America's Corporate Dinner Table


A little slice of conversation from America's corporate dinner table:

Father says, "I've been reviewing our monthly expenses and, while we are experiencing record breaking income due your hard work, I believe our status in the neighborhood could be improved with a few changes. These minor alterations in our overall organization will undoubtedly result in an increase in the value of my presence at various local functions as well as a greater standing in the multi-neighborhood competition for prestige in tomorrow's world."

"Dear," he began, " you have always been there for the family when we needed you. As a wife, you will be difficult to replace, but we must. Your inability to provide food and clothing for yourself and the two children on the, admittedly, meager budget I arbitrarily set is unacceptable. I expected your performance to improve when I again cut your budget last week but, since it has continued to be a problem, I am giving you notice to clean out your closet and remove your belongings from the premises. While I regret that you will receive no parting benefits or funds, you can rest assured that I will be happy to write a letter of recommendation, should you have the occasion to need one. Sadly, though, I'm afraid that nearly all heads of families are letting their mothers and/or wives go, as there are many younger, part-time workers available, living in the poorer downtown areas, who will cheaply fulfill all necessary functions."

"Children, I'm sure you are wondering what your life will be like without the Mother you have known for so long. Only one of you, actually, has to face that future. Little Billy, I'm afraid that your friend from down the street, Judas, has offered himself to my family as a part-time son at a much reduced monthly cost with no expectations regarding his being cared for beyond basic but miniscule wages and no job security or health benefits. While I am aware that he will not show the loyalty, hard work and trustworthiness you have shown over the years, he is also easily replaceable with nearly any of the other neighborhood boys who will soon be let go by their respective families and who also need food and temporary shelter."

"Cindy, my delightful daughter, I congratulate you on being kept on in my family. Of course, as there are duties no longer being performed by the departing family members, those duties will fall to you. While I realize that your present position in third grade is a demanding one and that much of your time is spent either at school or in your room doing homework, I'm afraid that you will also now be responsible for all house and yard keeping activities. I understand that the increased work load might be a burden but there is no funding budgeted for a raise in your allowance. I'm certain that you will exhaust yourself in these endeavors since, as you have undoubtedly noticed, replacing you will be no problem if you do not succeed to my rather high expectations."

"Now for some good news! As there has now been a significant reduction in operating expenses, I have decide to not only grant myself a hefty bonus for the year but I have recently proposed a merger with the cheerleader daughter of my, now, ex-brother-in-law. We expect to see great growth in our new family in the years to come with additional lay-offs as needed to keep me living in the style I have every reason to become accustomed to."

"I want to thank you all for your past efforts on my behalf and wish you the best in your individual enterprises. I understand that the various service industries are possibly hiring and, if the illegal immigrants have not already secured those positions, then you will face a wonderful future of low wages, no benefits and no job security. I will be thinking of you while vacationing in Europe. Well, actually, no, I won't."

Write to me before you're downsized and lose your on-line connection (jcannon@concentric.net or see my Web Page at http://www.concentric.net/~jcannon/ or in care of this paper). Good luck to all of you.

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