This is going to be hard to write without sounding like I’m all full of myself n’ shit. But I think I’ve finally got used to people Knowing Who I Am. I still never expect it, but it’s usually not a surprise any more. When I took over the Big Chair here at The Horse way back at issue #69, it literally took me about two years to even dare to believe that it happened. I was always waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’ and I’d have to go back to being a truck driver.
Well, that never happened, and hopefully it never will. The magazine is as strong as ever, especially when you take the economy into consideration, any kind of recovery will only help us.
We pretty much do this job in a vacuum; we sit in our palatial offices in the shimmering towers here that is World Headquarters, and work with very little feedback. Oh sure, there’s the online version of “Back Talk”, where any mistakes we make are brought up for discussion in a heartbeat, but impartial assessments of the magazine are hard to come by sometimes. When we go out into the ‘outside’ world, at Willie’s in Daytona, or the Smoke Out, we run into the REAL readers of the magazine. Ninety nine percent of the comments we hear at these events are positive, and it’s always good to hear (of course).
Nurse Nut asked me a few months back “Have you any idea what this magazine means to some of your readers? They LIVE for the next issue!”
This struck me oddly, because I can remember searching the bookstores, truck stops and 7-11’s looking for the latest issue of Iron Horse throughout the ‘90’s, and the feeling I got when I saw the latest cover as I grabbed it off the shelf and found a place to hide while I read the whole damn thing non stop. And on the other hand, now I’m the one responsible for what the magazine has in it for the most part, I have a hard time ‘getting’ that.
When we first went to the Cincinnati V-Twin expo, it was pretty much me and Hammer, we got in under some other companies name, we had some magazines to try and pass out and basically, we might as well have been invisible. Nobody knew us; nobody really wanted to talk to us once they realized we weren’t going to be placing any orders. Well, that was ten years ago and now it’s different. It seems as if everyone in the industry has at least heard of us, so that’s a good thing… I guess.
Similarly, people I’ve never met who are into motorcycles, probably know who I am. People like… I dunno... Jay Leno? Brad Pitt? They probably know who I am. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing I guess. I asked Mr. Pitt through a couple of third parties if we could maybe check out some of his bikes for the mag and we heard…. Nothing. Almost like being the guy in line to get the OCC autograph with only $24.99 in your pocket. Jay Leno has a kick-ass collection of rare vintage bikes that I’d love to go drool over, but I’m not going to annoy him with requests to do so. Who the hell am I anyway?
I know Charles Manson knows who I am, we occasionally get mail asking for back issues and stuff, whatever you may think of him, he was an interesting guy to talk to.
So what does any of this really mean? Damned if I know. Being known by a bunch of people really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Hell, everyone knows who George The Painter is, and look where he is! (Just kidding, George).
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or whining here, this job is exactly what I thought it would be when Hammer offered it to me in 2007, it’s a dream job that makes it so I love going to work every day. Some of the people I’ve met and become friends with is one of the biggest bonuses. People like Sugar Bear, Tom Johnson, Roadside Marty, Nurse Nut and a whole host more (don’t be offended if I left you off the list). I’m under no illusion that I would not have got the chance to do any of that without this gig.
And yet I still feel like I’m unworthy, I’m certainly no one special and there’s probably 100 guys that could do this job better than I. Fortunately, Hammer is the only one that can displace me, he’s a guy that likes loyalty and that’s something I can give 100% in this job. He’s also a good friend, and that sure helps.
If I sit here and try to analyze everything, it drives me crazy, so I’ll just keep showing up every day and do what I do for as long as I can. I’m on the ‘work until you die’ retirement plan anyway and if I make it that far, I’ll have a smile on my face.