Wednesday, September 3, 2008


well...the weekend was insane. i didn't get to participate in all the functions but all the events i did get out to were fun to watch and participate in. anyway, i present 542 or you can call him aaron. i had to pleasure of knowing him when i did messenger and i also had the pleasure of dispatching the man. definitely top 5 cats i've dispatched. i asked him 10 questions but he decided to only answer 9 of them...what a jerk!! actually, after reading all the responses i can see why he skipped the first question(although it probably was just a mistake)...the man is a lifer and has never thought of doing anything else. he loves this sh*t we call messengering...he's no summertime warrior or "it looks like fun" type of cat. he loves it and doesn't want to do anything different.

1.why did you decide to messenger?

2.when did you start the biz? has the time been straight or on/off?

I started in november of 2004. I was forced to take two long stints off. the first time i was arrested and had to spend four months in jail. from june of 2005 to october 05. man i couldn't wait to get out on the streets again. then i worked until march 9, 2006. that was the date I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I went through chemo therapy and three surgeries. man i couldn't wait to get back on the streets. i was medicaly cleared in november of 2006 and have been working straight through ever since.

3.what bike did you start on? what are you rocking today?

I was fortunate that gary had a trek 1000 road bike that was to small for him. He sold it to me for $150 bucks. I curently rock two bikes. I have a cannondale road bike and a raliegh rush hour fixie. I like rollin the fixed gear because i feel like i have more control especialy in bad weather. Its also fun to skid and show off a little.'ve seen many come and go...any stick out in your mind?

the messengers that i miss the most are probably the old standard crew. merril, joe, dewey, mike, and chris. I also miss seeing bobcat, hurricane, duce, anzie, and elija. I cant forget my boy ryan boudreau who past away august 13, 2007, i definitly miss him the most.

5.what's your greatest day messengering? worst?

I can't think of a best day because there have been so many great days. what can i say, i love my job. one day does stick out as my worst day. it was the week before thanksgiving 2004 and i had only been a messenger for a week. I didn't know how to dress for the cold rain/ sleet that was coming down. i was cold, miserable, and thought about quiting like 5 times. I would get a package on and during the ride to deliver it i would tell myself that this was the last one. I would warm up a little at the drop and tell myself i can do one more. I got through the day and have learned how to dress for those occasions. had to battle cancer in your life...did messengering help you get trough it? if so, how?

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in march 2006. I had immediate surgery to remove my left testical and started chemo therapy to try and fight the tumors in my abdomen and neck. after four cycles of chemo the tumors shrunk in half but didn't go away. Cook county hospital wanted me to do another round of chemo so I inquired into getting a second opinion. I was really lucky to get in with Dr. Einhorn in Indianapolis. He was one of Lance Armstrongs doctors. After meeting with him he told me it was a teratoma germ cell that does not go away with chemo and has to be removed surgically. He recommended Dr. beck, who cut the tumors out and i have been well ever since. i think messengering helped me because i was physically in the best shape of my life at the time. I also loved my job and how my life was going. those two things helped because going into the battle i was mentally and physically very well.

pic by steve vance...

7.if you weren't messengering what would you be doing?

If i wasn't messengering i don't know what i would do. I love being a messenger. I was thinking about becoming a teacher. Maybe 4th grade or something. That way I can be a messenger in the summer when I am not teaching. I just want to be able to be a messenger for the rest of my life.

8.whats the one thing you really want changed for messengers?

I would like to change building security specifically in chicago. rules to get in and out of buildings vary according to what building you are in and what security guards are working. Its hard to keep it straight and i am trying to follow their rules but it is constantly tying me up. I want a set building security so i can just get in and do my job with out asking them what they want me to do today. I am waiting for the ring of fire i have to jump threw to get in a building. Its ridiculous. for all messengers i would like to see us treated more like employee's than private contractors. My status is a private contractor but i can't chose what time i get in or what kind of work i have to do. I have to be in by 8 a.m. and do the work that is given to me or they will punish me by giving me the shitty work.

9.when you head home what do you do? any hobbies we don't know about?

when i go home i am usualy tired so i eat, take a shower, and go to bed. I like to skate board, play video games, watch movies, listen to music. You know the normal stuff. I like to throw down some beer with my boys and crack jokes.

pic by steve vance...

10.any advice for rookies?

I would tell anybody that was starting as a bike messenger to stick with it. It takes time to learn the streets, building procedures, and you have to build your self up to take the punishment of riding your bike all day. Once you learn that stuff then its mostly effertless and that is when it becomes really fun.

...thanks aaron for coming through on the silly interview. the man has been around for a while and from the sound of things he'll be around some more. the man hardly ever complained. i remember when he had to leave us to serve his sentence in indiana for some silly sh*t and he didn't complain. he did his time and came back. he got cancer when i moved into the office and instead of complaining the man apologized for not being able to!! how crazy is that?!! i wish i had a whole crew filled with 542's but...well...there can only be one...peace.

1 comment:

Steven Vance said...

I think it would be great if a bunch of messengers got together to create a "messenger bill of rights at buildings" document that outlined respectful ways to be treated when approaching building security, and would also help ensure consistent operations at building security.

Basically, a well thought out list of how buildings should act, but also taking into consideration the building managers' concerns.

Then have the company suits make the same list. Six months should be the goal for this document's completion.