INTERLUDE: Gimmick Andrew Returns

The following conversation took place on Normal Andrew’s couch on a recent day off from work. Those unfamiliar with the Gimmick Andrew concept should read this piece published in 2018, at which point many perceived notions about Normal Andrew’s behavior should evaporate.

To make things easier to read, Gimmick Andrew’s quotes will be in italics.

– – – – –

“…who let you in here?”

“You did. This is YOUR subconscious, dude.”

“Fair enough.”

“What’s new?”

“Rushing Fall cost me a Pick Six and I’m sweating The Pink Sheet’s pick box like it’s a life-or-death situation.”

“So not much.”

“Yeah, that’s all pretty on-brand.”

“Why am I here, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“I only come out when there’s a defined reason for my existence. Clearly, something’s got you acting pensive and thinking weird thoughts. What is it, Saratoga running without fans?”

“No, that was actually the right move.”

“No fans at the Derby?”

“Unquestionably the right move, and one that should have been made months ago.”

“Your new podcast, ‘Champagne and J.D.?’”

“The one everyone should open in a new tab to check out? No, that’s going pretty well. We’ve gotten a great assortment of guests on a wide range of topics, and J.D. Fox and I are really proud of what we’ve built.”

“I’ll go build a fake Gmail account and subscribe.”

“Good. Tell your friends to do the same.”

“Why’d you even start that, anyway?”

“A couple of reasons. We wanted to give people something to have fun with during the pandemic, and neither of us were particularly happy with…oh.”

“What?”

“I just figured out why you’re here.”

“Keep going, then. I’d prefer if you didn’t waste my time with commercials nobody asked for that wind up making horse racing content impossible to watch, read, or listen to.”

(An uncomfortably long pause ensues as both Andrews glance deeply into an imaginary camera.)

“Well, I’ve got genuine issues with the way the sport is being marketed.”

“How’s that any different from what you’ve believed for years?”

“I don’t work in horse racing full-time anymore. I haven’t for two years.”

“Do you miss it?”

“Working in horse racing?”

“Yes.”

“Every single day. And that’s not to say I don’t like what I do now. But there are days where I firmly believe I was put on this planet to make a positive difference in the sport I love.”

“You have.”

“I’d like to think so.”

“Well, again, this is YOUR subconscious.”

“I miss the racetrack. I miss being able to promote the sport in a meaningful way, with people recognizing I know what I’m doing and letting me do it.”

“Is anyone else out there doing the stuff you want to do?”

“Nowhere near enough. I was born about 50 years too late. There aren’t full-time turf writers left, and a lot of good, solid racing people have been shown the door.”

“Then why put so much time and energy into something that doesn’t seem to want you around?”

“Because I care. Because there are issues I can fix.”

“Like what?”

“Who out there is creating content produced by horseplayers, for horseplayers? Some people. Not many. Racing is bound and determined to market to an attractive potential audience rather than the one it actually draws. What I do isn’t sexy. But what I do works, and there’s data that shows it.”

“What do you do, exactly?”

“I write, I produce videos, and I do so in a way that appeals to the biggest audience possible, the one horse racing wouldn’t survive without. Everywhere I’ve gone, social and digital media numbers have shot through the roof. And when people in charge of this stuff around the industry now do so in a way that’s sloppy, or insulting, or shows a defined lack of research…I get angry.”

“As angry as you got three and a half years ago?”

“Not quite. Close, though.”

“So what’s your plan?”

“Well…”

“Say it. If people are going to think you’re loud, or pompous, or have an ego, give them a reason.”

“You’re a horrible influence.”

“Say it.”

“…if nobody else is doing it, maybe I should.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“If not enough people are creating meaningful content for racing’s biggest audience, and if I’ve shown that’s something I can do effectively, maybe it falls on me to do that.”

“My work here is done.”

“Wait. How do I start?”

“What do I look like, your assistant? Finish Saratoga, then figure that out. If you need me, start having internal dialogues. If I’m not busy abusing your Netflix account, maybe I’ll come back.”

“Is that why I’m getting weird documentaries as recommendations?”

“Watch ‘Tread.’ Dude makes a bulldozer and tries to steamroll an entire town.”

“You’re strange.”

“I’m you.”

“Well, I’m the guy bound and determined to do something positive for horse racing.”

“Good luck.”

TO BE CONTINUED

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