carruthers says…

Just another site

The Axeman Cometh

with 30 comments

A few months ago an acquaintance told me that it’s a recession when your friend loses his job and that it’s a depression when you lose yours. Well, I guess today can be called the first day of my depression. Funny, I don’t see it that way.

I haven’t actually lost my job yet. But if you’re a betting man, I’d recommend putting your money on the favorite, which in this case is Paul Is Out Of Work in the fifth. The axe will likely fall at 10 a.m. tomorrow as that’s when my meeting with “The Man” is scheduled. And I’m fairly certain this one won’t end in hugs and handshakes.

Let’s back up a minute here. Actually, let’s back up some 25 years. Fairly fresh out of college and working at a local newspaper chain in the beach community of Encinitas, California, I was married, living in a luxurious one-bedroom apartment and covering high school sports. At the time it was exactly what I wanted. A real job working for a real newspaper. Then I got the call.

I’d read Cycle News for almost my entire life. At least the part of my life in America. My father raced “a little bit,” winning a World Championship in 1969 and I’d grown up with the sport. My first race was in mum’s tummy and it went from there.  So the call came from the then-editor of Cycle News to see if I’d be interested in helping him with a freelance story in which I would fly to Northern California to cover an AMA National at Sears Point. As the Poms would say, I was “chuffed.” As a teenager from California would say, I was “stoked.”

This was big time. And I have to admit it came rather easy for me. Despite being thrown in the deep end, I sucked it up and got the job done. It helped that I knew the Wayne Raineys of the world and they knew me. I enjoyed the experience, stayed up all night writing my stories on a portable typewriter and flew back south the next day to my job of covering the Carlsbad Lancers and the occasional city board meeting.

Cycle News must have liked my work because I got a second call, this time to cover a big amateur motocross in Texas. This one was a bit tougher. You know… with a zillion kids, two zillion parents and 10 zillion races to watch. Again, I enjoyed it and again I got the job done.

In June of 1985 I started working full time at the old Cycle News offices in Long Beach, California, sitting at a desk with a typewriter (yes, a typewriter!) with no idea of what I was doing. Did I mention I started on a deadline Monday for the weekly publication? Again, I got the job done.

So here I am: 25 years later, feeling fresh, tanned, rested and ready after four days of furlough (my favorite definition is “a leave of absence from prison granted to a prisoner”) and missing a Monday deadline day at the Cycle News offices. It will mark the first issue that I haven’t had some sort of a  hand in producing in 25 years. I’m not a mathematician by any stretch of the imagination, but my little calculator here tells me that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1250 issues.

And those are 25 years I wouldn’t trade for anything.

So what are the chances of the boss man calling me in tomorrow, putting his arm around me, telling me how much I mean to the company, that this has just been some cruel joke for which he’ s sorry and let’s sit down and figure out how we can fix this mess? Ice to an Eskimo, condoms to the Pope… it ain’t happening.

So what’s next? Wonderful question. I’m quickly finding out how many friends I have in both life and the motorcycle industry – and not everyone knows yet. Hell, I don’t even know, do I? So if the axe falls somewhere between my hairline and my spine tomorrow morning, I’m hopeful that this isn’t the first day of depression. Simply the last day of it.

Stay tuned…


Written by paulcarruthers1

August 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

30 Responses

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  1. Paul,
    I’m sure with your talent the saying,”when one door closes, another opens” will be true.
    Keep the faith…

    Kurt Christopher

    August 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

  2. Wow Paul, first Larry Little and now you? This industry sucks right now. Hang in there pal,

    Larry Langley

    August 24, 2010 at 2:47 am

  3. Larry Little doing a great job, yourself the same?? WTF?? Best of luck to Cycle News in finding a “competent” replacement!!! Paul, all the best to you and yours. -chas


    August 24, 2010 at 5:04 am

  4. Paul,

    I will never forget when you and Billy Tally assembled Kenny’s OW in the Hyatt parking lot at Monterey in ’78? Not sure. Pretty impressive. Since then, you’ve done some great work there. Congratulations on what you have done…a world championship effort every week for 25 years!

    dennis kanegae

    August 24, 2010 at 5:43 am

  5. I first met you when I used to stop by and talk to Thome and then when I was making Crusty Demons Of Dirt but most of all i remember whether it be Anaheim or Denver Sx’s you always made me feel welcome at the press box….in Australia here we would describe you as a good bloke !

    Peter Nash

    August 24, 2010 at 8:21 am

  6. PC
    It’s amazing what working hard all these years gets ya, eh? Hang in there…you’ll be fine. You’re too smart not to. Gimme a shout anytime. Hey, you can always help me with Moto Retro! 😉 Be well, hug your family. -m

    mitch boehm

    August 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  7. Paul

    I wish you all the luck with your meeting with “da Man”, and we will put you and your family in our prayers with wishes that everything will work out for the best for you.


    Patrick Saunders

    August 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  8. Paul,

    Good luck today and more importantly in your future. No matter what happens, that kind of “intellectual property” you have stored will be recognized by some one and more than likely for the better.

    We still love CN and hope our other friends are doing ok.

    Thanks for letting me crash your archives occasionally.



    Todd Huffman

    August 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  9. Paul
    Havn’t talked to you in quite awhile, good luck adn keep the faith, being in the auto motorsports and production industry I know this feeling (just went through the same thing almost excatly a year ago) you will definetly find out how many friends you have behind you.
    Im in the OC area, get ahold of me any time!

    Billy Tally

    August 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

  10. Not to worry, Paul! A talented guy like yourself will always have more work than he can handle. I’m not that good at what I do and I’m still able to avoid getting a real job, so don’t worry: we’ll all get through this in one piece!

