So this was it… the daunting task of sitting at an old wooden roll top desk well into the evening hours faced with just a sheet of blank white paper that had begun in earnest.
The task of traversing an all-new road ahead by becoming a technical and general writer on the vast subject of accident repair This had all come about by way of the Boss after an elaborate spate of profound lying from an ambitious media space salesman who had simply vanished into thin air revealing a fraud deficit of R40 000 for him to face up to; along with an alarming debt at the printers that was slowly but surely mounting. The hatred towards the culprit that had turned out to be a ‘so-called friend’ – one who had simply bankrolled the whole escapade while pretending to be as ‘solid as a rock’.
Slumped at his roll top desk just how was the Boss going to get inspired enough to write a heady mix of ‘informed views, expert opinions, and feature stories’ was proving so difficult. A sheer lack of education seemed to accelerate those shortcomings in the literary department – despite having a glorious mix of 14 schools and a good smattering of forced-down-your-throat religion to fall back on.
But the final Mickey Mouse resultant education had produced something of a damp squib for this professional scribbler. Anyway, the Irish in him finally took hold of the situation and one bi-monthly magazine after another was finally churned out with all the will in the world.
Behind it, the acceleration in various parts of the business coupled to new technical information rapidly gained ground, and, perhaps a little surprisingly, many new readers
All this while being powered on by lots of blind ambition.
Spelling mistakes, tense changes, and occasionally the general scrawl he went on to produce in long hand would more than likely ‘need an army of sub-editors to decipher’, he reckoned.
As the trade comic gained respect, the low esteem went on holiday and a period of rapid expansion saw the travel bug loom large and fast foreign correspondents were strategically placed to provide reports on vital new information and trends.
While mixing it up a bit with motorsport titbits, the Boss finally got his one and only piece of vocational guidance when he bumped into a world-renowned foreign correspondent. In the ensuing chat, the broadsheet scribe gave him some sound advice when he said that after reading the Boss’s stuff he believed he could get right to the top of the business with his Catholic-style of writing – so long as he did one thing – “Never change it.”
So that was the secret …. he kept ‘bashing out’ the same old stuff – believing that one day he could hike all the way to the top of Mount Ego non-stop. Then he could take time out to shout back down the mountain with one great cry of “get stuffed” to an army of detractors – some of whom had rolled their fair share of large rocks in the way of the lads staggering ambitions which he was more than capable of.
After many years, the Boss was still scribbling and had become somewhat of an expert in his new-found midlife career and was finally doing what he felt born to do: “inform and amuse”. By virtue of the fact this ‘comic’ was still well read and full of madness translated into the basic fact that many of his audience were right there alongside him in an ever-changing world recording for posterity the many, many facets that one certainly finds in vehicle accident repair.
Now 37 years of playing catch-up, along comes Covid-19 and changes everything. So let’s start all over again on the road to survival. Publishing surely took a knock… but we are making our way back in true fighting spirit.
By Ian Groat