Old Trucks and Road Trips

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  • Topic: Writing
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  • Published : May 19, 2013
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INTRODUCTORY REFLECTIVE ESSAY George Bowden OLD TRUCKS AND ROAD TRIPS High-mileage, early-model truck. Perfect for work or weekend projects. Some scratches and dings, no serious damage. Cranky starts, needs lots of TLC, but reliable. AM/FM radio with after-factory 8-track player. Still works! Some people write their own obituaries. When I hit my early 50s, I drafted this classified ad as a favor to my wife, just in case she was inclined to put me on the market. The prompt was a visit to my doctor, whose evaluation changed from “You know, Mr. Bowden, you’re in pretty good shape for a man your age” to “You know, Mr. Bowden, it’s not unusual for a man your age to … (fill in the blank).” I’m 54 years old and beginning work on a master’s program, which might also be a bit unusual for a man my age. Unfortunately, the first few steps have prompted some additional disclosures for my ad: Subject to misfires. Shifts gears without warning. Needs LOTS of TLC. Owner’s manual lost. I’m not sure if unintentionally cancelling my GRE after responding to the first question generated the ad re-write; but I do know there’s at least one young GRE monitor who was kind enough not to say, “You know, Mr. Bowden, it’s not unusual for a man your age …”


I loved earning my bachelor’s degree in mass communications. Learning the “tools of the trade” and actually seeing my work in print was thrilling. Now, as a 30-year marketing and communications professional returning for my master’s in journalism, I can’t wait to use those same tools to craft something spectacular. Maybe even give the ol’ truck a tune-up. But the process is aging me. It began with studying for the GRE, where I found my old friends English and Math referred to as Verbal and Quantitative. My inner-Dorothy was warning me that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. I floundered through the e-application process, each step asking, “What do I do next?” And each time hearing, “The...
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