The Corner Office

                                    (after the New York Times)



CEO: InferCo

Q: How did you get the job?

A: I had a difference of opinion with my Previous Supervisor. Among other things, I really wanted to charge for admission up there, with a small percentage of the proceeds to go to me, because this not-for-profit attitude was making the project environment completely static-just Joy, Joy, Joy, with no almonds, if you know what I mean.

Q: So what happened?

A: Well, my supervisor and I had a frank exchange of ideas when I attempted to initiate trading in admissions futures. Basically I wanted to encourage our patrons to try to increase their hostly ranking by speculating in positive and negative decisions at the point of entry. I called it GateTrades. Then I wanted to derivatize some instruments based on those investors who seemed to have a knack-like the maverick who said that Michael Jackson, Irving Penn, and William Safire would not only get in but not even have to have the usual security check. Counter-intuitive. I go in for counter- in general.

Q: It sounds like you basically wanted to take over. Is that fair?

A: Well, it's no secret that I would have welcomed a chance for more responsibility.

Q: So you decided to go out on your own.

A: Thanks for putting it that way. Very diplomatic. Maybe you'd like a spot in corporate communications with our outfit. Heh heh. Heh heh heh heh. HA HA HA HA,

Q: You've run this organization with what seems to be increasing success and volume. What are some of your secrets?

A: I would be lying, as usual, if I didn't just admit that more and more patrons seem to be deciding to opt for our services all on their own. Many of our major demographics are growing so rapidly we can hardly keep up with them. Especially telemarketing tycoons and health-insurance executives -- they're all on the increase. But that's not really a problem for us, since overcrowding itself fits right in with our agenda.

Q: You still haven't told me about any innovations you may have made.

A: And? Your point being?

Q: Um, sorry. Never mind. Don't get angry.

A: Just funning with you. We've digitized many of our operations, like a new sound system that captures the loudest and softest of our patrons' responses to our services and plays them back 24/7/365 at a volume that Bose never dreamed of. And we have niche venues now -- instead of nine circles there are 47 Specialty Areas. No, wait -- 48. We just opened the Interviewer Inn.

Q: Oh my God -- really?

A: Watch your language, Buddy. Nah, don't sweat it. Get it? Listen, I know you have to talk to me, but I can't take all the credit. We have a great team here -- Oriax, over in Inhuman Resources, Beelzebub, our Deputy Director, Adramalech, who can really bring it when it comes to eliminating what I really hate-downtime -- and so on. In fact, one of my pet accomplishments is introducing the word "team" in non-sports contexts of human activities.

Q: Well, thank you for your time.

A: It's OK -- I've got nothing but. Where is this going to appear, by the way?

Q: On Page 4 or 5 of the Business Section, probably. Where it always is, alas.

A: Well, I can get it on Page 1, if you want to make a deal.  You know, I still enjoy a personal negotiation from time to time.

Q: It's tempting, but--

A: Journalism is tough these days -- more and more people competing for the few slots that are left. So much free content to overcome.


Q: Nah, but thanks.

A: Page 1?


Q: No, thanks, really.

A: Above the fold?


Q: Deal!

--Daniel Menaker is the Editor of Grin & Tonic




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A Private Venus

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