope of contact, or whether it proved to be the beginning of my true element. Although the reason for my personal solitude had always been idealistic and therefore not ultimately unhealthy, the effect of this lifestyle nevertheless left me with the taste of self-consciousness as is only natural for a social animal or sociable angel.

From Chapter 2:

Although I verbalized these ancient reflections of mine, the verdict was still out in my mind as to the true culprit to a better world. Is human nature deeply sinful and must undergo some eschatological transformation, according to my original Christian presuppositions, or could the world be fundamentally transformed for the better through an insightful new vision for human redirection?

In 2000 I worked on a youth concept in my attempt to tap the human heroic impulse, my first intellectual toying with Becker’s concept, which could both validate the individual while yet directing this self-assertion outward to all of humanity. My intended youth organization was an attempt to find such a re-focus for our world. I ultimately chose to put this concept on hold, however, while I felt I needed to understand myself better before progressing.

What are the true motivations of human nature? Just some base selfishness or perhaps a legitimate desire for the heroic, a deeply right and deep-seated impulse to triumph onto our universe? Part of me ever more suspects that we humans should be seen as the noble creature we are. We have a natural desire for moral citizenship. We are deeply needful of artistry and creativity; and we are creatures of joy. “So would you say that your impression of the ideal universe is one in which human nature is almost…upside down, the opposite of where it is right now?” I asked.

From Chapter 3:

Sulfur Springs, Texas. My truck had broken down in the middle of the countryside about an hundred and fifty miles east of Dallas after a terrible streak of bad luck over the preceding days, so much so that I actually wondered whether I had not after all been in the midst of, as Christians might say, some kind of spiritual warfare. So many little frustrations, mechanical problems, and general anxiety surrounded me, including the ominous sign of a lunch ticket with the price of $6.66 on one of those days (wink) that I had to intentionally let go of my frustrations and sit back and enjoy the beautiful landscape while I waited for my company to send a tow truck.

My mechanical problems seemingly began soon after a trip to Las Vegas. I had never visited the place before and since I had been driving I thought I’d use my cross-country mobility to visit various national sites. I stayed at a truck stop not far from the main strip and rented a car for the four day period I was in town. I recalled a homeless man who, in the oppressive heat, approached my truck and asked for money to buy a soda. I hesitated giving him cash in the event that he might use it for alcohol or drugs and offered him instead a soda from the refrigerated cooler I kept in my truck.

He had an almost demonic countenance of anger permanently written on his face it seemed, an almost destructive air, and although accepting the soda, he appeared somewhat dissatisfied, or eerily vengeful. Some days after leaving Las Vegas I began experiencing fuel line problems with my truck, once having to go to a company terminal for a look-over. The mechanics took down both of my tanks and recounted how they removed an almost half-tank worth of soot, looking at me suspiciously as if I might have sabotaged my own truck.

How did such gunk get there? I half wondered whether the homeless man had not in fact blessed my tanks with good-old Las Vegas soil while I was at the casino. But perhaps I’m too suspicious.

From the Interlude Chapter:

As I crouch in the cave of the cab of my truck, a man alone in the universe within himself, a primal angel takes form. In the hours before, the very horizon came to me as I inhaled it and expelled it. I am at once protected from my species-kin by a growling metal shell; while yet my own kind, limitless and anonymous, readily await my emergence at whim. No one to know me, but I to know them, and me—all from within me! What I learn of me I know of them.

This world we see is one narrow, moral focus, a magnification of self as we stray from our unified Self. It sits at the opposite end of the tunnel from paradise, where we dip and melt into the larger Self at will. Here have I entered the cab of my truck to magnify my magnification, all to see you and me, magnified! “This very day you will be with me in Paradise,” Jesus said to the thief on the cross, all because this criminal was now willing to choose Self over his self by embracing he who attained Selfhood.

We are not God because we are not even fully Us until we have embraced the souls of our fellows in brotherly love. But when we are prepared to be our full Self, as soul unified with all souls, we see God right before our face, as the image in the mirror stares at that which it images. Images of God are we, but only when we have come to brotherly love. What strange thoughts can present themselves to a man when he is freed up to contemplate!

From Chapter 4:

Within the course of my courtship he found me a prettier, in my eyes, and “more mature in the faith” young woman, in his words, to first take me through an introductory tour of the Mormon Temple and faith, dangling her before me (it seemed) as the one with whom I might have my conversation, if after having first heard about their faith I had further questions. But after the tour was done he reneged. “Sorry I couldn’t give you what you’re looking for,” the young woman apologized, “but I have to stay within the confines of my role as a missionary here.”

