(I thought this comment, left on one of my previous posts, deserved a post of its own, with my answer to the question it posed. -- PL)
I noticed this weekend marks 1 years since the TMNT property was sold. How do you feel today compared to a year ago leading up the sale? I'm sure you've progressed well."
I was aware in the back of my mind that it was in October of last year that the sale went through, but I had not remembered it was this weekend. Interesting. The short answer to your question would be something like "I feel pretty good."
Now here's the long answer.
As I recall, back in the months preceding the sale, when we were going through the very complicated process of negotiation and construction of the purchase and sale agreement, I was sort of on "pins and needles", as they say. The likelihood that the sale would actually happen had waxed and waned a few times, but now it seemed that it would in fact transpire and it was a very exciting albeit frustrating time for me, as I could not share this information with anyone outside of a small circle of people actually working on the deal. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn't tell my artist friends at Mirage, which was very hard. I really hated keeping it a secret from them. I was very stressed out, though I knew it was something I needed and wanted to do.
As I have said in previous posts on this blog, I expected a huge sense of relief when the sale was through, and there WAS some sense of that, but not as much as I'd hoped. The large-scale relief was to come later, probably eight months or so later… but it did not come all at once, or neatly. Instead, it came wrapped up in a torrent of feelings which I have been calling my "emotional highside".
A "highside" is a term from motorcycle racing, explained to me once by my friend Dale Quarterley, the great roadracer I sponsored back in the days of "Team Mirage". A highside is a crash in which the rider is thrown off and OVER the motorcycle, as opposed to a "lowside" crash, which is where the bike slides out from UNDER the rider and the rider comes down on the track behind the bike.
If I am remembering Dale's explanation adequately, it goes something like this: Imagine holding a toy motorcycle, with one hand gripping the front wheel and the other hand gripping the rear wheel. Now, while you are holding on to the wheels, you start twisting them -- not turning them on their axles -- but TWISTING them in opposite directions. This action is analogous to what happens on a real motorcycle, especially a road racing motorcycle, as cornering at high speeds -- through the phenomenon of "counter-steering", which is what you do on a two-wheeled vehicle to go around corners fast (countersteering is turning the handlebars in the opposite direction -- for example, turning the handlebars left to go right) -- puts a lot of twisting force into that motorcycle's mostly-rigid frame. As you do this, the frame of the motorcycle, which contains the engine and most of the other running components of the bike, tries to keep everything together by bending ever so slightly, like a huge spring. But the thing is this -- that frame is not really meant to bend TOO much, as rigidity is important in a motorcycle frame to keep everything going forward in a precise and controllable manner. So you develop this immense torquing force which turns the bike into a huge spring… and at a certain point, the spring MUST let go. Most often, the energy thus built up is released gradually by slowing down, straightening out the bike on a long straightway and so forth.
But sometimes it lets go drastically, violently, due to a combination of circumstances -- a bit too much steering input, a shade too little traction on the racing surface, or just a hair too much throttle from the rider, to name a few -- and in the blink of an eye, all of that immense spring-like force is released, the motorcycle's frame straightens out, and the rider gets flung over the top of the motorcycle. I understand that it is one of the least desirable ways to crash… not least because you are being flung off in FRONT of a motorcycle which may still have great forward momentum, making YOU a potential target as it slides or bounces, riderless and out of control, down the track.
In my case, what I came to realize is that for many years, over essentially the whole course of the TMNT experience, or at least during those twenty-two years when the business side of things went crazy with the mass merchandising success of the TMNT, and I was struggling to cope with that success using not much more than whatever native intelligence and wits I had, not having had any formal training in this kind of stuff (I was just a guy who liked to draw pictures, for cryin' out loud!), I was being "torqued" by it, slowly but surely, over the years. There were a lot of things I felt during that period which I dealt with by just trying NOT to feel them, as I could not really figure out any other way to deal with them.
It wasn't ALL Turtles stuff, of course -- there were other things that factored into it. But the largest share of it came from the TMNT experience and my sense of very often -- TOO often -- being a "square peg in a round hole" during those years.
In a way, it was a "highside in slow motion", if you will, because the real release of all this pent-up energy didn't come until a long time after the sale -- really, within the last four or five months. I am not even sure if this "emotional highside" has ended yet -- I still feel like in some ways I'm like that guy sliding down the race track, leathers being ground away from friction with the track surface, body pummeled by impacts against the pavement. I know that eventually I will come to a stop, and be able to pick myself up. I think I am getting close to that. Maybe I am already starting to stand up. But the thing I keep reminding myself of is this -- the "torquing" took over twenty years, and maybe I shouldn't expect the release, and recovery FROM the release, to happen overnight. -- PL