My boss is a country kind of fellow. He comes in every day in cowboy boots and a Southwest patterned shirt and kind of has a Northern California Fort Bragg type drawl to his speech. One day he brought in a cassette tape of a honky-tonk song he’d written, played on what sounded like one of the smaller, cheaper kinds of Casio keyboards into a Fisher Price microphone. He hadn’t recorded the vocals, just the music, so we sat and listened to the organized BEAT-beat-beat-beat BRIDGE melody and he kind of mumbled the words under his breath. Something about Lola and a truck. It was a long song, the kind of length that gives you plenty of time to start undergoing some intense internal paranoia about what your expression is doing as you enthusiastically nod and every so often laugh in a studied way to endorse how delighted you are by this performance.
My boss also used to co-own racehorses, which I don’t know how he afforded it on a Master’s degree in Ancient Chinese Military Strategy* but that’s not really my business.** He used to bring his son to the race track on weekends and he’d have the kid stand at the stable door to distract the state vet with childish blandishments while my boss “gave the horses drugs and used machines on ’em. Technically you’re not supposed to do that, but it doesn’t really hurt the horses. It’s good for ’em.” His son is a vegan now. “It’s probably because of all his allergies,” my boss explained. “My son is real allergic to animals.”
Yup. That’s probably it.
*My boss loves two things: Chinese culture and the track. It’s like someone invented a peripheral character and gave him two opposing interests in an effort to make him appear three-dimensional. It leads to a lot of comments like this one: “I used to read the I Ching a lot and the I Ching says that a man who does not take heed of his own nature is a foolish man. And my nature’s at the track, so I’m leaving at 4:00 today and y’all should too.”
**I will just say, if there’s a Cowboy Mafia anywhere in the world then my boss is one of the henchmen standing by the door in secret meetings and cracking his knuckles and rushing the Indian hero one at a time with the other henchmen and giving credence to the virility of said hero by facelessly expiring.