It's a mad, mad digital world. The fall of the custom vehicle world is right in front of you. It's not the magazine you hold in your hands, we're doing all we can to save it. But, it is the computer that you use at least 100 hours a day. Your computer is killing you and this industry, and there's no way to stop it from happening. So, what are you going to do about it?
Computers comprise a huge portion of our lives. We go to work and use computers to run machines, check inventory, send invoices, e-mails, and who knows what else. Kids in school are using them to do their homework, study online courses, and research for term papers. As if that's not enough, later we go home and e-mail some more, look at porn, buy things, sell things, MySpace until we're blue in the face, and generally piss our lives away. Don't get me wrong, I'm not standing on my soapbox and pointing fingers. I am an offender too, and probably to a much higher degree than you, seeing as how I write for this magazine on a computer. My life revolves around editing photos on a computer, setting up flights to shows on the Internet, and then talking on one-or both-of my cellular phones. Sign me up for a straight jacket.
So, why the distaste for the digital age we live in? Shows. Trucks. All of which seem to be dwindling away. For example, we here at Truckin' magazine spend a good portion of our time setting up our travel to events early in the year. In my employment of more than 3 years with the company, I have seen our travel season become shorter and shorter. Killer custom trucks are going the way of the dinosaurs, meanwhile, show promoters are canceling shows right and left citing too little support. Who is the support for this industry? You! Truck shows are going away because people with trucks are on chat boards showing off their trucks instead of actually going to shows. You remember shows, right? They are held outside with a lot of other vehicles there. To top that off, people aren't going to shows anymore. Why should people go to shows? As soon as a show takes place, the event coverage is on 10 different websites. You don't even have to leave the sanctuary of your home computer and the dirty underwear you stew in to view the custom-truck scene all on your flat panel, CRT, or LCD monitor.
After traveling to a couple of normally good shows, I have been left with a seriously bad attitude about our industry. The last show I went to, (I won't say which one) was easily in excess of 300 trucks, and if I had to put a number on it, only about 10 of those trucks were interesting enough to check out. That's 3-percent for those of you who are trying to do the math. Three percent? What a bummer. Vendors were also missing. To them, there was no reason to come out and show off their wares when their personal website, eBay, or a truck forum will make plenty of sales for them instead. Don't even get me started on what's passable as a custom-vehicle television show anymore. The bandwagon is full, so feel free to jump off and get back to the down and dirty act of building, selling, and showing live and in person.
I am not knocking any one person, entity, show, or vendor. I am merely stating what seems to be an obvious fact in this, our chosen hobby. Please come out to the shows, go to a cruise night, build something that requires more than bolting parts on, and help regenerate our entertainment. There is a strong need to keep our sport alive on the television and on the Internet, but not so far as to make it unnecessary to leave your house. People are way more fun in person than reading their pen name on some .com forum. Life exists outside of the digital world. I'll be there. Why don't you come meet me? I promise, we'll have a blast!