When I was a kid, there was an entity that everybody pretty much had contempt for. It was a thing called the Company Man. The Company Man was owned by the Company. He dressed the way the Company said to dress. His opinions and his attitudes were shaped by the Company. He was generally faceless, because his face was the face of the Company. Poor dude, we thought. To sell your soul to the Company store like that. Pathetic. So I find it kind of interesting that today everybody I know has devolved to that status. You can't really call it a Company Man anymore, because that is genderist. I'll just say that we're all Company People. I know a fellow who works for Google. He totes around an Android, the phone sold by his company in its store. He loves it. Like everybody else I know, he says "we" when he talks about his firm. He gets really defensive when people say anything against the Goog. My friend Larry works for Satan. I won't reveal the human form that Satan is taking in his dealings with Larry, but believe me, he's quite effective. Does Larry mind working for Satan? Not at all. "He's a really nice guy when you get to know him," Larry tells me. I believe him. Ted Bundy was charming, too. My pal Danny works in terrestrial radio, a business that has been disrespected by the fad-crazy media but actually produces billions of dollars of profit every year for its proprietors, at good margins. "I got satellite radio in this car I'm renting," he told me the other day. "It's pretty good. But I'd never subscribe to it." I asked him why, if he liked it. "It would be like getting a season ticket to the Yankees," he said. Danny bleeds Red Sox red. So I knew what he meant. And then there's me. I have worked for the same company for more than 20 years. I didn't intend to. I've been begging them to put me on the beach for years. But here I still am. Same job, even, only bigger. Same chair, too. Why change it? You know how hard it is to get a comfortable chair?
Anyway, lately I find I hate the stuff made by our competitors. I won't tell you what that is, but I can say that whenever I run into it -- on a plane, in a store, in somebody else's house -- I just despise it. If I'm exposed to it, I want to get away from it. If somebody expresses even mild approval of it, I feel like killing them. This Company mentality expands to fill all areas of my working life. Take this blog, for instance. It's on a specific Web destination that is in competition with some others, although competition on the Internet is somewhat weird. People cruise all over the place all day and hit just about everything in the sector in which they have an interest. But still. There are sites that go mano-a-mano against this one. And I loathe them. I wish them ill. I want them to go away. I don't frequent them. I wish it could be different. My competitors are everywhere. And I hate them. I'm mildly annoyed by people who don't, in fact. It's possible we're all like dogs. We start life looking like ourselves, and after some time we end up looking like our owners. Why not? They're the ones holding the box of biscuits, I guess.