    Gabe Ets-Hokin

    August 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  11. That Cycle News cover of Ken Maely will stand forever as proof that you wrote and edited with heart…you are a paddock brat grown up in the midst of Grand Prix racing, like Vale,…one of our very own, Kel´s kid did good. Over in Spain where I work, times are tough too and the bean counters are mistakingly trying to react to poor sales and reduced advertising by changing horses in the middle of the stream. Always a mistake, but a great opportunity for publications looking for the best talent, as I am sure you will see.

    Dennis Noyes

    August 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  12. You hired me once, maybe it’s time I returned the favor? Motorcyclist could use a good columnist.

    Brian Catterson

    August 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  13. Paul, I hope this doesn’t come to pass, but if it does, I think everyone who’s ever been a contributor or reader of Cycle News knows that yours was a job well done. Thanks for all the help and support you gave me along the way, I really appreciate it and hope something even better comes your way soon.

    Davey Coombs

    August 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm

  14. Paul,

    As the old cliches go (I still hate ’em), all good things come to an end, change is good…yeah, whatever.

    You and I started the same day at CN (June 1, 1985), and while we didn’t always see eye to eye (a natural result of working on either side of the editorial / advertising fence in a journalistic environment), I’m proud to say we worked together for over 22 years, and the legacy you left there stands for well over half time the title has existed.

    We saw a lot of titles come and go (ATV News, All-Terrain Vehicle Industry, SMART…- Specialty Market Trade something something?…Personal Watercraft Illustrated, Motorcycle Road Racer Illustrated, Moto Kids, MX/SX/AX/RR Programs, PWI Havasu Daily, Daytona Daily…what am I forgetting), plus the rise of the web and all that entailed. And of course the other great (and sometimes less than great) talent and personalities that came and went over the years.

    Who knows what the next chapters will be with the company? But I know you will find something new and cool to do before too long, and it will most likely be something that makes use of your talent and experience in new ways that will challenge & allow you to stretch your legs and have a lot more fun that you have had in quite some time.

    Anyway…give yourself a little time to look around and enjoy some time off. Best wishes, and I’m sure we’ll all see you in the press room sooner than later.


    Mark Thome

    August 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  15. Hey Paul, there’s all those jobs to do round the house, and your Dad’s house too. And mine, if you can make it to the UK.
    Send me your email,

    John Mockett

    August 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  16. Looks like we’ll have time to do lunch. Heck, since I don’t have to run the ‘magazine from the golf course’ anymore, maybe we’ll just have to golf!

    As you said, it’s wonderful finding out how many friends you have in life and the industry, and I know you’ll be energized by the opportunity that life is presenting.

    BTW, lunch is dutch…


    Larry Little

    August 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

  17. Hi Paul,
    The door is open at MotoZania. We are actively looking for some new partners. Let’s grab lunch and chat.
    Cheers, Tim

    Tim Kuglin

    August 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

  18. Paul,
    It was always great seeing you at press gigs, and I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere on the globe, thrashing press bikes and getting paid for it. I’m quite sure you won’t stay idle for very long, so I say enjoy your brief time off while you can.

    All the best.


    Costa Mouzouris

    August 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm

  19. Hi Paul,

    You and your family are always welcome here in “Cloggy-land” was hoping to see you at the CCTT
    next month, am looking forward to see your Mum and Dad. Love, Carrie

    Carrie Wood

    August 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  20. Whats up Paul,
    Take some tome off… take a break… play some golf and next thing you know, you’ll be back to work doing what you do best.

    Hope to see you on the links sometime soon.

    Robert M.

    August 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm

  21. You can’t go … all the plants will die.


    Pat Schutte

    August 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  22. Paul –

    I have been following some of the latest CN escapades from afar. It’s been 28 years since I was associate editor at CN East, but I still hold my years there as some of the best in my entire career. As one who has transitioned several times and reinvented myself on at least one occasion, I would believe you can formulate a plan that makes sense, when the time is right. Hey, remember those cook outs we used to have at my house in Westerville? Good times, bro.

    Tom Mueller

    August 26, 2010 at 12:56 am

    • PC-Keep your chin up. You will land on your feet, I know it. Keep in touch.


      September 20, 2010 at 5:48 am

  23. Paul, I couldn’t say it any better than the others already have. You did one helluva job for so many years and I am fortunate to have had a few chances during that time to work with someone i consider to be one of the best. I wish you well my friend.

    Scott Cox

    August 26, 2010 at 1:48 am

  24. Not sure if we’ve ever met before, but I’m a long time CN follower. Kills me to hear of news like this to such dedicated people, especially so often. I sure wish you the best in your next venture.

    Morgan Williams

    August 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm

  25. What the…? I can’t imagine how CN can continue without you, bud. I’m sure you’ll land somewhere good. Best wishes to ya.

    Kevin Duke

    August 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm

  26. No Paul equals no Cycle News! What was Sharon thinking? Wait she wasn’t. The world will still turn, but the sun won’t rise at Cycle News.
    Paul – Thank-You!

    Jamey M. Blunt

    August 27, 2010 at 7:47 pm

  27. Paul,

    Yikes! So, exactly who am I going to over-indulge with on the ice cream on those international flights to a press junket?

    Maybe we should start our own e-magazine?

    Take care. And write me.


    Jeff Buchanan

    August 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  28. Paul,

    I’m very sorry to hear about the bad action at Cycle News. Please send me a non-CN e-mail so we can stay in touch. jungleeddy@aol.

    Ed Youngblood

    August 29, 2010 at 1:21 am

  29. Paul,
    I am just one of the guys that waited every week since 1968 for CN to arrive. I truly grieve at its passing and the turmoil in the lives of the people that brought so much to my life.
    Good luck.

    Al Dziuba

    September 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm

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