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The Corporatorium: I Am Prometheus (Episode One)

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I am Prometheus. Prometheus. Say it slowly, roll the letters around in your mouth. Prometheus. It is not my real name but it is name most fitting for me. Prometheus, the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, chained to a rock, his liver eaten daily by an eagle, in eternal damnation for stealing fire and gifting it to mankind. Yes, there are definite similarities between us.
I am Prometheus, and this is my story. Except it’s not my story. I wish it was, but I am not unique or special. This is the story of untold millions of hapless chaps and chicklets caught up in the grinding gears of the corporate machine.
This is a faux memoir told episodically. You will be inclined, at times, to laugh at us, and cry for us. Do not hold back either impulse. That is the point of sharing this story—to remind us that life is nothing but a series of small comedies and tragedies. What is important is what we take away from each occurrence, what we learn from each calamity and joy.
What will be…

The Corporatorium: 500 Below (Season 2, Episode 3)

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It was my birthday. Actually, my birthday had been three weeks earlier, but Ivy, who was responsible for my birthday celebration, had forgotten, thus my actual birthday slipped by unnoticed. Until today, anyway.
We would be going to lunch at 500 Below, she informed us—a chic new eatery which reached new heights on the Richter Scale of pretension and snobbery. Imagine the St Regis recast in black rubber, copperplate and plastic. They did not take reservations, but when you arrived for lunch at 11:45, the maĆ®tre d’, would look down from his unreasonable height, over his glasses and down his beaked nose, and peck a message of unwelcome out of your flesh: “Unfortunately, there’ll be a wait of at least forty-five minutes. You can wait in the bar.” He would say this in a tone that was both haughty and mournful; he would say this despite the fact that you could see the restaurant was empty.
The other thing about the restaurant was it was “calorie-wise”—every item on the menu was five hundred …

The Corporatorium: Gala (Season 2, Episode 2)

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ernest!, unrelenting in his criticism, and unwilling to bend, had accused the company of using money instead of true action to try and dissuade others from the veracity of his accusations. In response, Lizzy Borden started sponsoring all sorts of events combating discrimination of every stripe, sending an army of employees and leaders to parrot scripted messages of support and decrying white privilege while marching in lockstep, in flawlessly tailored suits, with Social Justice Warriors. Ted Talks, conferences galas and balls were financially supported indiscriminately and with equal zeal.
This worked relatively well until Lizzie Borden ended up sponsoring a high-profile gala for an LGBTQ social justice organization, Community Advancement Coalition (CAC), nicknamed Caviar and Champagne for their penchant for throwing $1,000 per plate fundraisers. Having sponsored the gala, and purchasing a table for 10, she had discovered, to no one’s surprise but her own, that scraping the barrel of l…

The Corporatorium: The Ernestness of Being (Season 2, Episode 1)

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Nigel Gale @MannequinMan Have you seen ernest!’s column today?
Barbara @Harvard06 No, not before my morning tea!
Prometheus Jones @Theus I just read it. You may want to read it on an empty stomach
Just Plain Terry (JPT) @FierceQueen Honestly, ernest! is always seeing racists under the bed.
Prometheus Jones @Theus Well, in his defense, when your only tool is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail.
Barbara @Harvard06 Well, for someone with a degree in journalism, he doesn’t follow any of the rules of impartiality.
ernest! had gone to the same Ivy League institution as Barbara the first, but he’d managed to circumvent accusations of privilege and access by casting his undergraduate years not as a stroll through hallowed, ivy-covered halls, but rather as an unavoidable incarceration in a PWI—Predominately White Institution. Barbara wore her Harvard degree like a gold star; ernest! wore his like a Purple Heart.
ernest!’s eponymous biweekly blog, The Ernestness of Being, routinely triggered rash…

A Fatherless Father's Day

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I remember the accident as if it was yesterday.
I had been living in Washington, D.C. for three years. That particular morning, a Saturday, I was running late for work. It was a gray, wet morning at the edge of Winter. Heavy rain, like molten white gold, fell from an aluminum sky as I blazed along at 80 mph. A gray car merged onto the roadway from the right, then proceeded to move into my lane without signaling. The car was moving so slowly it looked like it was moving backwards. I pressed the brakes hard, pumping steadily with increasing pressure, my right hand tight on the gearshift ready to down shift. Realizing collision was inevitable, I glanced at the speedometer: 60. The impact sent my little car spinning towards the concrete divider separating west-bound traffic from east. The world seemed upside down. I remember thinking, I’m going to die and I never got to be friends with my father. I glanced up at the sky, oddly unafraid, and I swear I saw the hand of God reach down and stop…

Peeing With the Girls: A Bathroom Saga

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The mystery surrounding bathrooms have always been, well, a mystery to me.
When we were kids, our mother had a friend who had a daughter who was around the same age as my younger brother and me. When they came over, the three of us kids would head off to our bedroom to play. One day in the middle of playing my brother said he had to go to the bathroom, so Michelle and I went with him. He sat on the toilet and Michelle and I perched on the edge of the tub. Vernon cracked a joke and Michelle leapt to her feet and laughing nudged his shoulder—a bit too hard. My brother who was, at the time, extremely thin, fell bottom down into the toilet. Unable to free him, we called for our mothers. Once they had extricated him, Michelle’s mother looked at Michelle and asked her what she had been doing in the bathroom anyway.
“We were playing,” I explained reasonably, “and Vernon had to go to the bathroom, so we came with him.” I remember Michelle’s mother repeating she shouldn’t have been in the bath…

Toby & Larry: An Unconditional Love Story

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Even now, after all is said and done, after thirteen years together, after he is gone, I find it hard to explain Toby and me.
December 10, 2005. Princeton, New Jersey: The first time ever I saw his face.
There was snow on the ground. The air was frigid and dense with the hope of finding “the one,” and at the same time like a vacuum of held breath. Above the chaos, a leaden sky sagged, gray and heavy with inarticulate hope.
“Is that Toby?” I asked a woman walking by. “It is,” she said. He was as handsome as he was in his pictures online; I leaned down, breathless, and he, unexpectedly, jumped into my arms, landing on my chest. Our hearts collided, seemed to stop for a moment and continued to beat in synchrony; his next exhaled breath matched mine exactly. The next breath, drawn in surprise, also in synch.
We were Toby’s fourth home in less than two years. I spoke to his original owner once, just briefly. He explained that Toby had behavioral problems, which had prompted him to give Toby …

Ode to Words (Part 3): Silence

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My father taught me the value of silence. It was from him that I learned it takes more strength to hold your tongue than to loose it. Daddy was always the quiet one in our house. My mother’s voice was the dominant, reasoning soundtrack. My brothers’ voices were like murmurs on the wind .I was the noisy, unruly, talkative one. I was “like a clapper bell from hell,” my quiet father insisted.
I spent my adolescence resenting my father’s silence, my twenties and thirties trying to understand it, only to discover in my forties that daddy wasn’t intentionally silent: he only spoke the words that needed to be spoken. By the time I entered my 50s, he ended nearly every phone call with “I love you.” He used his words sparingly, saying only what needed to be said. If he told me over and over that he loved me it was because he knew I needed to hear he loved me.
For me, noisy kid that I was, my father’s silence was particularly jarring when set against my mother’s loquaciousness. Her words like foo…