Tahoe Pine Nuts: Before Uber there was Mac’s Hack
Way back in the ‘70s, when dinosaurs like me were roaming Hawaii, I was news director of KORL Radio in Honolulu, and I took a leap of faith to start my own “Inter-Island News Network.”
Utilizing 5,000 kilocycle equalized audio lines available at the time, I formed a corporation, recruited some qualified broadcasters and quit my day job.
Bad judgment. Before long I found myself driving hack at night. My business card boasted, “President Inter-Island News Network,” and in pencil I added, “Over.” The back side of that business card read, “Mac’s Hack, You Call We Haul.”
Because I drove for “Hair Taxi,” call girls gave us their custom, as some drivers, unlike myself, would accept trade in lieu of cash.
And because I was still in the news business, barely, I accepted an invitation one evening to visit the business establishment of one, “Little Joe Jetaway,” a successful African-American entrepreneur who was impresario to the lonely sailor on liberty.
Little Joe had a dozen ladies in his employ, and half of them were mingling around his luxurious penthouse when I arrived. They were gracious and greeted me with panache & élan, and I was duly impressed by their savior-vivre. (I speak French but don’t understand it.)
I was offered a maitai and assured I would be granted a generous gratuity if riders of Mac’s Hack were to shout, “Company,” and I were to deliver them to Little Joe’s. Tempting as this proposition was, I was a news guy and not about to get involved in the underbelly of the entertainment industry of Honolulu.
I have to laugh when I recall a regular rider telling me, “Mac, this wonderful guy flies in from Chicago every year about this time, wearing a nice sharkskin suit, and takes me shopping and out to dinner and treats me like I’m Cleopatra.”
“So what’s the rub?”
“Well, he smokes cigars, likes to dance and stay up late, and he’s in his seventies and, well, I’m afraid he’s going to have a heart attack and kick the bucket right there on my dining room floor! If that should happen, Mac, will you come and get him for me? I can’t just call the cops.”
“Hey, this is ‘Mac’s Hack,’ not ‘Mac’s Hearse,’ I can’t drive a stiff to the mortuary and dump him off without an explanation. No.”
“Please? You can tell them he keeled over in your back seat when he saw your fare.”
“No, no and NO!”
Well, I never saw her again. I suppose she found a Hair driver willing to double as Hearse driver that night if necessary, and we might just credit that Hearse driver with being predecessor to the Uber driver away back in the dark ages.
Oh, Inter-Island News Network never got off the ground, and I was mercifully rescued by KHAI Radio. But I have to confess, I learned more about Honolulu while driving Mac’s Hack than I ever learned in the newsroom back in the dinosaur days before Uber.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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