Penn Valley, CA — Look, I get it. Not everyone is down with sharing their toys, especially not Dustin Jayce Dickens, Penn Valley’s very own vehicular vigilante and self-appointed guardian against all things vaguely socialist. You know Dustin—drives a Ram 2500 that’s more decorated than a paranoid Christmas tree, complete with stickers that scream “Fuck Your Feelings” alongside “This Vehicle Climbs All Obstacles Except Socialism.” Subtlety isn’t really our thing here.

The thing is, Dustin recently shared with me, between sips of whatever concoction is brewing at the Tacky Taco this week, that socialism “just feels wrong.” Apparently, this epiphany struck him not while reading some dense political tome, but while revving the monstrous engine of his truck, which, by the way, consumes fuel like a tech startup burns through investor cash.

“Why would I want to give my hard-earned stuff to someone else?” Dustin postulated, adjusting his trucker hat in a manner that suggested this was a deeply philosophical inquiry. “I mean, it just doesn’t sit right with me, you know?”

I pressed him a bit because, as the last millennial left at the Beacon, it’s my job to question everything, especially my own employment. When Dustin attended a local rally crying out for more public services—like roads wide enough to accommodate his mobile fortress—he seemed blissfully unaware of the irony. Public services, funded by taxes, are a foundational aspect of—you guessed it—socialist policy.

“But I pay taxes, so it’s not socialism; it’s just me getting my fair share,” Dustin argued, his brow furrowing as if the concept of public goods was a foreign invader trying to cross the mighty bulwarks of his logic.

Dustin’s existential struggle with socialism is a spectacle to behold, much like watching someone trying to parallel park a semi-truck in downtown Nevada City. It’s cumbersome, slightly tragic, but ultimately a spectacle we can’t look away from.

As Dustin continues to lead convoys of the confused and the curious, remember: in Penn Valley, feelings might be secondary, but irony is always the main dish. And around here, we feast on it—lavishly.