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When I first started hanging out with Ernie Macias and all the guys from No Regrets, I was meeting new people at a rate my brain is just not equipped for.
It was like I was attending a six-month-long speed dating session; someone would walk up, introduce themself, chat for a few minutes, then disappear into the crowd, never to be seen again. Later on, I found out Ernie told everyone not to bother me with questions about their trucks so that it didn't feel like work when I was hanging out. I can appreciate that for sure-thanks Ernie. Anyway, at that rate, the only real chance I had at remembering anyone's name was repetitive introductions, having a hot girlfriend, or dressing like the Slim Jim guy like Mike Quigley did one year for Halloween. That worked great; he is now permanently burned into my brain.
Through the early years of hanging out at Ernie's, there was always one guy who would come out of the swarm of party-goers, quickly introduce himself, say something like, "Hey man, we need to hang out sometime and talk, I have some ideas," and then disappear again. Since he did this at just about every gathering, I began to recognize his face, so I finally asked Ernie who he was. "Oh, that ding-dong? His name is Mike Alexander, he's the editor of Mini Truckin'." Really? Being that I was new to the magazine thing at this point, naturally I was quite smitten by his persistence.
Mike and I did finally get to hang out to talk about his ideas, how he kept popping in and out of the crowd, and over the years he gave me several opportunities for features and tech articles. It wasn't until Low Life Mike (I know, another Mike) called him and said, "Dude! You need to give Max a column," before I really got to know Mr. Alexander. Not only were we now forced to interact with each other every few weeks for business reasons, but now I was invited to all of the cool-kid hangouts and birthday parties too. When I first started writing for Mini Truckin' I wasn't sure how long I was going to be able to write tech or editorial before I ran out of fresh subjects, but being able to bounce ideas off of Mike made that concern far less worrisome, and his openness to my off-the-wall approach was great. It wasn't very long before our work relationship turned into friendship and he was sitting in the small group of people that I valued enough to invite to my wedding (along with five other Mikes if I remember correctly).
Now, I'm not going to finish this article saying how much I'm going to miss Mike or that he is on to greener pastures; because the truth is that Mike and I will continue to keep in contact and probably see each other as much as we ever did. But what I am going to do is take this chance to publicly say Thank you, Mike, for giving me the opportunity to work with this magazine! Not only has it been great times and a memorable stretch, but gaining a friend through any situation makes it that much better.
Hopefully the new guy and I get along half as well.