When I was 19 or so my Dad and I test drove a used Chevy Monza.
Dad had crashed his Ford Maverick so he needed a new vehicle but he thought the Monza was too sporty for a guy his age and he passed on it. He knew I was disappointed by this decision so he bought me a book as a way of saying sorry. The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson.
At the time, I was a journalism student at Centennial College in Toronto (Scarborough, to be precise). Dad knew that Thompson was one of the icons of journalism.
Thompson wrote for many publications, including Rolling Stone. I wanted to to join the staff at RS. Well, someday. You don’t get to become a staffer there until you’ve put in many years at small-town newspapers and dailys.
My first job after college was as a writer and later editor of an art and colletibles monthly called Insight on Collectables (their spelling) in, of all places, Durham Ontario.
Dad spent all of his working life in the insurance business as a claims adjustor. Halfway during Grade 12 I figured I wanted to be a pilot. I was short on sciences so I went back to high school for an extra semester to take physics and chemistry.
I bombed out of chemistry. I was never going to fly a plane.
So, in January, after getting 29% in chemistry…to be fair, I skipped a number of classes and caught many matinees at downtown Toronto movie theaters…I took a job in the mail room of the Pilot Insurance Company at Yonge and Eglinton.
I had then changed my career path to journalism.
Had I stuck it out at Pilot, I could have likely been an adjustor, like Dad, because Pilot was the kind of company that promoted from within. The guy I replaced had done exactly that. Kim Evans, wherever you are, hey!
I would have made a decent living, stayed in Toronto (I never imagined leaving the city) married and had a couple of kids.
And I would have been miserable in that job.
Being a creative type, I had to…well, create.
Write. Interview. I once arranged to profile a wildlife artist named Liz Lesperance because I’d fallen in love with a photo of her taken by a colleague of mine at a trade show.
Very sexy lady.
And an artist, which made Liz even more appealing.
So I’ve ended up being a radio copywriter and producer, program host, blogger, podcaster and who knows what else in the coming years.
It’s the curse of having a creative mind. Not lucrative for most of us and poor old Hunter S. blew his brains out due to being depressed over chronic medical issues so I will definitely not follow his journalistic journey. No way I could handle all those drugs.
But I’m still typing, researching and recording because nothing else satisfies my warped, creative mind.
Whether I chose this path, or it chose me, I’m not sure. It sure as hell wasn’t going to be following up on insurance claims.