Make It Happen!
This is a scary time, and things are likely to get worse before they get better. You’re probably dealing with a myriad of problems: self-isolation, kids home from school, fear of contagion, loss of your job for an unknown period of time that may end up as permanent, fear of infection for yourself and family, worries about parents and friends, financial trauma, and more. The list goes on and on and seems overwhelming. Because it is. However, there is always hope.
I’ve experienced a much less traumatic time, to the point of triviality, but it taught me a valuable life lesson that may apply.
In 2000 I changed careers to go to work for Cycle Barn. It was a job I created in a five page letter that I sent to owner Jim Boltz, who was the only owner of a motorcycle dealership that I thought had the creativity to see the potential of what I proposed, and the financial ability to take a shot at something new.
I envisioned dozens of tasks for myself, most of which had never been done by any dealership, and most of which I’d never done myself. That was not a problem, as I had the faith of the truly naïve ad enthusiastic that I could perform all of the tasks. After all, as most of the “guerilla marketing” (a phrase I learned later) concepts I proposed had never been done by anyone, whatever I did achieve would be the best ever!
I was correct. What I did not see was that once I was an employee, various managers would think up things for me to attempt that I had not done before. That was a problem.
The sales manager was Scott McMillan, now the owner of Adventure Motorsports in Monroe. One of his pet phrases was “Make it happen.” Every time he used that phrase my tension level soared and small flecks of tooth enamel began to gather on my lips. There were times I wanted to kill him, but he was always kind to me and now I consider him a friend and a great resource.
The incident I remember best was the idea that I should drive a company pickup towing a trailer loaded with several Buell Blast! motorcycles to an event in Pierce County. This was an autocross type of deal where people would try to set a fast time, one at a time, around a course marked off by orange cones in a parking lot. People would be encouraged to have a blast on a Blast!.
For those who have not heard of or don’t remember the Blast! (the exclamation point was part of the model name), it was a small entry- level motorcycle powered by half of a Sportster engine. With a 500cc single engine, light weight, belt drive, and nimble handling, it was a great starter motorcycle or short errand bike. although I took one on a 200-mile ride and had a great time.
It was dealt the same fate as every other Harley bike that strayed from the norm of a large and heavy V-twin. The engineers did a good job, but the marketing department, and dealers, and the sales staff, turned up their noses, or worse, and the bike had little chance of success.
Anyway, for me the problems started early and then escalated. I had never driven a truck towing a trailer. I did not know how to attach the trailer. I had never loaded or strapped down a motorcycle on a trailer, or unloaded same. When I looked at the trailer I was to use, the taillight was broken and the wires disconnected. The bed of the trailer had broken in places. It was a piece of junk that had not been used since the Carter administration, and it had no license plate.
Concluding that this was not possible, I called Scott to give him the bad news, and all he said was “Make it happen.” I protested, probably several times, and he just repeated his answer. I think I slammed the phone down. He probably laughed.
So, I turned to a couple of the technicians who had been friendly to the new guy (not all of them were), and in short order the taillight had been repaired and made operable and the trailer bed sort of repaired. A couple of the lot techs loaded the bikes for me, and when they were done there was about a quarter of an inch or clearance between the trailer bed and the tires. Should work!
I managed the 100 miles or so drive with no disasters. The truck had a full fuel tank, so I would not have to get in an out of a gas station, or (horrors) back up.
When I got to the event I was very warmly welcomed. The providing of free test rides on a bike, any bike, will do that. I did not even ask people to sign a waiver or any of that sensible sort of thing.
I asked if some folks would help me unload the bikes, and so many eager hands leapt in to help that I did nothing but watch. The event was the first time I got to see what an experienced motor officer could do with a loaded police bike on a short course. It was incredible. The bikes in use at that time were Kawasaki 1000cc cop bikes, and the officer explained that he had the floorboards exchanged every six months as they were scraped through to his boots. Wow.
At the end of the day helpful souls loaded the bikes for me, again without any help from me, and I drove back to the dealership.
At the end of the day, Scott was right. An attitude of “Make it happen” will free up your thinking so you can get things done. Maybe not in the way you envisioned, and perhaps in a different way, but it will get done.
As you face all of these truly difficult problems, keep your head up and concentrate on one problem at a time if you can.
Make it happen!
And wash your hands.
Copyright 2020 David Preston
PS: If you are reading this on your phone, the entirety of my web page may not show. You’ll need a computer to show the list of links on the right side to purchase any on my eight books. All are available as e-readers and now six of them are available as paperbacks. A fifth Harrison Thomas novel will be available later this year – I hope.