Sunday, 30 March 2014

Shit happens, but sometimes that's not such a bad thing

Thirty years in business have left me with a highly-developed appreciation of bullshit.

Here are a few pearls for your delectation.

“I’ve glanced through it but need to read your document again at more leisure.”

Translation: “I haven’t read your paper at all, but by all means outline to me what it says, unless you’d like to just cut to the chase and let me tell you what you ought to be thinking.”

“I think this needs a discussion in a wider group.”

Translation: “I really don’t want to take a decision today, so let’s call a meeting for two weeks away and give me a bit of a reprieve.”

“We don’t really think of you as a supplier, more as a partner.”

Translation: “We know that all your clients tell you that they’ll open doors for you to take lots of other sales, in return for a discount, but we really, really will so we’d like a really, really big discount.”

What I hadn’t previously grasped was that as well as bullshit, horseshit is a highly desirable commodity. My wife Danielle cultivates two plots of land with three of her friends. This being the spring, it’s the time to get hold of dung and spread it liberally on the plants. And not just any old dung, apparently, but the well-seasoned stuff. Plants, it transpires, relate to dung like a connoisseur to fine wines: the young stuff may be enjoyable, but real appreciation only comes after it’s aged a bit.

So Danielle and our friend Moira presented me with an enticing prospect this morning. Go and shovel four year-old horse manure into plastic bags and cart them to our allotment. One of the great advantages would be that it would spare me having to play badminton, which is what I’d have been doing otherwise.

You can no doubt imagine how much the prospect attracted me. What better ways are there of spending a Sunday morning?

At the horse farm:
manufacturing plant converting raw material into finished product
As it happened, I was to be cheated of my opportunity to display real virtue. The woman who runs the horse farm had taken pity on her customers, and was offering the alluring stuff pre-bagged.

Shovel the stuff ourselves?
Or buy it at a pound a bag?
So hard to choose
So instead of the joy of shovelling, I simply loaded bags into the back of the car.

My simplified task: dump the bags in the car...

...and deliver them to target
The benefit became particularly obvious when I took a look at the heap I’d have been shovelling otherwise. 

What the task might have been.
Spade, wheelbarrow, back and arms. And what a setting.
It wasn’t until I dropped the stuff off that I at last learned my real lesson. That was when I realised that this ancient horse dung really was as wonderful as Danielle and Moira claimed. I only had to look at how the plants were visibly enjoying it. 
Incipient rhubarb.
Pushed upwards, with obvious pleasure, by the fine material around it
Why, I might even be forced to the conclusion that it’s richer and more beneficial than bullshit in the business environment.


Anonymous said...

"Il faut cultiver le jardin."


David Beeson said...

Pour ce qui concerne la cultivation, je me fie à Danielle. Quant au reste, c'est Sartre plutôt que Voltaire, n'est-ce pas ?

"Moi j'ai les mains sales. Jusqu'aux coudes. Je les ai plongées dans la merde et dans le sang."

Bon, le sang, c'est pas mon truc...

Faith A. Colburn said...

I found that my vegetables had a real taste for litter from my lambing barn. I didn't really age it, though. What the sheep left behind in the spring, I scooped out and hauled to the garden the following spring. The saturated straw served pretty well as a weed inhibitor as well.