Prince and Beggar Alike
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We support the deities of old and their marvelous afterworlds, some of which are separated into "good folks" and "bad folks."
Yesterday I learned of the death of Ken Thomson, the richest man in Canada, chief stockholder of International Thomson, Inc. Mr. Thomson's net worth is estimated at $19.2 billion dollars. He had a loving children and has a son who is carrying on the good ol' family business. Also he donated his lavish art collection, estimated at more than $30 million, to a Canadian museum.
Mr. Thomson was 82.
Now he's trying to shove his skinny CEO butt through the eye of a needle. Astride a camel.
Mr. Thomson bought the mid-sized, family-owned business I worked for. He accelerated production schedules, laid off full-time salaried workers in favor of "independent contractors" (no benefits), and cared far less about quality than quantity. The product now sold by the Thomson subsidiary I used to work for is a shadow of its former self, a cubic zircon demoted from a diamond. And every day the product grows shoddier and shoddier, its standards lowered and its "independent contractors," even the trained ones, unable to meet the ever-increasing demands while dealing with the ever-dwindling fees for service.
In the 1980s, several hundred people earned a good living proudly producing a quality product. Today a skeleton staff depends on outside producers to create an item so inferior it's embarrassing. International Thomson has squeezed at least one business for every last drop of blood.
Is my experience the exception to the rule? Oh, I think not. Thomson owns so many different kinds of companies, and chances are every one of them has been similarly milked dry in the pursuit of that $19.6 BILLION.
But Death comes to us all, right kind readers? A day may come when wealthy people like Ken Thomson can get their organs cloned and live to be 400, but it's not here yet. So, just like the poor, innocent Black guy strapped to a gurney for a lethal injection, or the poor little old lady who can't afford her heart pills, Ken's toast.
If he was a Christian, he'd better hope he got to the Pearly Gates as thin as a sewing thread. Because otherwise, all the ordinary little folks like me who've gotten downsized in "revised head counts" will show up on his Celestial Resume.
In fact, the bored gods tell me you can't buy your way into any pleasant afterlife, no matter how well-heeled you are. That went out with the Egyptians and has never returned.
Bon Voyage, Ken. Nice camel.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
REVISED HEAD COUNT VICTIM, 2004