 

The irony did not fail to impress upon me, however, that should she have shared her human saga, which indeed must have at some point precipitated her confirmation in this faith, she might have had an even more superb opportunity to proselytize—inasmuch as, speaking from the common perspective of the human heart, she might have validated Mormonism’s caliber as a genuine option within the grander human question. Whereas she might yet have been too immature to see this opportunity, however, the very director of the faith, in my opinion, had no excuse. So I like Christ, after having been rebuffed by those whom I invited to the banquet table, did instead have to urgently turn to those on the streets—a homeless couple in particular—Freeia and Burn, with whom, that evening, I finally managed my interview.

From Chapter 5:

One of the reasons probably contributing to my not engaging a trucker to this point is a peculiar kind of buffoonery I had observed in many of their personalities. Most truckers, I early on noticed, had a tendency to twist any serious conversation into the ridiculous, or they tended always to evade sober interchange. This might be due, I imagined, partly to their solitary lifestyle, such that when they did finally engage another they got the bigger buzz in demonstrating their wit and personality in the absurd, which perhaps is all one can find time for when constantly on the move. Perhaps also because they were relatively uneducated, their primary creative outlet reverted to the ridiculous.

Many Caucasian truckers according to my sensitivity (or hang-up) tended also to demonstrate a prejudicial personality, perhaps largely due, again, to ignorance. I’ve often therefore felt somewhat at risk (of dupery) in attempting to engage these types, and alas, such was the case this day with my first approach! He appeared quite talkative, open, and upbeat at the express table so I thought he’d be approachable, but when I began to engage him he seemed unwilling to carry on a conversation with me, apparently considering my ambition to write a book somewhat comical. He nevertheless readily resumed his open personality with another good old fellow as he approached the table.

Seeing that I was somewhat let down by this person’s unfriendliness, another approaching driver pointed in a sort of self-amused pity, “try that guy out—he’ll interview with you.” I wondered at how human beings sadly miss many promising opportunities in life because of their choices to restrict personal engagement with others due to silly or unimportant distinctions! The other fellow, nevertheless, was indeed a better man.

From Chapter 6:

I delivered furniture in the morning to a local dealer in town. Having to wait till after noontime to be unloaded, I thought I’d take the rest of it off by making up the excuse to my dispatcher that I had not many more hours on my 70-hour clock to run, thus guaranteeing my layover. Oh, the white lies that we tell which sullies our souls so! Yet in that my dishonesty was inspired in pursuit of such noble purposes in accordance with such pristine passion, how wrong could it be?

Many a “serious” entrepreneur and businessman would disparage the “common laborer’s” child-like irresponsibility and might even claim, like the Carnages and Fords of American industry, that this is why they keep the lion’s share of the wealth the plain laborer helps in creating. They presume that they, in their greater “enlightenment,” might then turn to philanthropy on behalf of the riffraff.

Even though I did benefit from such philanthropy in college myself, when I partook in the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship and the Ford Colloquium programs at Brooklyn College, I can nevertheless appreciate how if the common man is only entrusted with a greater part of the fruits of his labor, great and creative ones might just arise from places in society no one ever imagined.

From the Afterward Chapter:

Soon after conducting my interviews and not having much luck finding a publisher this project seemingly became sidetracked as I got married in 2007 for the ultimate purpose of continuing my personal growth—the continuation of my spiritually intentional life. My lonely and rambling life had so gotten to me, also, that I wanted some kind of normalcy so I met a folk girl from overseas, struck up an on-line correspondence, visited her and shortly married her.

In retrospect, I realize I chose a foreign girl because I subconsciously hoped I would not have to explain my enigmatic soul to her—in my choice of poverty as well as my insistence on some bright hope for mankind. I hoped that she would embrace the experience of me in her same embrace of a new life and not expect to understand me when even I could not. This however was obviously doomed to failure as she naturally tried to get to know me, or got to know me as best she could conceive.

Despite trying to quiet my intellectual probing and succumb to a simpler life as the husband of an ordinary girl, in December of 2012 we dissolved our marriage after not being finally able to see eye to eye. I remained a deeply idealistic and hopeful dreamer while I suspect she was just a regular girl desiring a normal man. I could not in the end deny the depth and sense of calling in me and she perhaps could never ultimately understand the existential me, or cope with an emerging soul in her husband—


The Socratic Trucker: An American Memoir

Out of America is destined to arise a People's World Order, an original insight deriving from Farinha's authentic, first-generation immigrant experience, his liberal arts educational background, and his historical placement in the mid Twenty First Century. This book, once discovered, is destined to take its place among the classics of social-political vision such as Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations," Karm Marx's "The Communist Manifesto," Darwin's "Origins of Species," Thoreau's "Walden Pond," etc. In the jungle of books published today due to the ease resulting from technology and the growing reluctance and inability of traditional publishers to take chances or even recognize and be prepared to back the next work of great import, many literary gems lay undiscovered, awaiting their time and their deserving audience. This is one of those books!

  • Author: Roger Anthony Farinha
  • Published: 2017-02-06 19:50:10
  • Words: 2572
The Socratic Trucker: An American Memoir The Socratic Trucker: An American Memoir