It’s been a while. Sorry about that. I wanted to update you on a couple of items. First of all, I’ve done a whole bunch of pieces for the Boston Globe, which I’m pretty excited about. The latest is a piece on driving a Porsche Boxster in the snow.
There’s also a piece coming on some work by MIT on how much cognitive load we can handle as drivers. Is it enough to have a hands-free phone, or is it the conversation that’s taxing our ability to focus on the road ahead. More when that piece comes out.
And, I’m working on a story for Forbes magazine on electric and plug-in hybrid cars. It’s pretty exciting to think that my words are going to be in front of 2 million readers. It had better be a good story.
Finally, I’m going through the arduous task of writing a book. I’ve put a lot of it together and now it’s the editing process that’s taking up a lot of my free time. It’s a collection of essays, mostly about cars, motorcycles and how I got lucky enough to do this for a living.
I’m hoping to have it ready for download as an ebook in the middle of May, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt to keep you interested:
I graduated in 1992. George Bush was still president. When you hear on the news that today’s economy is “the worst it’s been since…,” the date that always follows is May of 1992. Nobody I got out of college with got a job, so I considered myself lucky to not just continue working at a liquor store for $7.50 an hour.
I ended up taking a job with a company called Moore Business Forms. It was not unlike getting a job with “Moore Horse Blinders” about two months before Henry Ford started selling the Model T for $500 a copy.
Moore Business Forms was a harsh reality after being the only one in my family before – or since, now that I think about it – to graduate from college. I was a “graphics technician” who did pre-press work mostly on three-part insurance forms. You know the three-part form is officially obsolete when the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles doesn’t even use them anymore.
I serviced a bunch of sales guys who got paid lavishly to sell people paper with lots of lines printed on them that you were supposed to fill out in ballpoint pen, pressing aggressively as you wrote. One of them was named Mark Brockman and he had the world’s most obvious toupee. It was like a greasy skunk had an aneurism on his head. He and another sales guy would walk into the men’s room at exactly 9:30 every morning. Brockman would have a Boston Herald tucked under his arm, and the two of them would enter adjoining stalls and take noisy, 55-year-old guy dumps together while passing sections of the paper back and forth under the stall. I had to go to college to see this. I worked with guys in warehouses and on construction sites that wouldn’t do that.
At one point in my three years there, we had a huge company-wide initiative called “Sales Rep of the Future,” which was just as stupid and misguided as it sounds. The idea was that these old fucks who couldn’t figure out how an ATM worked were going to be armed with $2,000 laptops so that they could take orders for super-expensive paper triplicate forms.
On an electronic form.
Amazingly, only about six people in the company saw the irony in that scheme.
My buddy Jay Holdash and I worked out the idea for a poster for “Sales Rep of the Future” in which Mark Brockman would read the Herald with his pants around his ankles, but with a space helmet on.
Yes, it’s going to be a laugh riot, folks. I’ll keep you posted.
I also wrote a kid’s book, and I’m looking for some illustration help, so if you know anybody, give me a shout.