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30 November 2008

The Long Goodbye

"Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
-John Donne
I'm as jaded a bastard as you could ever have the misfortune to meet.

When I watch those Save the Children commercials, all I wonder is why the sonofabitch behind the camera and the asshole narrator are letting flies crawl over the kid. Exploitation for the sake of effect is deserving of a hot poker shoved right up their ass.

Yesterday, something got through.

I didn't find out about Wanderin Boy until late last night and the only person I could share it with was my daughter (Mrs. Not Really handles animal suffering by assuming the fetal position).

My daughter, not yet two, in the beatific slumber reserved for the young and undeserving of my intrusion, cracked open one bemused eye and with the innocent wisdom of a child, whispered 'Daddy sad' and resumed her rest.

I held her for a long time and could only reproach myself for the pain I would expose her to.

I won't stop loving this game and I won't stop watching it. Days like yesterday will come and with sickening frequency but still I will partake and my daughter, if she is her father's daughter, will share that with me if she is so inclined. She will have her Spectacular Bid and her Go for Wand and as much as I envy her the former, I curse myself for showing her the latter.

Yes, it's the game and it's life but it really isn't and the banality is revolting. I hope my daughter comes with me to the track, I hope she sees the nobility inherent in the horse and the beauty of the game instead of the miasma of greed and incompetence that engulf it today. The only mention of Wanderin Boy on the Bloodhorse, is a small paragraph buried in the story of Harlem Rocker's DQ. I guess since he was a gelding he was of no value and thus not worth a story.

If I were a better father I would walk away from all this and follow badminton; when was the last time you saw a freak shuttlecock incident? If I were a better father, I would keep my little girl from learning to love this game as I do. It wouldn't be hard, there is no exposure for it so she would never be aware of it. If I were a better father, I wouldn't look to tomorrow for that next horse.

But I'm not.

This fume will pass until the next one arrives and the sad tale is played out again; some will hit me harder than others, even though they all toll the same. I will find nonsense on which to vent my pique and will fend off the tidal wave of waste and cruelty that accompanies every breakdown.

But right now, my squirming little girl doesn't understand why her father won't let her go.

6 comments:

Pull the Pocket said...

'Blogging' does not get better than this.

ljk said...

Here here, godspeed Wanderin Boy.

Soon after my beloved Go For Wand died, I read in the Bloodhorse a beautiful piece by Josh Pons in his Country Life Diary. I don't have a copy, but to paraphrase it, he spoke about how thoroughbreds love to run because from the time of the Bedouins they were bred to do so.

Noble is the perfect word for the Thoroughbred, and your beautiful daughter will someday need to learn that noble is beautiful, but that also sometimes bad things happen.

BTW, Wanderin Boy was an intact horse, and I'm sure you'll agree that those who cared for him would never consider him "of no value". I understand your point about the article in the Bloodhorse (and the commercial breeders they cater to).

Ernie said...

"...shuttlecock incident? "

Your new band?

I used to like that game---underrated.

SaratogaSpa said...

Great wrap of one's emotions felt after a loss like this-maybe the Bloodhorse buried it-but it has been covered justly in the blogosphere- so far this Sunday I have read 10 blogs on Wanderin Boy from TBA members alone -I am sure there are many more by bloggers outside the TBA. I take solace in the fact that these beautiful animals are born to run-they actually crave it-not letting them run is actually more cruel of a fate.

Charlie said...

Very well said. And Steve Haskins did do a nice piece about Wanderin Boy in Bloodhorse - maybe he had to hold his little daughter or his wife or his Border Collie/Pointer mix (like me) for a bit before he could put the article together ...

Winston...not really said...

Thank you all for reading.

LJK-You, of course, are correct about Wanderin Boy. Thank you for pointing that out.

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