Infiltration of Evil

I saw a vision of evil. Working at a corporation, I’m used to seeing evil, or at least the effects of it, on a daily basis. But today I saw it at my favorite sandwich shop, its smoldering incarnation infiltrating one of my few safe havens from corporate nonsense.

My sandwich shop looks as if it is a conglomeration of 1920’s-era gaiety and late 1960’s hippie culture. For some reason, both eras appeal to me, perhaps because of the care-free nature of the times, perhaps because they remind me of how care-free times usually come crashing to a reality-induced halt (which I find curiously funny).

Today I did not find it amusing that the harbinger of reality materialized in my sandwich speakeasy. This evil took a well-known form – tall, thin, middle-aged, with sculpted features – that of a corporate manager. Mr. Evil was dressed in pastel business casual, a look that says, “Yes, I am your social superior, but I can maintain a facade of acceptance into your sub-group to coerce you to perform my nefarious biddings.” His attire looked more appropriate for the golf course he probably wished he was on than a hole-in-the-wall lunch eatery, and stuck out like a sore Republican at a militant feminist rally. But what capped off his out-of-place look – literally – was his white “Hooray for the USA” cap. On his 6'5” frame, it towered over everyone, all clean and pure against the aged and worn commune backdrop, looking like the whitened toothy forced grin of a sore Republican trying to garner votes at a militant feminist rally.

This devil was applying for a manager position at my sandwich shop.

I observed his brimstone-ridden form watching the lunchtime workers performing their functions, and in turn being scrutinized by the division manager twenty years his junior who would likely become his superior. Meanwhile, I noticed several guys in business suits looking lightyears less corporate than Mr. Evil, donning the garb solely to play the game. And I wondered: Has Satan become so lax that he no longer cares to disguise his minions of corporate chicanery when they infiltrate independent establishments? Perhaps this minion was kicked out of the corporate bigwig club for espousing a liberal-leaning neo-socialist viewpoint, and was having difficulty assimilating into a permissive society. No, that could not be it; once one belongs to “the company,” he cannot leave.

I settled on the most likely explanation: the corporate mentality has affected the normal societal mindset so much that such forms of corporate evil and infiltration have become expectation. I see it in many decisions: corporate privitizing of government and public services, running non-corporate entities – such as libraries, non-profits, and churches – like corporations, and, worst of all, electing business leaders into high government positions. The corporate mindset has so permeated society that cost-cutting and ruthless efficiency are valued higher than society's – and its members' – common good. This is true despite the privitizations, the corporate management styles, the elected businessmen, the cost-cutting, and the ruthless efficiencies, all screwing the average Joe, and resulting in the rich getting richer.

If I had any doubts my feelings were true, the doubts evaporated when I saw the shop's employees kowtow to this man, visibly accepting their servile position – albeit more out of necessity than desire – inflating Mr. Evil above his lowly position of sandwich shop manager applicant.

I glared at the thirty-something division manager with my “Don't do it, don't hire this devil,” stare. He returned a confident look as if to say, “Don't worry.” But I couldn't tell if his look was genuine or a phony acknowledgment tempting me into acceptance of another loss of a piece of humanistic society to the corporate Devil. And I wondered if I too hadn't already been affected beyond recovery.