Our poor “Henk,” the Yank Tank, won’t be joining us for our first 4×4 trip out of South Africa to Mozambique. He is having a little problem going into gear, and his engine light says he needs a little TLC.
I get tired of people asking me why we stick with this “Madala Jeep.” (“Madala” means old man.) Sure it gets frustrating when you buy an older vehicle and they need some parts replaced, but that’s part of owning an older vehicle. There is something about the care-worn life of a Jeep that always makes me feel like I’m being exactly who I am, without pretense, affect, or Jones’ upkeep. I am simply low key, down-to-earth, middle class, adventurous me.
So I went searching for a Jeep poem hoping to find something that reflected that sentiment, and the following is as close as I could come.
by Richard Noggin
I am mocked at work
For driving a Jeep with 179,000 miles
As the earth begins to freeze
I must bundle up to protect myself
From the cool air
As it sneaks through the slight opening of the canvas top
I am asked the question
Why drive a automobile that’s aged 10 years
That is rusted
That has a busted radio
I never reply
But instead answer the question within myself
I drive that Jeep
Because it’s paid off
Because I come from humble beginnings
Because I am not afraid to admit I was poor
Oh, I could purchase a new car
I could have new seats and a radio that works
But I would be running
From what has built my character
What has forged me into the
Person I am today
A man that knows what hard work is
A man that has earned what he has with
His two hands
That ratty Jeep reminds me
That the underdogs of life do win occasionally
No one expects me to succeed
But I prove them each day
As I start my day
With that long cold drive to work
Now, quite opposite to that, please take a look at this anti-Jeep poem. It’s quite a myopic view of Jeep owners, so naturally you might guess that I don’t like it. But moreover, I don’t trust writing that holds a tone of judgment or stereotype, even if it’s in the guise of humor.
Click here for “Jeep Cherokee” (aka The Smug, Anti-Jeep Poem.)
Oh well, writers stereotype sometimes. We all have our value judgments. And heck… I’ve seen one or two of those type of Jeep drivers he mentions. I’ve also seen those type of drivers in plenty of non-Jeep vehicles. A person is a person is a person, and no two are the same person, but isn’t life much simpler if we can pretend they are?
So, for those of us who love our Jeeps no matter how despised they are (or how “madala” they are) I give you my beloved “Henk-the-Yank-Tank,” on a recent adventure near Brits, South Africa:
In the meantime, we will be renting a Toyota Hilux pickup truck for our Mozambique trip.
What’s your car? Can you give me your car in a Haiku?
(A Haiku is basically a poem with 3 lines, syllables of 5-7-5. Click here for the easy, kid-friendly version of how to write a haiku. Seriously easy to learn, though a lifetime to master.)
Try one. Give me your car in a haiku.