When I am King: O, Besity!

When I am King...

Children will no longer be fed.

Ours is truly a growth society - we’re growing fat. Clothing sizes are getting larger, our cars have become monstrously huge just to fit us, and entire industries have sprung up in the medical community to help us get back to a reasonable size so that we can do it all again.

The only things that haven’t compensated for our girth growth are airplane seats, which are still built for the body of an average 8 year old anorexic. Of course, this dynamic is intentional, helping to make air travel the wonderful experience that it is.

Last year, Disney World had to fix up their “It’s a Small World” ride. For one thing, they had to make the boats more buoyant to keep our massive bodies afloat. Also, they plan to rename the ride, with the top contenders being:
  • It’s a Big, Fat World
  • It’s Not a Very Small World Anymore
  • It’s a Small World with Huge-Ass People
  • Caution: Boats May Sink

There are many theories on our growth curve. Is it the sugary drinks we suck down like we’re racing to put out an intestinal forest fire? Is it the fast food that we supersize just in case we don’t get another meal this decade? Is it the food itself, so filled with preservatives that we’re being mummified in life? Is that we buy so much food at these warehouse stores that we have to eat larger portions just as a means of storing it in our houses? Or are we parents stuffing our children at an early age, responding to some obsolete and disturbing instinct of fattening up our domestic animals for consumption?

My ministry has been studying the problem and has come to the following conclusion: we need look no further than our children. That's a good thing, because they're getting so huge we can't see past the little porkers.

Any parents out there know that when your kid is involved in activity, any activity, from a sport to a scouting group to a book club, there has to be snacks. Some parent is involved in coming up with the snack schedule, and then all of the parents end up bringing snacks on their turn. Donuts, juice boxes, cookies, candy, some token fruit which usually goes uneaten, chips, pizza… there’s always food at these things. And if you ever suggest actually not bringing food, the other parents stare at you in horror. “They’ll need a snack! They’ve been in school for two whole hours after lunch!” Never mind that the activity ends right before dinner time and you’ve just stuffed them with enough junk to fill a piƱata; they must be fed.

So the kids go on with their activities, eating more all the time, getting them into a habit of gorging themselves that will have them crushing their bathroom scales in adulthood.

When I am King, there will be no more snacktivities. In fact, there will be no more food for children at all. We will keep them on a strict IV-drip diet to ensure that they get just enough nutrients to survive (ours is not a cruel regime). We must reverse the fattening trend and get our young ‘uns back down to where they should be. We will give them a good place to start from, so that they can have plenty of time to grow into the obese adults that we know they’re capable of becoming.

And now, I’ll leave you with a song. This is one of the jingles being considered for Disney’s revamped ride:
It’s a world of food, and a world of drink,
It’s a world of eating, till we can’t think.
There’s so much that we eat
That it’s time we agreed
It’s a fat world after all.

It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat, fat world.

There are happy meals that we supersize,
And those chicken parts taste so good with large fries.
Now it’s harder to hide
‘Cause our butts are so wide
It’s a fat world after all.

It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat world after all.
It’s a fat, fat world.


Little Jokes for Thursday

I wonder:
Do horses have stable relationships?

Are roosters hen-pecked?

Do pigs have pen pals?


Corporate Survival Guide: Doorway to Success

“Power,” as a great general may have said once, “is gained not through great works, but by great rumors.” It doesn’t matter what you actually do, but rather what others think you might have done. This is as true on the corporate battlefield as it is in real life, particularly in the mad, scheming power-grab that is your everyday office life.

One of the easiest ways to generate buzz is through visible interaction with your management chain. I call it: “The Doorway to Success.”

Try this: walk over to your boss’s office and say loudly, just outside the office, “I’ve got to talk to you, now!” Then quickly enter the office and shut the door audibly. Then ask your boss something innocuous, like “How was your weekend?” or “Nice shoes! Where’d you get them?” In a pinch, you can also try, “Whoops, forgot what I was was going to say! Don’t you hate it when that happens?”

Once the conversation is over, open the door and move quickly back to your desk with an intense look of constipation on your face. Pretend that there’s an alien trying to bust out of your chest, and you’re keeping it trapped inside through sheer willpower.

After you do this a couple of times, you’ll notice heads of coworkers popping above the nearby cube walls like prairie dogs at dinnertime; everyone wants to know what’s going on. Of course, there is nothing happening - it was all pretense. But that’s my point: it’s the same thing.

There are two impressions that you’ve created in your coworkers through this action:
  • Something big is going down: People don’t usually get worked up in the office except when the coffee maker is broken or a toilet overflows. Seeing someone agitated and talking to management about the issue must mean that something is happening that’s pretty important.
  • You know something about it: This is the most important element. It’s less important what you know than the fact that you know it and they don’t. It is critical to follow-through on this with your coworkers. Some will wander by and hint subtly that they’d like to know what’s going on, but you need to avoid dropping any hints, while still looking that you could. Some will just come out and ask you what you know. Feel free to tell these people that you can’t say anything, and that you’re surprised they don’t know. It’s always good to take people down a peg when you can, because your importance in the hierarchy is always relative to those around you.
Of course, this tactic works best when your boss has an office. Stomping loudly into the cube and asking how their tennis game is coming along doesn’t work nearly as well.

