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Jeff Skilling’s Blog

Memories of Harvard: The John Thain hogtie

By Jeff Skilling

Bio & Blog


Congratulations, Merrill Lynch, on your selection of John Thain as CEO. You are now officially the largest aggregation of douches on the planet.

Unfortunately, Thain and I have quite a history together. He grew up in Antioch, Illinois, about two hours away from my hometown of Aurora. Boy, did we cream those Bible thumpers every single time in football.

Fast forward 10 years. Thanks to alphabetical seating, ole plain Thain ended up sitting next to me at Harvard Business School matriculation. As I found my seat, I looked over at this skinny punk with his comb-over, bifocals, and an eerie pallor straight out of a lupus ward. And I decided right then and there to make the next two years a living hell for John Thain.

My favorite prank was one we pulled just before Christmas of 1978. Some buddies and I had heard about guys down at Yale lubing up farm pigs and setting them loose in dorms, so our job was to one-up those subprime pricks. Waiting outside the library with a burlap sack and some twine, we kidnapped a small Asian girl, greased her, force-fed her a bottle of caffeine pills, and sent her running through Thain’s apartment.

We thought there was a fat chance he’d be able to hogtie the Asian in time to finish studying for his microeconomics final the next morning. But sure enough, when we came back a few hours later to check up on our prank, we saw through his window that he and the girl were calmly studying from his econ books. It turns out that not only did he ace that exam, but he also gave the Asian some clean clothes and a basic understanding of debits and credits. She ended up going on to become US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

Thain … what a douche.

11/26/2007 11:45 AM, Waseca, Minnesota
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