Opinion | My Old Truck Spoke Louder Than Words

My wife, Devin, and I chose as our wedding song “When You Say Nothing at All,” the country paean to nonverbal communication popularized by Keith Whitley in 1988. Only later did I appreciate how this song spoke to more than affairs of the heart.

I was invited to a luncheon by leaders of a nonprofit religious school. At the restaurant I parked my old pickup that seemed out of place in a sea of sumptuous sedans. Clearly one BIP—barely important person—had inadvertently been included among the targeted VIPs.

Hunter S. Thompson said half of life is just showing up, so I entered the restaurant, listened to the pitch and considered a financial commitment. After lunch, I left with the other invited guests and headed for the Gray Ghost, as my truck is called. That’s when, as the Keith Whitley song goes—“you say it best when you say nothing at all”—the nonverbal communication took over.

The Gray Ghost’s battery was dead as a doornail; my engine wouldn’t turn over. All the VIPs had left, and I had no choice but to ask the school representatives who’d made the pitch—one of whom had taken a priestly vow of poverty—for jumper cables and help restarting my clunker.

They jumped my battery and sent me on my way. I ultimately made a modest contribution. After seeing me drive away on borrowed steam in a bucket of bolts, I don’t sense they’d penciled me in for more.


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