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Keep Loading the Starting Gate

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A form rejection slip came in the mail today which, given the outright silence of so many places I’ve contacted, is actually a welcome sight. Rejections don’t generally bother me. They are a fact of life in this business and you’d better get used to them, like a chef gets accustomed to hot grease popping in his face, or you’ve got no business trying this gig.

The rejection is for a story that I should just forget, but it always seems to receive positive comments so I keep sending it out. The rejection today is number forty-two for this story. It’s a race to fifty. Either fifty rejection letters in my file folder for this piece or publication, whichever comes first.

Horse trainer Felix Monserrate sent his 14-year-old gelding Zippy Chippy out to stumble through 100 straight races without a victory. His home track banned him, claiming that Zippy Chippy distorted the betting pool of any race he was in, but Monserrate continued to enter him here and there, scraping up races when he could, even running against minor league baseball players a couple of times, and losing once. Monserrate said in a 2003 interview with CBS that “every time he runs, he makes me feel good… I know he’s going to win. But when, I don’t know.”