Saint Hugh and the Compliance Officer

Once during a very long drive I was actually in the middle seat next to Hugh, who you know as Saint Hugh. And I wanted to learn something from him, about how he got to be where he was and got to be who he was. This is more or less what he told me.

Back then in corporate America compliance was a joke. The big companies would just hire compliance officers but their job was to create the illusion of compliance, when in fact, it was all investor-driven, and the board or the CEO and the board just did whatever they wanted. I had been boondocking it and I came to the attention of the good guys and they did the sort of tests they used to do on people back in the old days — to make sure I had fellow-feeling and clear thought. And I did, or well enough for them to think I could be of some use at any rate, and they asked me if I thought I was ready. And I said honestly? No.

Why weren’t you ready I asked Hugh?

Well my training had been focused on clear thought. And I had learned a lot of the clear thought systems — you know the five major ones — (actually I didn’t — I was much less well-trained than Hugh but I didn’t want to slow him down, this was interesting!) and a bunch of scraps from the unofficial systems that I had scraped by myself. I was a bit of an autodidact.

And my fellow-feeling I just got from good enough early parenting. But what I didn’t have was the real time situational awareness that was needed. And I said look, I’m a little shy in RTSA. Not my strong suit. I’m sorry. I don’t think I’m ready.

And my Teacher — she was a girl with freckles named Marjerie — she said sure you are weak on Bicycle/Truck.

Bicycle Truck?

It’s a field metaphor they use. It means that there are some challenges in life that are like a bicycle — you can keep on going through them and overcome them and some of them are like trucks — they will overpower you and you just have to immediately get out of the way.

Makes sense.

It’s a field metaphor. If it didn’t make sense Marjerie wouldn’t have used it.

Saints can get cranky! We had been driving for a long time.

Sorry. Anyway what they said was they would just build up my bicycle/truck discernment skills. They would take advantage of the poor compliance. Because at that time there were a lot of rules about employees but these rules were completely hollowed out by the corps. Some of them had all their work done by free-lancers! They were just a hollowed out shell of an offshore bank, an e-suite and nothing else. So the Team would just get me a job at one of these places where they knew shit was going down and I would hone my skills in real life situations at discerning bicycle from truck.

Saint Hugh looked at my blank expression.

So, for example, I’d come in and every body would claim that I was on drugs. Bicycle or truck?


Bicycle. Nobody cared. I just kept my eye on the bean during performance review and I got to stay. But on the other hand — everybody said I had been talking smack about the boss’s girlfriend? Truck my friend! Get out fast. You know why?

Because you can’t talk smack about the boss’s girlfriend?

Close. Everybody talks smack about the boss’s girlfriend. You just can’t be in a situation where everybody says you do.

OK. Makes sense.

I’ll say.

Time was keeping on.

So what did you do?

Well at that particular firm — I think it was cognitive enhancing drugs and finance — I was in love with the corporate compliance officer. And I knew we had to get out of there and I thought she probably would like to get out too. Because things were getting really bad. So I got a meeting with her late at night and said “OK. This whole thing with the boss and his girlfriend and the gossip, there is no question that that is a massive truck bearing down on us. And I know you don’t trust me, you know I came in from outside and I can be a dodgy guy, but I think you want to trust me, and maybe, that not trusting but wanting to, maybe that hard as it may turn out to be, maybe that’s a bicycle.”

I was amazed. Hugh’s girlfriend the corporate compliance officer was the one who negotiated the peace treaty that ended the war. Little girls know her fight proverbs.

Shit, her face is on the money.

Hugh saw our driver was getting tired so he took over and then he detected morale was sneaking down into the yellow range so he led us in some songs from the Big March. I never saw him again but that was my memory of him and you said you wanted to hear it.

When I heard he died in the Battle of the Two Call Centers I cried.

I think he saw the headlights of the monster truck coming straight at him and just put his foot on the gas.


9 thoughts on “Saint Hugh and the Compliance Officer

    • Oh, sorry for being a pain!

      When I came to read the story I was in a sad mood and it reminded me of this odd dream I once had, where – to carry on with the field metaphor – there were trucks and bicycles, drivers and pedestrians…

      But the drivers could not be sure if they were driving bicycles or trucks and the pedestrians where not sure if and where it was safe to cross the streets.

      And while there seemed to be traffic laws, the drivers (or were they pedestrians now?), where not sure which these were. How to abide by the laws if you don’t know them? How can you keep yourself and other people well and safe?

      Sometimes it would appear that people were racing each other for the fun of it, but one second later, they had kids at the back seat of their cars – and kids should, of course, be driven to school safely! Sometimes people seemed to be running away…

      As you see, nothing particularly interesting. Just a push-and-pull feeling and a confused memory of a dream. Or sort of. So sorry again!

  1. don’t be sorry. it is dream to dream communication — a deep calling out to a deep. some of these things are a bit like dreams. I really really enjoyed writing this one but I did not understand it. I didn’t know why I wrote it or why I liked it. I liked the feeling of long after a mysterious conflict people making sense of it from a position of safety.
    So that’s why I asked! Thank you for your response!

    • This is beautiful! Thanks for trying and telling how your stories come to be here. It seemed a question too big to ask — but this understanding is profoundly soothing. Thanks for all openness and sincerity. I’m happy you enjoyed writing this one. I loved reading it, even if in an awe struck way — visceralisceral awe. Thank you very much for your question.

      Have you ever wondered, if the body is the shoe of the soul, where does its core reside?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s