Call me stuck-up. Call me a snob. That's fine with me. Because what you call snobbery, I call refusing to settle for anything less than the best. Yes, for me, nothing but the finest trucks will do.

It's true. I have no patience for anything but the absolute crème de la crème in trucking hardware. And if you don't have a top-quality truck, well, I have no patience for you, either. You can take your chintzy Ford Rangers and your gauche Chevrolet S-10s and just sweep them under the rug for all I care. Don't bother me with them. They might be decent trucks if you're a migrant worker or on welfare, but they certainly aren't the kind of vehicles I would ever be caught dead in. A true truck connoisseur like myself requires the sort of pick-up that makes men nod in appreciation and women go weak in the knees.

Show me a late-model F-150 Lightning Flareside with the optional Pearlcote Metallic two-tone paint and performance suspension package. Or a Silverado Z-71 Indy 500 edition Dualie. Those are the sorts of trucks that will make a refined truck aesthete like myself take notice. Even your stock Dodge Ram 1500 is nothing to sneeze at. (Although you really need a lift kit and a bedliner, if not a topper, before you can really call it a capital-T truck.) But even without such accoutrements, it's still a vehicle that says you have some measure of self-respect.

Sometimes, I wonder if people have any standards anymore. All over my hometown, I see people driving some of the tackiest trucks you've ever seen. Now, I'm not made of money, although I have a decent-paying job down at the plumbing supply. But if you're not going to spend what money you have on a classy truck, what are you going to spend it on?

Yes, it can be hard to have such discriminating tastes. But high standards are important to me. Only the finest trucks have ever graced the Karl Wineke garage. (Except, I suppose, for that regrettable bit of Subaru Brat-slumming I did in trade school. But, Jesus, I was just out of the Navy and looking for any trashy bit of cargo-hauling capacity I could find, and I never regretted it for a moment.) Of course, nothing worth having ever comes cheaply. I worked hundreds of extra hours for the 30-horse winch, the fully appointed crew cab, and the comprehensive towing package, and I am proud to have done so.

You have to sacrifice to get the kind of rolling stock that's worth driving. When I wanted the XLT luxury package on the Ford, that meant Janice and I had to keep the old bedroom a while longer. Checking the chrome-trim option box on the order form meant we had to put off having kids for a few years. And, though it's gone unspoken, Janice and I both realize that installing the full fog- and driving-light package means we're not taking that second honeymoon to Florida anytime soon.

But when you're a true aficionado, it's worth any price to have a good truck, a proper truck, a truck that's just right. I have no idea how the other guys at the plumbing supply can look at themselves in the mirror knowing that their trucks lack accessory electrical outlets and that big Triton V-10. But when I look in the mirror, I see the face of a man who appreciates the finer things in life, and has the truck to prove it. And if you ask me, that's all that really matters.