The AutoTech exchange

7/11/88

Department of Self-Aggrandizement
Room beyond Hagën-Däz

Dear Sirs;

Because it seems that a simple apology is not within your ken, I will have you know that from now on, all memos addressed to me shall use my full title: Doctor Gregory Raven, LLD, MD, PhD, LRP, BVD, LSD, SOS, Conqueror of the British Empire and Africa in General and Uganda in Specific. Alternatively, you may refer to me as His Excellency President for Life Field Marshall Al-Hadji Raven.

I shall let pass for now the thinly veiled jealousy over my boyish figure (“… mere outlines of the subject …”) evident in your last memo to deal with a far more important matter: that of your refusal to give credit where credit is due to C. Van Tune for the portrait of his own hand on page 14 of the May 1988 Autotech Magazine.

You claim to “have sweated the details,” but have you, really? I refer to the above-mentioned photograph on page 14 of the above-mentioned May 1988 Autotech Magazine for good reason. You will note that there is only one hand holding the wheel. You will further note that given the angle from which this photo was taken, the camera must have been blocking the line- of-sight of the driver of the vehicle. You will further notice that the speedometer reads almost 260 kph (161 mph). Lastly, you will notice from the traffic clearly visible through the windshield (!) that this is a public street that is habitually travelled by others.

Lest you miss the point of this exposition, allow me to amplify further. Thrusting one’s limbs “in front of a camera as a picture is being taken” in this way results in a photograph that is attention-getting enough to find its way into any magazine, whether or not you yourself work on that magazine.

However, the level of self-aggrandizement inherent in us Autotech staffers should by now be quite clear. Not only are we willing to risk a horrible, flaming death for the sake of flourishing blurred photographs of fragments of body parts in a magazine (which should in itself count toward self-aggrandizement), we are cautious to reproduce such photographs only in Autotech Magazine, where we hope to get credit for same on the Self-Aggrandizement list. What could be more self-serving?

By the way, not having met formally, you haven’t had the opportunity to hear of my wonderous escapades on press functions. I know this doesn’t count towards the Self-Aggrandizement total, but I have been talking about Van Tune so long that now I feel it is my turn for a little horn-blowing.

I remember one time in Austria. We were there ostensibly to test the then-new Volkswagen Jetta 16V, and had just returned from a side-junket to the Vanagon Syncro test track outside of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch factory, when at our rest stop I noticed a May Pole standing, still with a bottle of liquor at the top. Although I was among the first to return to the rest stop, I waited until all the other journalists and Volkswagen staff personnel returned from the mountain before making my play. Stripping out of my shirt and shoes, I climbed the May Pole, euphoric with the sound of the release of shutters in cameras belonging to members of the motoring press around the world. As you might expect from someone of my wonderfulness, I scaled the May Pole and gained the bottle of liquor, which I later used while forcing my attentions upon a young Austrian maiden. Did I mention I have many wives and many children?

Then, of course, there was that time in Chad when I was competing in the Paris-Dakar rally. Due to gearbox trouble, my team had fallen well back in the pack. Realizing that nearly all hope for media coverage had fled, I sought out a nearby village and ran over a child with the monstrous, overpowered brute of a car I was piloting. Sadly, the Paris-Dakar rally is not widely popular in this country, so word of my notorious act was confined to Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Canada, the Middle East, Australia, and Africa.

We should get together sometime soon, so that I may share with you many other stories about myself. I am the best swimmer, I am the best warrior, I am the best lover, I am the best king, I am the best driver, and I am the wisest person of them all.

True, you “don’t have to own a magazine” to aggressively pursue self- aggrandizement, but it sure makes things a lot easier.

[signed]

Greg Raven