When you worry the world is spinning out of control, it can be comforting to think back on a simpler, happier time.  A time when the people next door were really neighbors, every house had a car and a Frigidaire, and global catastrophes were for everyone.

Your next CEO: Me

21 August 2009

Dear potential employers,

It has come reluctantly to my attention that the job market is not in such a condition that a 21 year-old with a liberal arts degree and a bad attitude commands employment.  At least not the sort of employment that consists of an unforgivably cushy white-collar job and possibly access to an organizational line of credit.  Sadly, I am grossly unqualified for positions that involve actually performing some useful task by the collective inadequacy of the American school system, and I have become convinced that my attempt at writing an edgy cover letter has simply come across as unhinged.  (Perhaps this is what I get for attempting to use the word “felicity” after 1800.)

The problem

The problem

Nevertheless a job must be had if I am to pay for my British-style teeth in the absence of British-style health care.  So not only must I cast a wider net – indeed the entire interwebs!!!!111! – but also must adapt the horizon of available jobs.  This is difficult for me.  I do quite like money.  But I’m not terribly fond of work.  You see the dilemma.

But in every problem lies a solution.  It was the recognition of this trite rhetorical truth that revealed to me the very simple fact that I must be your next CEO.  Chief Executive Officer.  By repeating the acronym in full I sound decisive and grounded.

You see, I watch television.  I even watched CNBC once.  I found all of the numbers boring and obtuse but I got the jist of it.  The market is a shambles.  Corporations are leaderless and in disarray.  Lately leading these behemoths of industry has become a job that is as political as managerial or economic.  What aspiring young executive wants to be hassled by irritating politicians and C-SPAN obsessives while collecting a paycheck backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government?  Not you.  Doing blow just isn’t the same when Lou Dobbs is watching.

That, of course, is why you need me.  I am the perfect Chief Executive Officer for today’s American corporation.  Indeed I’d thrive in any of the most benighted of our country’s gentle giants.  Why?  I thought you’d never humor me by asking while mugging to your friend at an adjacent table.

I have no past. I don’t mean this like, “I don’t have a criminal record.” (Though at present I do not.)  What I mean is this: where am I from?  Who have I worked for?  What have I done for them?  What happened to my twin sister?  There is absolutely nothing for an enterprising young journalist to discover in my closet simply because my life before becoming Captain of Industry has been empty and pointless.  I haven’t made any of the occasional mistakes that give American business a bad name.  You needn’t worry about scandals anymore.  Nobody goes looking into the vice presidents.

I can pretend to understand anything. No one need know you’re hired an incompetent to direct a multibilliondollar enterprise.  I will stymie Board members and federal investigators alike with my clever tactic of speaking slowly and repeating everything said to me as a question.  Consider:

    Board member: Profits are off fifteen percent on the quarter.

    Me: Fifteen percent?

    Dilletante: Yes, we’ve lost significant market share since the details of Project Lambda became public.

    Me: Oh – market share?

    Obnoxious twat: For some reason investors don’t like to hear that we’re intentionally poisoning an entire Idaho town.

    Me: The whole town?

    Rabblerouser: So that it could be bought out and replaced with a theme park dedicated to Hannah Montana.

    Me: Miley Cyrus?

    I will do only what you tell me. Too often when a company runs into trouble, the government or some know-it-all

    Me with United Colors of Benneton office staff

    Me with United Colors of Benetton office staff

    douchebag on the Board insists on busing in a technocrat directly from Harvard Business School to turn your company around – a technocrat who might not see the wisdom in committing genocide in the name of a rural tween-themed menagerie.

    I have no such obstreperous moral compass.  I don’t know anything about your company and I don’t want to.  I’ll come in at 9:30, leave at 5, take long lunches and sign whatever is placed under my nose.  If necessary I can also develop a bumbling-but-loveable public personality to deflect public attention from the growing black hole emanating from the Accounts department.

    All gone!

    All gone!

    I am completely disposable. Let’s be honest.  I’m just along for the ride, and eventually your continued leadership will continue to degrade your company’s position. What then?  You get yourself a new CEO. I’m perfectly capable of faking my own death or getting caught up in an embarassing sex scandal/drug bust/furry-themed birthday party to help ease the transition. I go down to a humiliating end and ride off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.  You hire another blank suit to rubber-stamp your decisions.  Best of all, I won’t even require a golden parachute!  Your saavy leadership will be the talk of the Board, and there will be nary a wink or whimper from me.  Better to have loved and lost…

    Here’s the bottom line.  I need a job and you need a stooge.  We need each other.  The economy is going nowhere fast and you never know when the ground will fall out from underneath you.  When it does you have a choice. Boy genius with the MBA and career-ending zeal for “transparency,” or a sound, dependable man without particular scruples?

