Why I’ll Never Be Hired by Road & Track

Some years ago I read one of those “How do I become a contributing writer?” letters in a copy of Road & Track. They must get a lot of requests because the editors saw fit to use this one letter as an opportunity to answer all those who had asked before. Bottom line, the successful R&T contributor was one downright cosmopolitan individual.

Knowing about cars is only a small portion of the total package. An intimate knowledge of food, beverage, travel, theatre and quaint B&Bs is equally important. This makes sense because the successful R&T contributor gets to enjoy all of the aforementioned perquisites.
Yes, life experience and a taste for things expensive are the hallmarks of a good automotive writer. So this is it. I’m making my play for a by line in that most famous American automotive publishing institution. My topic: travel, food, beverage and hospitality...in New Jersey.

In a gentler age of wide eyed innocence I moved to New Jersey to seek my fortune. This was to be my time in the sun. A chance to stamp my name on the eastern operations of a well respected company. With boundless enthusiasm, a host of marginal ideas and a complete lack of experience I ventured forth into a brave new world.

Three years later, as the yellow golden leaves...blah, blah, blah. All right, it was cold, gray and the lawn was covered with dead leaves again. I was out of there before winter. Now raving and wild eyed, I ran back to my native California where the winters are mild and rain falls only when scheduled. The schedule calls for occasional showers from December to April. Rain is expressly prohibited thereafter, until the following winter.

Anyway, while living on the eastern edge I learned about proper delicatessen food. We’re talkin’ corned beef sandwiches piled a mile high, and with none of them healthy vegetables either. I miss those days, although I have trained a local pizzeria to make a pastrami sandwich with no vegetables in it. They’re a little nervous about the whole affair, but to date have not yet refused me service.

Come to think of it, I never will write for Road & Track because my eating habits scare people away. There’s that and the fact I tend to stay at Motel 5. They don’t leave a light on because the electricity would cost too much. And my idea of theatre is that TV program Science Fiction Theater 3000 where they make jokes about old B movies with plywood spaceships.

Is this press day at the new model introduction?
Well then, hot dogs and canned beer for everyone!

Road & Track may be a fine automotive magazine, but when was the last time Phil Hill winged into Goleta, borrowed a ’64 Midget with flames on the hood and blasted off to Wendy’s for lunch. Fortunately, we have Moss Motoring to fill in the gap. If there are any qualified professional writers out there who would care to author a regular column in Moss Motoring, please contact our editor, Ken Smith. He will doubtless be thrilled to no longer rely on my services. As a matter of fact, he may even pay for the privilege. Until then, pray for warm weather and sunshine. I always go a little nuts this time of year.


This article first appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of Moss Motoring.