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The Horsey Ride

August 31, 2021

I have been enjoying an email exchange with an old Japanese friend. We worked together at an advertising agency in Tokyo in the nineties. He was always very sharp and very rude. We got along like a house on fire. When the boss wasn’t looking he’d sit on my knee and I’d give him a horsey ride as if he was a kid. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. As a rule, you didn’t horse around in a Japanese office.

Today I reminded him of a company dinner we’d attended. A copywriter from New York had recently joined the company. She was reasonably talented but incredibly competitive and ambitious, a tricky personality type for colleagues. I got along with her but never offered her a horsey ride. She probably would have sued.

At the dinner I was seated across from her boyfriend. I think he was also American. He looked a bit like Dustin Hoffman in ‘Tootsie’ but not as pretty and no neck scarf. He took himself very seriously. He was the spiritual type who had travelled to Tokyo via India. He mentioned Varanasi more than once. I got the impression he believed he was being fast tracked to guru status.

We must have been on mains when I decided to show another colleague called Jim how to make a missile out of a lemon pip. The trick is to hold the pip between your thumb and index finger, point it at your opponent and press. I wasn’t aiming for Jesus, honest, but somehow, the slimy little pip shot out from between my fingers like a rocket. I heard a ding as it hit his glasses.

Jesus didn’t move but behind his large Tootsie frames, his eyes blinked several times. He was offended and outraged but was a man who carried himself with dignity under fire. We never became friends and I never offered him a horsey ride.

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