June 14, 2006
The Language of the
in my town, a thing called the University Club, which lives at the top
of a building where there is most certainly no university. (Sort of like
the “Corporate Center” at Bug Zapper State.) This building, rather, is
home of a venerable bank and a venerable law firm.
I am not a
member of the University Club. Woody Allen’s statement, that he would
never belong to any club that would have him as a member, also applies
to me. But I was recently invited to lunch there by someone who
obviously had no idea what she was getting into.
10-story elevator ride reached Floor 4, in walked two rather
corporatistic-looking women, who pressed the button for Floor 9. They
could have been from the bank or the law firm – it hardly mattered – but
no sooner did they step in to the elevator than the following thought
entered my mind:
elevator ride ends, I will hear at least two corporate clichés.
I put my
right hand behind my back.
going to the Wellness Symposium?” said Woman One.
my right index finger. That’s one.
Woman Two. “I have to go to the Diversity Luncheon.”
elevator arrived at Floor 9, the two Corporatistic Women departed to
prepare for the Wellness Symposium and the Diversity Luncheon, and I
started wondering if they serve anything good for lunch at the
University Club where there is no university.
started wondering if they would, at some point during the day, get
around to discussing how to sell more banking, or lawyering, or
performing same, or whatever it is that they do.
all for wellness. Just think how crappy everything would be without it.
And I’m all for diversity. I get tired of most people in about the time
it takes to ride an elevator with them – so I constantly need a fresh
behind “sustainability,” because I hate when singers can’t hold those
long notes. And I applaud any company that decides to “go green,”
because traditional corporate blue logos are extremely passé.
doubt that my elevator-riding companions talk like this when they go
home at night to their husbands, their children, their cats or their
“life companions” as the case may be. They probably walk in the door
and, take off their blazers and shout to whomever is within earshot,
of like when the Hulk starts his reverse-metamorphosis back to Dr. David
Banner. You can only function as a corporate-speaking automaton so long
before your brain returns to human mode and things seem normal again.
Except it occurs to you that you weren’t wearing torn up purple pants
before . . .
and more establishment-oriented the company, the more likely you will
find this odd variation on the Tower of Babel phenomenon. The CEOs of
the establishment businesses in any town have all known each other for
years, played golf together, served on the same community boards, been
solicited by the same nonprofits – their lexicon develops as
distinctively as that of teens on MySpace.com.
In the end,
this probably hurts nothing, and it gives snarky non-establishment types
something to amuse themselves with. I just hope my two elevator friends
found some time that day to actually get some work done, because
somewhere else in town there is probably a smaller bank or a smaller law
firm that doesn’t speak the language of the Corporate Hulk, but
understands the meaning of steal your clients.
are something you might need to hang onto, unless my friends can get
someone to pay them for being well and diverse.
© 2006 North Star
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