Sunday, July 13, 2014

My interview in The Daily Bugle




I wasn't going to tell anyone, but I guess the secret is out.

A few years ago, I moonlighted as a taxi driver for a little while. I needed some cash and college was getting expensive. But I wanted it to be a secret and I wanted to stay anonymous. I wanted to be just an average guy doing average things being anonymous. So made a plan to fly to New York and drive a taxi through New York City. New Yorkers paid ok, and I made my money for the spring semester.

You weren't supposed to know. As a matter of fact, there wasn't supposed to be any record that Mike Lortz ever drove a cab anywhere. My taxi license said "Jordi Scrubbings". I wore the small afro wig and told everyone I went to the University of the United States - a small school that doesn't even have a basketball team.

Then Daily Bugle writer Joy Mercado let the cat out of the bag.

One of the biggest problems facing New York City when I was cab driving - besides a dopey superhero in a spider suit - was the construction of an experimental hydroelectric power plant. Supposedly, the plant would "reshape New York's entire power landscape". At least that's what Oscorp, the company building the facility, told everyone. It was right there on the sign in front of the building.

Big words. No one bought it. They all thought the facility was an overpriced monstrosity and there would be a city-destroying catastrophe because of the power plant. There were even people protesting the facility on a daily basis.

During one weekend in New York, I drove a protestor to their segregated "protest spots". After letting her out, another woman stepped into the cab. She noticed the prior passenger's hippie-esque look and protest sign and asked if I knew what the prior passenger was doing. I told her she was going to protest the power plant.

My new rider then identified herself as Joy Mercado of The Daily Bugle. I had heard of The Daily Bugle. I knew they were a tabloid-type newspaper with a very anti-Spider-Man slant. I apologized to her and said that I was new to the area and hadn't had a chance to read her work.

Ms. Mercado then asked me what I thought of the power plant. I told her I had no opinion and New Yorker's problems are New Yorker's problems. I told her I was just an average out-of-towner trying to make an average living in the big city. Just an average guy, doing average things, trying to be average.

But she insisted I give her a quote and said her article deadline was within the hour. Unfortunately, I have a soft spot for writers, especially attractive blonde ones.

Every super-hero has a weakness, right? That's mine.

So I gave Ms. Mercado her quote.
“What do you want me to say? That this is a bad idea? Oh, you do? Fine. This is a bad idea,” said average New York taxi driver, Mike Lortz when asked his thoughts about the power plant.

I have no idea how she matched "Jordi Scrubbings" with "Mike Lortz", but she did. Notice she called me "average" too. She is a witty one.

Unfortunately, my taxi gig didn't last long after the interview. My boss informed me taxi drivers aren't supposed to give interviews because if one taxi driver became a good source, no one would ride in the other taxis. And everyone would be asking taxi drivers for their opinions. The job of a taxi driver is to get people from point A to point B, he said. No one cares if taxi drivers want to see a rain wash all the scum off the streets. It's not their job to philosophize.

He told me 40 years ago some nutjob developed a conscious, stalked a presidential candidate, and then shot a pimp in order to save a runaway. Since then cab drivers don't give interviews.

So I was fired.

I returned to Tampa and haven't made any money since. But I guess I should be happy. I was quoted by The Daily Bugle.

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