Stuck In The Middle

Stuck In The Middle

I woke up this morning with a text. “Ryan, we need to speak by phone.”

For a guy like me… a guy that doesn’t talk to many people, is pretty much a social hermit, and is the ultimate introvert, a message like that is NEVER a good thing. It usually means there is some sort of confrontation a foot, some sort of ballad to be heard or some kind of problem without resolve.

So I get on the HAMB to see what’s what and I immediately realize what the text was about. A number of guys are lobbing complaints on the forum over the fence and towards Ross Racing Engines. For the most part, these guys claim their expectations weren’t being met. And in return, Ross Racing Engines is claiming otherwise.

As long as there is commerce, shit like this is going to happen. There isn’t a business in the world without unhappy customers. I, for example, have screwed up multiple times and pissed off multiple people… not on purpose, of course, but does purpose matter?

Add to that bit of incompetency the fact that there are people in this world that hold on to unrealistic expectations, and you have a fertile playing ground for confrontation and disappointment. And with the HAMB and social media and… all the damned ways we have to communicate and amplify and flame these days… You end up in the place we are today.

It’s US vs. THEM… and then there’s the poor schmucks stuck in the middle like me.

I don’t really know any of the individuals involved in this particular case. I’ve spoken to some of them in person and on the phone before, but have never wished any of them a Happy Birthday or a Merry Christmas. They have all, however, come across to me as good guys.

It doesn’t matter though because I’m in the middle. If I delete the thread in question, the good guys will get pissed at me for covering the bad guys. If I keep it open, the good guys will get pissed at me for giving a voice to the bad guys. I can’t win.

And neither can The Rodder’s Journal. One side advertises in the book and has had a handful of features to boot, so TRJ has made their pick, right? Hell no… They are in the middle just like me. And in a way, that bothers me even more than my own placement.

Coonan and I are a lot alike from my perspective. We are both introverts and we both just want to be left alone to make whatever it is that’s in our head. He, however, has the responsibility of literally carrying the print media forward and doing it pretty much all by his lonesome. He’s all we have fellas… And to make a guy like that pick sides or to pick one for him is just plane inconsiderate.

All of this, however, is not to downplay or overlook my role in this. I understand that this joint owns the responsibility to inform and bring you the news. I just don’t want to be part of that news and I don’t want to be yet another avenue for people not involved to inject themselves into it either. I’ve closed the thread in question, but I haven’t deleted it.

The information is there for people to make their own judgements, but I still feel as though I’m failing one side or the other. So, I’m stuck here in the middle with no real way out.


“Oh man, what if this guy is over his head and all of these people are out thousands because of it?”

“Jesus… or what if this guy is doing his best and all of these customers are just piling on for the sport of it?”


I’m not going to pick a side as I’m not a judge and don’t come without my own biases. I don’t know all there is to know and I don’t know who is right and who is wrong. What I do know is that I am creating unhappy customers in one way or the other… and fellas, I’m truly sorry for that.

I am trying really hard to be the good guy.

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