A habit is defined as a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. As a result, we create a fixed way of thinking, a fixed way of feeling, and a fixed pattern of action or reaction. Unfortunately, such patterns can gain enough influence over one’s lifestyle that they can be reclassified as an addiction, depicting someone as unable (or at least, unwilling) to break said pattern. And while we normally associate addictive behaviors with alcohol, substances and actions some might classify as bizarre, what we often overlook are the everyday behaviors that we have normalized. The American Psychiatric Association is looking to remedy this…and (among countless other niche enthusiast groups) truck dealers everywhere are not happy about it. But we might be getting ahead of ourselves…
We all have our automotive preferences, be it in terms of vehicle style (ie: coupe, sedan, crossover or truck) or loyalty to a specific automaker. But according to an independent study, less than 20% of consumers adhere loyally to those preferences. And of the 1/5 of car buyers who stay faithful to their style, the majority are faithful to an automaker — not to a vehicle style. This means that most people are willing to change the style of vehicle they drive, especially if changes in their lifestyle necessitate it. The exception, of course, are truck owners.
In most cases, someone is a ‘truck person’ before they ever even have a driver’s license. Enjoying the versatility and utilitarian credibility that a truck offers, owners are reluctant to ever relinquish them for a lesser vehicle. And those who go on to get married will usually retain a truck while acquiring other vehicles to accommodate more family-friendly needs. From yard work to home repair, the decision pays off in spades.
But new insights into behavioral science have led some researchers to classify such inflexibility as a sign of an addictive disorder. As such, they are delving deeply into the psyches of truck loyalists to determine whether or not they are victims of a diagnosable mental illness.
“I think they might be looking too hard for patterns that don’t exist,” explains Dr. Sara Johnson of the Common Sense Institute, who adds, “Maybe we should be investing research dollars into things that really matter.”
But Miles Curry, a privately financed researcher disagrees. “Serial truck ownership is a legitimate mental illness. In the post-#MeToo, post-Gillette ad, post-Lego Movie 2 world that we live in, there has never been a greater and more welcome spotlight being shined upon the threat of toxic masculinity. And while not all truck loyalists are male, there’s no arguing the intrinsic relationship between boys and trucks. It starts when we’re babies. If we’re going to take issue with girls being handed dolls, and empowering them to choose their own fate in terms of motherhood, we should stop handing boys trucks and empower them to break the cycle of addiction and choose their own vehicles.”
Having shared Curry’s claims with Dr. Johnson, she proceeded to break into laughter. After almost a minute of wiping tears from her eyes, she said, “Listen. I’m a lifelong feminist. But that guy needs to get laid.”