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If Only I had Known!: My New Bike

06/08/10 7:55AM By Rich Nadworny
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(HOST) We asked VPR commentators to share thoughts at an annual brunch on the theme of "If Only I Had Known." We're sharing some of their essays this week. Today, we hear about Rich Nadworny and his new bike.

(NADWORNY) Back when I produced videos in Sweden, a friend of mine, Ulf, was my cameraman. We talked about going into business together, but Ulf would go into business "if only" he had a good laptop to work on or "if only" he had a good office space. Needless to say, it never happened.

The spring of 1995 was a busy one for me. I was working on several projects at once and trying to wrap them up before June, when I was getting married and then going on my honeymoon. Things were hectic, to say the least.

Just then Ulf, out of nowhere, announced that he had landed a small project. A national TV channel wanted pilot program highlighting unusual entrepreneurs and Ulf had landed us a gig to shoot a story about a gliding school.  All I had to do was negotiate the budget.

I haggled briefly with the producer and got the money I wanted. Then I researched everything about gliders. Right before our shoot, though, I went out and blew my windfall on a new city bike, one that was perfect for Stockholm's bike friendly traffic. I was psyched.

When we got to the airfield, it turned out Ulf had forgotten the microphone and the sound mixer! Sighing at his unprofessionalism, we decided to shoot all of the exterior pictures while the weather was good, and then go inside and record the audio in a quiet office. Not optimal, but it would have to do.

The Glider entrepreneur showed us around and then started putting equipment on me, beginning with the parachute.  I climbed in the glider to strap myself in; all the while Ulf was shooting some great video shots for our show. When I was done, I looked up only to see all of my close friends standing around the plane, holding up bottles of booze and smiling broadly. As I slowly looked from face to face, it took my confused brain a minute to realize that this wasn't a TV shoot; this was my bachelor party.

As I finally landed on Ulf's smiling mug, the first words out of my mouth were: "Does this mean I don't get any money for my new bike?" But what I really meant was:

If only I had known!

Check out the "If Only I Had Known!" series page

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