Trolley Driver

By Mike Johnson

Itís one thing to drive through a congested tourist town with 38 witnesses on board. Itís quite another to perform a live show while you do so.

For nine summers, from 2001 thru 2009, Margie & I performed over 2,000 trolley tours.

Each 60-minute show was synchronized to his & her humor & history as we zigzagged past Cody attractions and vintage locations. We sprinkled the shows with funny audio clips, pass-around relics and historical posters.

Margie faced the crowd and I drove the trolley. We both wore microphones and delivered lines.

Cody, Wyoming was built by Buffalo Bill Cody, the most famous man in the world around the 1900ís. Despite this, there had never been a city tour here. We saw what was missing and jumped in to fill the gap.

Writing the show was the culmination of my writing, research and sandlot comedy careers. Making it profitable took all of our prior business experience including starting and running a community newspaper. Ad sales on the trolley and in our 80-page tourist guide generated significant income.

Neither of us had performing experience, but inebriated with our creation, leaped in fearlessly. We took to it like an express rider to a pony.

Performing is a rush. Itís a massive high to lose yourself in the show, perfectly nailing every cue and every line and every location with exact timing. Because I drove the trolley, it was up to me to synchronize the vehicle to hit its marks too. You canít be talking about a building youíve already passed. It literally was poetry in motion.

Congestion was a tricky challenge. While delivering my lines and synchronizing the trolleyís path and timing, I was dodging pedestrians, horses, traffic, construction zones, city deer, bicycles, rented mopeds and tour buses. My brain was firing at full capacity.

Perils appeared suddenly & randomly. I often imagined creating a video game called ďTrolley Driver.Ē In the game, I'd get to plow right into everything, including those car doors opening right into my lane. Somehow, I never had an accident.

We were the perfect people to start this business. Yet we never even imagined it before opportunity & ability converged. Our life decisions and experiences accumulated the perfect mishmash of interests and skills to make the endeavor a grand success. Looking back, a hidden hand mustíve been directing our path.

You too, are a mishmash of experiences, interests and skills. Youíve been groomed for the perfect position.

Have you listened to the cues? Have you hit your marks? I truly hope so.

If not, keep your eyes open. You never know when you're going to get steamrolled by a trolley.


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