By the way, Grandma, you’ll be glad to know that I have been fortunate enough to lecture at some major universities over the last few years. I talk to college students about owning your own business and making your dreams come true. I have never been accused of being the smartest kid in this Special Ed class we call Life, but I do have a very good work ethic that I got from y’all. My work ethic has gotten me to where I am today. When I lecture to the college kids, I tell them that if a dumbass like me can be successful in his own business, then anybody can. You just have to want it bad enough and have the work ethic to go get it.
Grandpa, will you do me a favor and look up a couple of my ole buddies? The first guy is my Hamster buddy Travis Elliot from Kansas. Travis took me under his wings years ago and taught me how to conduct myself as a new member of the Hamsters. When Travis talked, I shut up and listened.
Another cat that I want you to look up is my pal Johnny “Chop” Vasko. Y’all would really like Johnny; he was crazy, but in a good way. Johnny liked to have fun, and he never met a stranger. He was one of the best metal fab guys I have ever known. Johnny was a good-hearted soul that was born with a bad ticker. Last time I saw Johnny, he was here at Strokers Dallas, and he got a kick from sticking his “Johnny Chop” decals and signing his name all over everything, including my truck. I told him I was gonna have the last laugh, so I autographed his black suitcases really big with a silver sharpie and he didn’t notice until he got to the airport.
Also Grandpa, please check in on my friend, Indian Larry, if you can catch up with him. He’s a swell cat that lives life on the edge, and he don’t sit still much.
Hey Grandma, I know you never cared much for motorcycles, but I think you’d like the bikes these days. Baggers are real popular and it seems like everybody has one, including me. We have been taking lots of Harleys and making them into really neat baggers. Most of the bike shops that have survived this crummy economy are specializing in customizing baggers. The problem is that some of the guys making the cool bagger parts are mad at some of the other guys making cool bagger parts.
I don’t get it, Grandpa; we’re all in this crazy business together. There really are very few new ideas. If you look at all the so called new ideas that these cats are coming with today, well heck, Arlen Ness and a few other guys were doing the same dang thing 40 years ago. Mr. Ness pretty much invented this custom motorcycle industry. I sure do wish y’all could meet Arlen. He’s the godfather of the American custom motorcycle industry and the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. Anything that’s being done to a custom motorcycle today, well, Arlen probably already did it in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
I better close for now. I have a 3 p.m. interview for a new Parts guy. I caught a glimpse of him coming in, he looks like a refugee from a gorilla love-in. I think he’ll fit in just fine.
I love y’all,
This story originally appeared in the July 2012 issue.