Southern Voices, Southern Stories: The ‘Carolina Squat’ is not hot to trot for my generation

Michael DeWitt, Jr.

Posted April 4, 2022

By Michael DeWitt, Jr.

Just when South Carolina brings back, of all things, the archaic and brutal firing squad, and I fear that there is no humanity or common decency left in this world, our state government goes and does something brilliant that will actually benefit society and future generations. 

The S.C. Senate, to follow our more evolved neighbors in North Carolina, recently voted overwhelmingly (33-1) in support of a bill banning what is commonly called the “Carolina Squat.”  

Bill S. 908 makes it illegal to significantly raise the front end of a truck or other vehicle while lowering the back end, giving it a “squatted” look. This bill basically bans having the front fender of a truck four inches or more above the rear fender. Critics of the modification – also known as adults with common sense – say it’s dangerous because the angle can obstruct the driver’s view of the road, which could present hazards to pedestrians and tiny Priuses alike. 

Can we stop for a moment and allow everyone in the back of the church to say, “Hallelujah!” Can I get an “Amen!”? Oh, great Palmetto State, I salute you! 

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this automotive abomination, I will fill you in.  

Imagine taking all your empty Bud Light cans to recycle but only getting enough money in return to jack up one side of your truck, so you go for the front. The rear will have to wait until income tax return time, you tell your friends. 

What you get, dear reader, is something that resembles a dog dragging its itchy rear end on your carpet, as it cruises down public streets with its headlights illuminating the heavens. This thing is so ugly and offensive that mothers cover their children’s eyes when it passes by and grown men who teach Sunday School swear under their breath. 

Who would drive such an unholy conveyance, you might ask? Not to stereotype anyone, but imagine someone between the ages of 17 and 25, with the wispy beginnings of a beard, wearing a straight-billed ball cap (often turned around backwards) while listening to something he calls country music (but Nashville doesn’t claim it). This traffic criminal and assaulter of good taste often has a tobacco-like substance in a pouch stuffed in his bottom lip, which he spits out only long enough to get into fights at church softball games (which happens more often than you think) or to kiss a girlfriend (which almost never happens). 

This suspect also defiles his vehicle with “Salt Life” stickers and a “boogie board” on top, despite the fact that he lives a hundred miles from the beach. There may or may not be gold, spinning rims on this contraption, it depends on if his Momma has given him a raise in his allowance yet.  

I know, I need to stop before I get my blood pressure up. I apologize for the rant, but I come from a different era, a time and place where American men and women drove Fords and Chevies and even a Dodge or two for work and to hunt, fish, or explore the outdoors. We drove solid, dependable, even-keeled trucks to work on farms, hauling hay, watermelons and livestock.  

We even hauled our children around with no seatbelts in the bed of pickup trucks, back in those glory days. Can you imagine hauling your kids around in the back of a squatted truck? You would lose all your dependents before tax time – they would just go rolling right out of the truck and tumble down the road. 

I am proud to say that I come from a generation where folks used trucks for noble reasons, with all four tires evenly on the ground, not jacked up and squatted for bird watching or viewing the constellations.  

Before I get my hopes up, this bill still has to be approved in the House, and then the Governor has to sign off on it, but I just know the great Palmetto State will do the right thing. This bill even outlines the penalties for those who dare break the law, ranging from a hundred dollar fine for the first offense to a one-year suspended license for a third offense. 

A fourth offense?  

Well, perhaps that’s why we have that firing squad on standby…  

Michael M. DeWitt, Jr. is the managing editor of The Hampton County Guardian, an award-winning journalist, columnist and outdoor writer who has been published in South Carolina Wildlife, Sporting Classics, and the author of two books.

This content is being shared through the S.C. News Exchange and is for use in SCPA member publications. Please use appropriate bylines and credit lines.