One of my college minors was psychology. I was on my way to a full major until I reached third-year Abnormal Psych class and decided that my drunken roommates were the only flashers and bed wetters I could stand.
Yet, a slight interest in psychology and sociology remains to this day. Although I'm no Freud, I've been able to pick up on a few symptoms I developed after getting married, dealing with all of these freak-job NYC drivers, and taking the ultra-high stress, rigidly deadline-oriented position of magazine editor.
For one, I've gone from laid-back Danish guy to obsessive-compulsive control freak. One day I can be kickin' it old-school, then magazine production ramps up at GMHTP Central, and I turn into Jimmy Two Times from Goodfellas. "I'm gonna go to the printer and get the proofs, get the proofs," I mumble, wandering the hallways while simultaneously choosing slide art, editing a story, and keeping one eye on that shifty young buck Parker. Although his minions might laugh, MM&FF big-dog Campisano knows the delirious depths to which one can sink when the production department starts asking, "Where the hell's that story?" Lucky for us, misery loves company. Taking five and discussing the latest goings-on at Ford, Chrysler, and GM with this mag veteran is always a good time; besides, Ford Boy is just about ready to cave and snap up a new C6. But reprieves are far too infrequent. Going Queens-East Side-Harlem-Jersey for a couple hours in the morning is usually good for getting-the-proofs me nice and ready to snap anyway, so what's a few more get-the-proofs impossible deadlines?
And I have to admit, back when Hunkins would beat and curse the copy machine like some mongrel Carolina dog, I'd laugh my ass off. But let me tell you, there's something therapeutic about swearing at a piece of office equipment-it must drop blood pressure or something. If you haven't tried it yet, you owe it to yourself. (Sorry I doubted you, Johnny.)
Another feature of my reptilian brain is an addictive personality. This is a compulsion to behave in ways that can be detrimental to yourself or others. There are many ways this can manifest itself; working until migraines set in, guzzling gallons of Mountain Dew, and devouring pounds of red meat until my colon explodes is my way. But being an "addict" isn't necessarily a bad thing; some of the most brilliant scientists and scholars are closet nutjobs with this very affliction (John Nash, anyone?). And up to this point, I was straight addicted to boost.
When your first real ride is an '87 Turbo Buick, the boost takes hold and doesn't let go. Whether it's turbos or superchargers, the sight, sound, and feel of a pressurized engine has always made me as giddy as a schoolgirl. Plus, it worked out so I never really had much exposure to laughing gas. Not only had I never owned a nitrous car, I'd never even ridden in one in my 28 years on the planet.
But that all changed today. Contributor Chris Werner, Parker, and I hit E-Town for some quarter-mile passes, and I was track-testing NX's new MAF nitrous system on our LS2 GTO. If I told you that I wasn't apprehensive about packing squeeze, I'd be lying; nitrous has a somewhat undeserved reputation as a fickle mistress who drops ET one pass and drops a cylinder the next. Sure, we'd installed all of the necessary stuff, such as a fuel pressure safety switch and a window switch, but wondering how to corral that extra (and instantaneous) 110 horses and 160 lb-ft of torque, and trying to anticipate what 450 rear-wheel horsepower might do to the IRS Goat's drivetrain made me a bit concerned.
Turns out that it was much ado about nothing. I kind of enjoyed the pre-race ritual of heating the bottle, turning off the traction control, doing the burnout, arming the system, and purging the line. It reminded me of all the crap you have to do with a TR, and all of you control freaks out there understand the importance of ritual, right? But when the window switch started the juice flowing at 3000 rpm, I was hooked. For those of you out there who haven't tried it, the hit is more brutal than the blowers and turbos I've ex perienced. And the pull through First (which was thankfully wheel-hop and drama-free) was simply unreal. The way the tach rocketed to redline was so cool. The 1-2 shift broke the tires loose big-time, but E-Town had teeth, so they quickly bit again. And nearing the finish line, as I glanced down and expected to see the speedo just cresting 100 mph, it was flying past 110! And just think, all of this fun on a simple 100 shot...Yep, this sort of thing can get addictive...