The Lite Side

The CEO and the Tiger

(With apologies to Frank R Stockton.)

- 2005.04.14

Continuing our long tradition of literary excellence, the Lite Side is proud to bring you:

The CEO and the Tiger

Part One: In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric CEO, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant civilized neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done.

When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in their appointed courses, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and close the windows on recalcitrant operating systems.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the operating system, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his employees were refined and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The computer of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of music or wondrous words, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people.

This vast architecture, with its encircling cables, its mysterious BIOS chips, and its unseen proprietary code, was an agent of poetic justice, in which unconformity was punished and virtue rewarded by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a competitor created an innovation of sufficient importance to interest the CEO, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the person would be decided in the lobby of the building, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a CEO, knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the CEO, surrounded by his board, sat high up on his throne of a stable multivibration on one side of the lobby, he gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the potential customer stepped out into the amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the inclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the customer to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance.

If he opened the one, there came out of it a highly advanced Tiger, the most advanced and useful Tiger that could be built. Whereupon the CEO's board told the people they should not accept the man, and through Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, they tore the customer asunder.

The moment that the fate of the customer was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired bloggers posted on the outer rim of the lobby, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.

Stay tuned to the Lite Side to learn the fate of the CEO and the fierce Tiger.

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