If your manager has a cube, here are a couple of alternatives to think about:
  • Find a door: Tell the boss in their cube that you need to talk, but not here. Then bring them through your department, taking a circuitous route past as many coworkers as possible, continuing to repeat things like, “It’s really important” and “We need a private place to talk about this” and maybe some tidbits like, “I don’t know how The Board is going to deal with this.” Finally, drag the boss into an unoccupied office or meeting room and proceed as above. (Bathroom stalls generally don’t work as well, as they tend to give the conversation an entirely different flavor and your boss may try to call security).
  • Find someone else: Frankly, if your boss has a cube, you should probably find someone more important. Offices are a mark of distinction on the corporate battlefield, like promotions or executives knowing your name (or at least guessing at it). The subtle message from the executives to the cube-bearing manager is, “You’re not important enough to have private conversations.” So why are you wasting your time talking to them? Find someone that is that important; you should pretend to be in the know with people that actually are.
Finally, be sure not to overplay this strategy. People will only buy it if they think you are getting secret information at reasonable intervals. Also, your manager may start wondering why you keep making such a big deal of asking them what they had for lunch, or how they take their coffee, or how to request lumbar support for your office chair. I’d suggest limiting the “Doorway to Success” technique to no more than ten times per day.


Death Rattle & Hum

The calendar’s days were numbered.
The mantle clock’s time was up.
The condiments all were dried out and gone
Except one, which soon would ketchup.

The short man was not very long for this world;
His house was one big deathtrap.
The welcome mat lay at death’s doorway
And his dog drank just one final lap.

The man thought he’d live forever,
That his time on this Earth would be long.
But he failed and he passed away one day;
It turns out he was just plain dead wrong.


Corporate Survival Guide: Add Spies to Life

Success on the corporate battlefield is all about information: what you know and how you use it. But there are always two kinds of information: the data that you have and, and, and that other stuff.

On the battlefield of corporate life, it is inevitable that your enemies will discover facts about you that you would rather be kept private. For example, they may have pictures from your trip to Vegas when you woke up with a massive hangover and three young goats. Or they may know about the torrid affair with Smith from HR. Or perhaps they discovered the pack of lies you call your resume. Or maybe they witnessed the simple misunderstanding between you and the other internal candidate for the Supervisor position, where you beat them to death with your hole punch.

Nobody leads a perfect life, especially warriors bent on success upon the battlefield. As the book “Flawless Fellows Finish Fifteenth” claims, good people have bad careers.

So what do you do about information leaks? How can you protect your career while also doing what you must to get ahead?

One solution is to simply lead a better life.

But seriously, you need to learn to control the damage. There are two approaches that I recommend to today’s corporate warrior: Counter Espionage and Spin.

Spy vs. Spy

Ever since Brutus got the point across to Julius Caesar that a little more intel on his friends would have been helpful, unscrupulous tyrants have understood that spy networks are a critical part of getting and keeping power. How else would King Arthur have known of his knights’ lancing a lot with his wife? Or how else could Neville Chamberlain have successfully achieved peace for our time without secret intelligence that Hitler merely wanted a vacation home in Czechoslovakia? And how could any parent possibly trust their teenage kid without paying their friends to nark on them?

Spying is a critical and necessary part of power. And it’s fun, to boot!

What you need to do is get the same kind of information on your coworkers that they could get on you. But you have to go further. Remember: you don’t just want to maintain parity with them like some awkward Cold War. No, you want to crush them like carpet-bombing an afternoon tea party. This means that you have to act first and act fast. Spy on them, find out things they don’t want publicized, and fill your secret files.

On rare occasion, you will come across people that have nothing to hide. Perhaps they are actually happily married, don’t sleep around with people at work, and haven’t even committed a felony. However unlikely, you must be prepared to deal with this situation, either by forcing the situation (which usually involves getting them drunk and making the compromising situations happen), or by just making stuff up. Fabrication is perfectly fine, as long as it would be damaging in the extreme cannot be proven to be false. Politicians have built entire careers on this single tactic.

Now that you have the information, you can decide what to do with it. If you have the upper hand because they do not yet have anything on you, then you may choose to run with it. You could take the information to them and squeeze them hard for such things as promotions, recommendations, or permanent cutsies in the cafeteria line. Or, depending on how dangerous they are to you in the chain of command, you may want to leak the information now and be rid of them. One less person on the payroll is one less body in the promotion and bonus shark tank.


The other approach to secrets is to use yours to your advantage. Depending on the information that someone has on you, you may choose to simply message it appropriately. For example, that affair with the person in HR could be used to paint you as someone who is willing to sleep your way to the top. This trait could be seen by your management as a benefit, depending on how blind and desperate they are.

Regardless of which approach you take, start building your ammunition dump now. If information is power, then secret information is superpower, like X-Ray vision or running really fast in a spandex suit. Get that information and crush your enemies, for the good of humanity, or at least your career.