i am america
May 24, 2002 11:27 PM

So as of Tuesday, I work for The Man. I am corporate America and all that. I am America on so many levels. This morning on NPR Morley Safer was getting all damp over a man who won a medal of honor and then protested the Vietnam war. How brave that was. Like it wasn't a responsibility. Morley and I had words. Words like "chickenshit" and "irresponsible shirking pansy press", as I recall.

The frequency with which I feel a need to yell at the NPR on my way to and from work has been steadily increasing over the past six months. They packed up the car in September and have been slowly winding their way to meet CNN ever since. And I don't believe CNN went anywhere. Essentially, the press is all gathering just right of center. Perhaps there's a reunion of sorts, metaphorically.

Nearly everyone is living just right of center since September.

And I'm working for The Man. This is all, of course, somewhat contingent on me finding some sort of identification beyond a driver's license, which isn't as yet going so well. I know my social security card is well and truly lost, and efforts at replacing it have yielded little, but I also can't find a copy of my birth certificate.

Ironically, in order to get a driver's license you need a social security card. Once lost, your social security card can be replaced, provided you have a driver's license. At least, this is how it goes in Virginia (where your license number is your SSN). Which begs the question: why do you need both? Isn't my driver's license then essentially a social security card with driving permissions?

And I said that we might settle down
Get a few acres dug
Fire burning in the hearth
And babies on the rug
She said, "O man, you foolish man
That surely sounds like hell
You might be lord of half the world
You'll not own me as well"

I've learned something important in the last year: there's no such thing as The Man. It's a lesson we all could stand to learn. I don't know how many times I'll repeat this before it gets well and truly heard.

There's no such thing. Yes, corporations and governments are legal entities. But they are all also made of people. No one just has power, it's given. Vested, so to speak.

[A random thing that strikes me as ironic: the supposed higher incidence of homosexuality in the priesthood vs. the general populace could have some sort of semantic origin. Combining the statistical likelihood (a certain modeler will, I hope, be amused by this enough to overlook the specious use of the term "statistic" in this context) of homosexual men to wear vests with the "power vested in me" concept. In other words, maybe we all just confuse all those priests talking about vests (which of course, they're not actually doing) into a belief that they're gay.]

I always assumed I'd hate being corporate America, being America in any form. But I was wrong. As much as anyone is these things, I've been them all along.

And the truth is. I'm relieved to be working for The Man. Really, truly, relieved.

Hard as it may be to believe, this is the entry I wrote in response to the May On Display after my last day and exit interview with the small company that took me on a brilliantly Dantean journey through most of the year 2001. I'm glad to move on.

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