“You have to have balls if you want to play the game!” – an excerpt
FUELIN’ AROUND, Chapter 15 – Something in the water
He knew intimately what fuels were on the market and what we had to compete against. His parents lived in Normandy, sacred ground to any American, so this guy had even more to offer. Most importantly, since relationships and connections are essential, he knew a lot of people in the industry and had already walked through some very impressive doors.
Jerome fulfilled every bit of my wish list when it came to finding THE guy to help wage our war. As he came from Normandy I thought it fitting, in a very loosely symbolic sense, that he help us Americans to liberate Europe. He’d be the guy who made sure samples got to where they needed to be and that they were tested, many times with him standing there to make sure it was a legitimate evaluation. So we were set. “Jerome, we’ll make some race fuel blends and you get them in the hands of every qualified tuner and engine builder you can find.” Sounds easy? One problem. “What do you mean you might not be able to get the chemicals we’ll need?” is what I said with enthusiasm to our people in Texas. I finally had my DH, my European Designated Hitter, but someone just said we might not have access to the balls. You have to have balls if you want to play the game! Was there really a problem or was someone just busting mine?
My reaction was clearly that of a city boy from the Northeast. The point being, at times I needed to be deliberate and direct. Anyone who worked with me at VP knew that. I liked to laugh a lot but my plate was really full, while others might not have been, and I didn’t always have the time or interest in mincing words. I prefer to blow stuff up and move on to the next target. That’s why some people have referred to me as “that damn Yankee” and other times they’ve used shorter, four-letter words. But as I may have stated before, I had little time for bullshit. I had the largest region to work, a plant to operate, and no time for stupid mistakes. I always had a mountain of calls and things to look after. If you were wasting my time, making VP or me look inept, or whatever, I let you know it. My time was precious and I didn’t like anyone else wasting it. If we needed chemicals then to me, anything other than “they’re on the way,” was an excuse. Did I ever mention I drink way too much coffee? I had a strategy in mind and needed the support to make it happen. JK
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