The Speck and the Plank

HHT stands for humongous horse turd. That is the name I came up with for the owner of the Thoroughbred database and computing company and part-owner of the nag rag at which I commenced to slave in March of 1988.

It was not a particularly descriptive name. There was nothing brown about the HHT, although he was not exactly small. He was big and fat and practically an albino.

But it was not his physical attributes that caused me to dislike him so much. “Dislike” is not really a strong enough word. “Despise” is somewhat better. “Loathe” is the best approximation.

I loathed the HHT because of the way he treated people. It is one thing to treat all your slaves like dirt. The slaves can either put up with it because it comes with the paycheck or decide not to put up with it and take a hike. The HHT treated everyone like dirt (slaves and others alike). I had a visceral aversion to the man the first time I met him, and it went rapidly downhill from there.

I got called up the the HHT’s office more often than most slaves. I suppose that was because I was considered an “expert” in some matters, and he wanted my opinion.

At first I tried to swallow my loathing and render an honest opinion. It did not take me too long to finger out that was not a good idea. The HHT basically did not want to hear opinions. He wanted everyone in the room to kowtow to him and agree with him and tell him how smart he was.

So I adjusted my strategy accordingly. I basically kept my mouth shut when called up to the office of the HHT and spoke only to answer a direct question. Every nanosecond I spent in his office was an ordeal. I fingered out that the best way to end that ordeal was to keep my mouth shut as much as possible and, if forced to speak, tell him whatever I thought he wanted to hear. The important thing was to escape the ordeal as quickly as possible. So I did whatever was expedient to achieve that aim.

A person I respected there was discussing the HHT with me one day. This person observed that the HHT had to be somewhat smart because he had built a successful business from scratch. I refrained from commenting on how he had started that business in the first place (by stealing a database).

“Smart????” I replied. “I will grant you that the man has plenty of low, animal cunning. But as for real brains, he got left in the starting gate in that department.”

For the most part I tried to avoid direct confrontation with the HHT as much as possible. On one occasion though I did directly confront him. And that occasion is the nexus of this particular babble.

The occasion was a lunch meeting he called to explore the possibility of forming a committee to do some innovative pedigree research (using his OC of course). Committees are a waste of time in the first place, in my opinion. Invited to this meeting was the owner of one of the big farms and some of his “people” (including a former lover of mine whom I was still striving to forgive and forget–not very successfully). The HHT was basically trying to impress this owner and win the farm account (not successfully).

There was some general discussion of sire statistics. I opined that percentages of runners from foals was somewhat important.

“Buckpasser sired less than 50% runners from foals, and most people still think he’s a great sire,” roared the HHT.

“I believe you are mistaken about that,” I replied. “Buckpasser sired about 75% runners from foals.”

I won’t go through the entire dialogue, but I offered to make a small wager on the matter with the HHT. It just so happened that I had looked at a sire report on Buckpasser only the week before. That report said he had 69% runners from foals.

“How much you wanna bet?” growled the HHT.

My first reaction was to say $40,000, because that was approximately my total net worth at that time, and I was THAT sure I was correct. The only thing that held me back was the thought that the HHT might be conniving enough (low, animal cunning) to be able to “doctor” his computer printouts to say anything he wanted them to say. So I proposed $20 instead.

The HHT readily agreed. “Beverly,” he roared at his sexetary, “run me a 501 (or whatever the appropriate report number was) on Buckpasser.” It took about five minutes for the report to run. Beverly came back in and handed it to the HHT. “Son of a bitch,” he swore. I knew then that he had not “doctored” this particular report, which showed 69% runners from foals, just like I remembered.

The HHT mumbled something about Buckpasser having less than 50% runners from foals at SOME point in his career. They all have less than 50% runners from foals at SOME point in their careers, I sweetly responded. They all start out with 0% runners from foals. And by the way, Buckpasser sired 75% runners from foals, not 69%. Your database is missing 6%, mainly in Europe. I knew because I had looked them up individually.

All this time I was beckoning with my fingers for the $. The HHT pulled out his wallet. It was stuffed with $100 bills. I sweetly observed that making change for $100 was NOT a problem. He finally found a $20 bill and passed it over.

“You were damn lucky that (the farm owner) and all those other witnesses were there,” another friend told me later. “If not for all those witnesses, he would have tried to stiff you.”

Undoubtedly. Among all those witnesses was my former lover, who also HATED the HHT with a passion (she too had slaved for him in the past). Alas, humiliating the HHT in front of all those witnesses did not exactly revive the affair. Probably just as well.

I wish I could report that the HHT learned a lesson from this and treated me better afterward. STUPID people do NOT learn lessons.

I did have one other confrontation with the HHT later, only this one more indirectly. The Jockey Club came out with a new statistic, competing directly with one of the HHT’s old statistics. The HHT wanted me to point out the flaws in TJC’s new statistic. The flaws did exist and were very similar to the flaws in the HHT’s old statistic. So I emailed the HHT back and told him that he was correct about the flaws in TJC’s new statistic. Then I dropped the ANVIL on him.

I am not a very religious person, but I did get a fair amount of scripture drilled into me thanks to my Catholic upbringing. I knew there was a quote from the scripture that fitted this situation absolutely perfectly. It was not on the tip of my tongue, but I was able to find it with a little help from some Christian friends. I finished my email to the HHT with that quote from Matthew 7:3-4.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

Needless to say, I did not hear back from the HHT on that particular subject.

The ironic thing is that I heard later, many years after I had escaped from that job and having to deal with the HHT, that he became a “born-again Christian.” Pardon me if I received that news with a healthy dollop of skepticism. I did NOT hear any news about the HHT making restitution to all the people in this life he had treated like dirt (or worse). The leopard does not change its spots.

If I were a Christian, I would forgive the HHT. But I do not profess to be a Christian. “Christianity is a religion professed by billions and practiced by none.” So wrote Thomas Wolfe, author of “Look Homeward, Angel,” “You Can’t Go Home Again,” etc. More power to anyone who actually does practice Christianity. There must be one or two of them out there somewhere.

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3 Responses to The Speck and the Plank

  1. Lakotasblaze says:

    I think Humongous Horse Turd is a pretty mild name for such lothesome person. That’s because horse turds aren’t so bad compared to other kinds; otherwise so many of us wouldn’t voluntarily walk in them and clean them up on a daily basis. I do think it is a pretty funny name and not even profane.

    As far as religious hypocrits, there has always been an abundance of them. They were the only people that really angered Jesus. He opened up a can of whoop ass on them in the temple, remember?

    I found this quote in a cookbook from a local church, “The only Bible some people will ever see is your life.”

    We just have to remember that Christ came for the sinner, not the saint.; whether they be HHTs, serial killers or gossipy ladies who attend church every time the door is open.

    • ddink55 says:

      Nor arguments. Actually the original conclusion to this post I wrote was not nearly as diplomatic. Said something like I doubt if either heaven or hell actually exist, but if I ever encounter the HHT again, it will NOT be in the former. I would bet my life savings on it. Decided that was too harsh. I still have my doubts about the HHT’s religious sincerity because of the noticeable lack of restitutions, but that’s only my opinion; I could be right or wrong.

  2. Pingback: Thoroughbred Times | Boojum's Bonanza

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