This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistian's take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It's like our "employee of the month" but less "of the month"-y. Chris Lavigne makes videos at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was about a GoPro ski movie.
I love tractors.
It's all because of my dad, really. His affinity for all things Caterpillar and Deere rubbed off on me at an early age. For as long as I can remember, we'd be driving in a car and from the back seat I'd hear "Wow! Look at the size of that sucker!" Of course, my dad would be referring to a giant piece of heavy equipment. Caterpillar D8 bulldozer, 988 payloader, whathaveyou. I inherited this passion in a big way. Just ask my wife Courtney! I do the same exact thing to this day.
Although a machinist by trade, my dad has run a small snowplowing, construction, and landscaping business on the side. He has owned or rented tractors, backhoes, bulldozers, and dinosaur-esque excavators for as long as I can remember. This afforded me the incredible opportunity to drive all kinds of heavy equipment as I grew up.
Working with my dad as I grew up engrained a certain work ethic in me. Some key memories:
- Riding on my dad's lap as he cut the grass.
- Feeling like a superhero at age 5 as I dug a series of pointless holes in our backyard.
- Fighting to stay awake in the truck as my dad snowplowed through the night.
- Driving the backhoe on main roads in a snowstorm… before I had my license.
- Tearing down (and eventually rebuilding) my first house in an enormous excavator.
Tractors. So what?
We've all seen the truck & tractor onesies for kids. That's because all kids are viscerally enamored with tractors. They're big, they're loud, and they're painted in bright colors. What's not to love?! It's this "little-kid-feeling" that inspires my love of tractors. I believe the same applies for my dad.
It doesn't matter if he's driving a small lawnmower or a behemoth excavator. When I see my dad driving a tractor, there's a grin on his face. It's as if he's saying "Yup, this is cool!" over and over again. It's this feeling that makes a 10-hour day of driving a machine feel more like jumping on a trampoline than a day of work.
If you've driven one, you haven't driven them all. Every machine and even every size machine has its own personality.
- If it's small, it's nimble and fast. You play games with how much you can lift or how hard you can push it.
- If it's big, it feels like you can do anything. With the flick of a finger, you can drop a 20,000 pound rock on the ground or fill up a dumptruck with 1 bucket. That is awesome.
This allure makes me instinctually hit the brake pedal on my car whenever I pass a construction site to check what equipment is being used. I stop, gawk, and ask myself, "I wonder what I could pick up with that thing?"
Here's my bucket list (pun intended) of machines to drive before I die:
- A big bulldozer (Caterpillar D8 or bigger)
- Road grader
- Crane with wrecking ball (preferably while knocking down a building or crushing a car)
I'll leave you with this.
If I had an "A Superpower", it'd be to have the ability to fly. Obviously. But if I had a "B Superpower", it'd be to have the ability to drive any piece of equipment on any construction site and do anything I wanted without anyone questioning why I was there. I've said this amongst friends and colleagues, but it feels really great to finally share this nugget about me publicly.
What's your favorite piece of equipment? Are you as obsessed with tractors as I am? What's your "B" superpower?