    I think the answer is simple:

    A whole town, Detective?

      I also earned 48 free burgers and 48 free shakes.  But this blog isn’t about me.  At least not the interesting parts.

      Try this instead.

      EUREKA!!!!!!

      23 July 2009

      I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS SONG FOR FIVE YEARS – AT LAST IT IS MINE!

      Thanks to Krista, Cassie, Shea and others who have all unsuccessfully helped me find it at one time or another.  Thanks to the creators of Daria who used it in the first season.  Thanks to the guy who uploaded French bootlegs of it onto Youtube.

      When I see a red door walking down 44th Street and have an overpowering urge to crash through it and disarm anyone inside.

      Again this is hardly new: but I don’t know how many people heard this, either.  (Thus risking the cultural irrelevance I so richly deserve.)

      Also, the song is irresistible.

      UPDATE: Also:

      On the one hand, I can’t help but love someone like Gary Ackerman, D-New York-Queens North, who wears a white carnation everyday:

      A gentleman, from sole to crown

      On the other hand I wonder about the judgment of a man who

      lives on a houseboat named the Unsinkable II while in Washington, D.C.

      Question: what happened to Unsinkable I?

      A prediction

      9 July 2009

      Michael Jackson’s as yet unreleased album will sell 100,000,000 copies worldwide in the year after it’s released.

      BYE BYE!

      Half-wit

      7 July 2009

      Conversing with a friend on Facebook chat this evening he made some apology for being witless as one of my snotty barbs got through.  I remarked that it couldn’t be helped – wit comes only from deep boredom.  Ennui, really.  Having not done real work for four years I’ve had a chance to be witty.  Half-witty, perhaps, but for a suburban kid from the new South this isn’t terrible.

      And then I thought about it.  Who do we think of as witty people?  The quintessential witty person is a sort of poor man’s Oscar Wilde, quick but either independently wealthy or diffident enough to be mindless to about their condition – and anyway not people of particular industry.  Bankers aren’t witty.  Businessmen aren’t witty.  Politicians are only witty insofar as they are both indifferent and a little bit put-upon by their own public life, which is why so few manage to successfully turn a phrase.  (Indeed, I’m having trouble thinking of any witty politicians.  Maybe the late Tony Banks MP, as he then was.  Feel free to offer nominations, though I feel like all the candidates are marginal at best – Senator Byrd, for instance.)

      Of course, this would be the reason why you’d be more likely to see witty Europeans in Parliament or in the French Assembly than in Congress.  Congress is typically a body of professionals – lawyers, occasionally doctors, businessmen often.  European legislatures have traditionally been bodies of semi-professional, increasing arriviste upper- and middle-class dilettantes who lack other occupation or diversion.  (This is why, for instance, American congressman have always been paid while British MPs were unsalaried until fifty years ago – it has always been realized that congressional service would be a financial burden to Americans, while those who take seats in Parliament were expected to have have the means to support it.)

      Now here’s a thing.  Based on this you might say wit is elitist, bourgeois, and evidence of a dissolute and unserious approach to life, public or private.  Americans generally, goes this logic, are less likely to be witty because we work.  (To be fair… they.)  Europeans, working less and having less to do (and perhaps lacking empires to manage?  Certainly lacking insurance companies and school lenders to pay)  have plenty of time to spend at leisure and engaged in intellectual pursuits, be they conversation, reading, whatever it is that engenders wit.  Americans are too busy making money as opposed to being wealthy. And it makes us, oddly, a bit dull.  Or at least seem dull off the traders’ floor.

      It’s an uncomfortable conclusion on either side – it implies that witlessness follows necessarily from work, which seems bourgoeis and just a wee bit snotty, in both the assumption and in the fact, while conversely suggesting that wit is wholly and merely a province of the well-monied, bored and, without putting too fine a point on it, French.  Personally I neither work much nor have much money, and I’m certainly not French.  So where this would leave me is uncertain.  Living up to the title of this post, presumably.  For a suburban kid from the new South I suppose that’s not bad.

      Answers welcome.