Let me just see if I’ve got this right, Corporate Overlords.
What we’re supposed to do, first off, is we’re supposed to sell most of our waking hours to you. We’re supposed to get up at dawn, and we’re supposed to get ready to come into any of your various hives.
We’re supposed to shave the hair off of certain parts of ourselves, or possibly trim it like landscaping, depending on gender. Make sure we’re clean and combed. Get some fresh, non-threatening clothing on, and our smiles.
Sure, that takes an hour or so, altering our natural appearances to your preferences. That extra hour, that’s on us – you’re welcome. Don’t even worry about it.
Similarly, we get into our cars, which we bought from Corporate Overlords with loans from Corporate Overlords, and that time we spend in the cars, driving in a massive, undulating lemming stampede across the morning – that’s on us, too.
I mean, anyone who’s got a job is lucky to have it, right?
The jobs that are so precious involve facilitating sales people as they shovel money and food into your gargantuan corporate maw. Sometimes they need a different kind of shovel, sometimes they need a drink, sometimes they just need someone to yell at, remind themselves of their superiority – that’s where we come in.
Other jobs involve helping computer systems exchange information – a process to be accomplished through integrated networks in the near future, but not yet. Not all of them. Some of them require us to gather information from telephones and monitors and print-outs. Enter it in there manually.
Data entry is good for the soul, yes?
Nothing to do with us, our roles in your behemoth operation. Like Cool Hand Luke, just dig the hole, and then turn around and shovel the dirt back into it. What do we care? It’s a paycheck, right? We’re lucky we’re getting one.
Damn it, Luke, what’s all this dirt doing in my hole? Better get it out of there.
What happens if our company does great, turns a huge profit this quarter? Nothing – we get paid the same.
What happens if things are crappy, and profits take a dive? Tough break – some of us get laid off.
And that’s supposed to be fine with us, sell our lives to you for a dwindling return. You slide little blocks of the price tag right out from under us – health care, retirement, 401k, dental plans. Like a psychopathic game of Jenga, you must be wondering, how long will this teetering structure stand?
Doesn’t matter to you, though. You’ve shipped so many jobs out of the country, leaving so many desperate people living out the Grapes of Wrath with Happy Meals and iPods instead of wagons and fried dough.
Any time one of us crumbles, any time a Jenga tower topples over, you can just slap your Corporate Overlord forehead and say, “Oh, man!”
Then move on to the next structure. Start sliding the pieces out – it’s great fun, isn’t it?
We’d better follow the rules, too. Put the wrong message up on our Facebook pages, slap the wrong bumper sticker on our cars, fail to kiss the right ass with enough sincerity and dedication, and you don’t even wait to slide the Jenga pieces out.
No, your minions have the power to simply push the whole thing over and stand over our smoking ruins, their blazers and ties and sculpted eyebrows furrowed in power-mad avarice, like Gollum with cool, five-word titles. Senior Vice President of Inside Marketing. Director of Human Resources and Jenga Management. Dark Lord of The One Ring.
Yes, and it’s not just the rules of the hives where we work, it’s all the rules, of all your Corporate Pals. Even the crazy ones, like the one where I put money in my bank account, and write a check to Charlie for twenty bucks. But if Charlie goes to the bank to get it, you charge him five of the twenty dollars.
My money. My check. You get to keep five bucks – what are we supposed to do about it, sue you?
You make the rules, and for some reason we let you, even though there are more of us than there are of you. Even though you need us to survive. Because we’re weak, short-sighted cowards. Because we’ve forgotten how to live, and how to fight.
We stop by the gas station on the way home from the hive, after another forty minutes of free drive time, and right there it says without irony on the gas pump – REMAIN AT THE PUMP THROUGHOUT THE REFUELING! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY SPILLS!
You just turned the Gulf of Mexico into your own personal toilet, and suddenly you can’t see your own five million signs.
You sunk a well so deep in the ocean you have no idea how to repair it – like a sea monster movie waiting to happen. Does a bad idea really have to have a sign on it? Or did you really and sincerely not care?
Your spokesperson – what is he called, your familiar? Like a warlock’s apprentice, can this guy shapeshift into a cat?
Because after he said, “You know, I’m pretty sure there are shrimp in other places in the world.”
Well, that’s what we expected him to do, shapeshift into a cat.
You probably think that the coming hurricane season is just nature’s way of flushing the toilet for you, just one of those auto-flushers, so you don’t have to touch the handle.
This is disgusting.
You are disgusting.
And so are we, for letting you grow into such vast and soulless abominations. We’re disgusting for showing up, every day, to clip your toenails. For giving you and your winged monkey salesmen a bunch of sponge baths and enemas. For aspiring to be like them, for worshipping the commercialized, consumer crap that you hypnotize us into believing we need.
When I look at the world, and what you’ve done to it, that’s all I keep coming back to – that we let you do it. That we watched television while you rented our souls from us. That we hung around holding pool cues like slack-jawed extras from The Accused, watching while you raped our planet on a pinball machine. That we smiled and offered you a refill on your iced tea, while you ate our children’s futures, and crapped them into the ocean.
I truly despise what you are, and what you’ve done, and I wish it was just as simple as you being Darth Vader and us being a bunch of plucky rebels.
But the truth is, I often feel like you are giving us exactly what we deserve, Corporate Overlords.
I really wish with all my heart that I could return the favor.
The Curse of Future Tom