by Trey Nosrac

Johnny K, the owner of the Time to Spare Bowling Alley, decided to host a New Year’s Eve karaoke party in the bar area. My friend, Karen, was the first name on the list to perform. I rounded up a few pals to cheer her on. One of the pals was my boss, David, the guy I drive around all year.”

“Who is Karen?” he asked.

“She’s a friend. She looks a touch like Cher in her Sonny days, a real sweetheart with a tendency to fall for shady losers. Before you ask, I am not, nor have I ever been, on her list of former, shady losers. The lady can sing. When she grabs the mic and belts out that Gloria Gaynor song, I Will Survive, she lights up the room.”

Driving to the bowling alley, he walked right into my trap when he asked, “Do you make any New Year’s resolutions?”

“I do indeed, but I don’t set the bar too high. Last year, I resolved not to eat lutefisk. I nailed it.”


“Possibly, nobody knows. All I know is that the gunk looks like one of those legless jellyfish that wash up on the beach. Survivors from digesting the stuff report the texture as a cross between warm Jell-O and a raw egg. That is all I needed to know to make a resolution not to put it in my mouth. Did you know that Madison, Minnesota is the lutefisk capital of the world?”

“I did not.”

“The town serves lutefisk during the holidays. This gave me another achievable New Year’s resolution, not to visit Madison, Minnesota during the holidays.”

“Those are things NOT to do. Why not make a resolution to DO something, something constructive?”

“I did. This year my resolution is to convince you to pull the trigger on purchasing a yearling racehorse.”

“You are more likely to eat lutefisk.”

“We shall see. Last year you hemmed and hawed about putting a young horse in the straw and on the track, but you did not. Meanwhile, yours truly, who plays the monthly game of credit card payment roulette, buys a yearling. That’s just wrong.”

He sighs, “I don’t see the point.”

You want some points? Point number one is that a yearling ride is interesting, point number two is that owning a racehorse is fun, and point number three is, WHY NOT?”

“Losing isn’t fun.”

For some reason, his reply irked me, “Losing is more fun than not playing. You can’t possibly be afraid of losing money. Hell, what you pay me to drive you around would cover the cost of a yearling. You could lose a million dollars and not feel a thing. The only way losing matters to you is that it has to be an ego thing.”

He said, “Wow, obviously you have practiced your spiel. You’re serious.”

“I am resolute. Since you left the business world behind, you need something to fill the void. Slowing down from a thousand miles per hour running the tech world, to not doing much at zero miles per hour is a shock to your system.”

He said, “I’ll figure things out.”

“I’m here to help. I’ve read up on this stuff. Shifting gears is not easy, especially for rich and powerful people. You’re used to being a big cheese, you were patted on the back every day. Psychoanalysts say most of these people go through cycles after retirement: relief, sadness and depression, even anger.”

“Come on Trey, you see me every day. Have you ever seen me angry?”

“No, you are…I don’t know…restless. Let me ask you this — if your mother did not need you back on the farm because of her health, would you have walked away at what, 50?”

“Honestly… I don’t know.”

“The shrinks say that people in your situation are predictable at retirement, they tour places they haven’t visited earlier, meet relatives they couldn’t find time for during their hectic work years, and they mentor. Does that sound familiar?”

He paused a beat and said, “Do you really believe owning horses would fill a void?”

“YES. Hobbies that lead to new people and new thoughts are good. Heck, you could collect stamps, grow gingko trees, or get passionately involved playing vintage lutes.”

“First lutefisk, now lutes?”

I pushed on, “Mentally and physically you can take up anything and it will be a plus. However, and this is my big finish, the horse racing business is a PERFECT fit for people with your background. From buying and training to breeding and racing, this sport is different from most hobbies. Racing is sort of a sport and business combo. The sport can be mental, physical and social.”

He snorted a sarcastic laugh, “Yeah, I could meet more people like you.”

“I KNOW you tiptoed up to the edge of buying a horse last year. My resolution this year is to push you over the cliff.”

“What a perfect metaphor.”

“This would be good for you. Owning a racehorse would be good for plenty of people in your shoes adjusting to life after the rat race.”

“You seem determined.”

“Absolutely, my plan is to get you on board with ownership of a trotter. After that, I may write a book or do a podcast. The working title is – Leading rich and powerful people to ownership of a trotting racehorse for fun and enjoyment; proven strategies employed by the Rockefellers and Carnegies for the modern age of Moguls.”

He sighed and said, “You know what? Let’s save time and cut to the chase…I will buy a yearling this year just to shut you up.”

I smirked, “That was easy. Nailed another resolution.”