Yes You Can, and With a Minivan
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A friend once told me there was no way I could get a load of 2x4s, some roofing paper, shingles, assorted nails and screws, and a 4x8 sheet of plywood in the back of my minivan. Of course, I looked him right in the eye and said, “Well, I know that! You didn’t think I was actually going to try it, did you? What do you think I am—an idiot?”

As soon as my friend left, I put on a hat and some dark shades and drove my minivan to the lumberyard. I needed some materials for building a goat shed, and the minivan was the only form of transportation I had available.

To make a long story short enough to not lose your attention (or mine), I was able to gather up all my materials, get it home, and build the goat shed without anybody suspecting I used a minivan.

Now, being the community-oriented guy that I am, and knowing there must be at least two other guys who are just like me (needing to do some manly work but having only a non-manly vehicle in which to do it), I hereby present some tips to make it all work for you:

1. Before you head out to the lumberyard (or hardware store, or wherever other men driving trucks gather), put on a hat and some dark shades and only leave your house when you’re pretty sure your friends are at home and nowhere near the lumberyard (or wherever). If a friend does catch you there, just say you’re out of chainsaws and need to buy a couple, and then head back home and start your project another day.

2. When you get to the lumberyard, park as far away from the building as you can. You don’t want strangers to see you trying to put that much stuff, especially the plywood, in the back of your minivan.

3. While you’re gathering up your lumber and supplies, look confident—like you have a truck parked outside. Think positive. Try to put out of your mind that something (like the plywood) might not fit.

4. At the checkout counter, if the cashier asks if you need any help loading your purchases, you tell her, “I’m a man. Men have trucks. Thanks, but no thanks!”

5. Once you head out to the parking lot, don’t walk straight to your minivan. Head for a nearby truck—any truck will do—to give the impression you would never go to the lumberyard in anything less. At the last minute, veer off to the minivan, making sure to stay hidden behind the plywood.

6. If you’re lucky, no one will see you trying to shove your supplies into the minivan. If you’re not lucky, a good Samaritan will show up to offer assistance. Be polite, let the good Samaritan help, shake his hand when all is said and done, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t stick around for small talk. He’ll be in a hurry to get home, so he can tell his wife, “You’ll never believe what I just saw at the lumberyard.”

7. Most of your supplies will fit nicely in the back of the minivan, but the plywood is another matter. More than likely, you’ll have to push the plywood all the way up to the windshield, where it will overhang the front seats. Driving shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you move your seat way back, duck down behind the steering wheel, and drive like a Low Rider.

8. Pray a cop doesn’t pull you over.

9. Watch out for potholes and railroad crossings. Every bump you hit will cause the plywood, which is over your head, to bounce up and slap you on the noggin like it was trying to make a point, such as, “You won’t do this again, will ya! (bounce, SLAP!) Next time you’ll use a truck, won’t ya! (bounce, WHAMO!) Right about now you’re feeling like an idiot, aren’t ya! (bounce, SMACK! CONCUSSION!).”

10. When you get home, take two aspirin and put some ice on your head. When the dizziness goes away, unload all your supplies, pick up the latest edition of the newspaper, and start scanning the classifieds for a used truck.

Well, there you have it. Next time, we’ll discuss how to transport three goats in the back of your minivan without having to clean up a ton of goat poop.

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