Saturday, May 27, 2006

Exxon Mobil Decides To See His Therapist

My name is Exxon Mobil. I am a corporation, but in the eyes of the law I am as much an individual with rights like any human being. I have the full protection of the law, plus I have a lot of money. People often say that Bill Gates is the wealthiest person in the world. Well, as I said, I am as much a person as Bill Gates and worth a lot more money. Indeed, I made a profit of thirteen billion dollars in the last three months. That's profit, cash left over after I pay all my expenses. So in three months I have made more than a third of Mr. Gates's entire net worth. So if I am making that much cash every three months, you can imagine what I am worth. Maybe a hundred times the net worth of Bill Gates. Yes, I am rich. And having this much money also makes me very powerful.

How do I make so much money? Just one thing, really. Oil. You knew that already. But I want you to understand me better. Oil comes out of the ground mostly in countries that force me to pay huge taxes, often in places where we have to buy people off just so I can get the oil out of the ground, into pipelines, and onto my tankers. I move more than four million barrels of oil everyday. That means I deliver that much oil to buyers everyday. That's a lot of oil. It is not easy to do that. But I do it. Every single day, 365 days a year. I take no day off. I have more stamina than human beings. I work constantly, no time off, no vacation days, no sick time. I am a workaholic. My focus is oil. And I cannot get it and deliver it fast enough to satisfy everyone. I am working my butt off right now just to barely keep people happy. Well, happy is the wrong word. Most people are paying extra money these days for oil, lots of extra money, so they are not happy. But there is nothing they can do about it. They need the oil, and that is good for me. In fact, I am so busy getting and delivering oil, I have no time to do anything else.

And I am not going to do anything else. I have no interest in any other forms of energy. In fact, I consider other forms of energy detrimental to me. I know people say that it would be good for America if it quit its oil addiction. But quite frankly, it would be bad for me. So I give lots of money to politicians to make certain that cars burn lots of gasoline, that I can drill for more oil anywhere and everywhere, and that I can invest my extra cash by giving big fat dividends to my shareholders. Of course, I will also use my cash to find more oil.

But don't think for a moment that I am going to use this cash to develop solar energy, or hydrogen fuel or ethanol or anything that could possibly replace oil. In fact, I actively buy corn fields so that I can change the crop, lowering the potential production of ethanol. Clever, huh? Oil is my life. And I do not feel bad about pursuing what is good for me, even if tons of money end up in the hands of terrorists and rogue nations. Actually, the more instability in the world, the higher the price of oil goes. That's good for me. I love terrorists and crazy nation states.

Think of it this way. I am like a drug dealer delivering heroin to addicts. Drug dealers can essentially charge whatever they want, they perpetuate their markets by keeping the supply in the veins of the addicts, and the business goes on and on and on. Well, OK, maybe if the addicts die, that would be a problem. But there are always more addicts to replace the dead ones. And since I am a citizen of the world, not just the United States, do I really care if the United States is harmed or even dies? No. As long as I prosper. I am a citizen of the world. I shall survive and keep the pump in the veins of the world, pumping oil and making money.

But tomorrow I see my therapist. I have things to discuss. I need his affirmation. I seek his approval.

Exxon Mobil sat on a big leather chair. Opposite him was Doctor Dunsel, a psychiatrist.

"I am feeling good," said Exxon Mobil.

"How so?" said Dr. Dunsel.

"I am making lots of money, more than I ever have," said Exxon Mobil.

"And making money, lots of money, makes you feel good?" said Dr. Dunsel.

"Yes," said Exxon Mobil.

"It affirms your self worth?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

"Yes," said Exxon Mobil.

"And so without money, you would not feel good?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

"Well, maybe. I don't know. No. No. Yes. I mean I would not feel good without money," said Exxon Mobil.

"You are not certain," said Dr. Dunsel.

"Money defines me. Is there reason for me to exist without money?" asked Exxon Mobil.

"I cannot answer that. What do you think?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

"I think it is obvious," said Exxon Mobil.

"But why are you here? You seek to understand yourself?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

"I have all the rights that you have, that every individual has, and yet, I seem to have more power to move around and do whatever I wish to do. I move in and out of nation states without immigration papers. I move my stuff, my oil, in and out of nation states without too much difficulty from customs officials. I have money in all corners of the earth, in virtually every country. I can marshall resources in one minute that would take an individual a lifetime to match. So I am here, well, I guess I am here to confirm that this is all OK. This is all OK, isn't it?" said Exxon Mobil.

"It would appear to be all OK for you. Is that what you are asking?" said Dr. Dunsel.

"So maybe I need not worry about all this. Maybe I need not worry if this is OK. Maybe I should just do whatever it is I wish to do, and that thing that I do is make money, make more money, and do it with oil, which is my thing. Oil is my thing," said Exxon Mobil.

"Oil does not have to be your thing. People change. Change is good. Are you looking for affirmation to avoid change or to justify change?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

"It seems like you are not judging either decision," said Exxon Mobil.

"I am a psychiatrist. I do not judge. You go to a priest, minister, rabbi or imam for that," said Dr. Dunsel.

"I have no interest in consulting a priest or imam, except if it creates a good appearance. Good appearances are good for money," said Exxon Mobil.

"I would imagine that consulting a psychiatrist would not be good for appearances," said Dr. Dunsel.

"Yes. That is correct. That is why we shall keep this confidential,” said Exxon Mobil.

“Of course. Doctor-patient confidentiality,” said Dr. Dunsel.

“But got what I came for. I feel, if I can feel anything, that my work is oil, and that if I am an active participant on the world stage doing what I do best, then I need not change. I feel affirmed. I shall go forward pursuing oil, and only oil, and doing everything I can to make certain the world keeps using my oil and nothing else," said Exxon Mobil.

"If that is how you see your role, and you are comfortable with that, then that is what you should do," said Dr. Dunsel.

"I am comfortable," said Exxon Mobil.

"Be mindful that all of us need to understand the consequences of our actions," said Dr. Dunsel.

"Are you judging me?" said Exxon Mobil.

"No. No judgment. But you have money. You have power. It would be smart of you to understand how your actions affect the world you live in, if for no other reason than to gain intelligence so you can make more meaningful decisions," said Dr. Dunsel.

"Meaningful decisions. What is a meaningful decision?" asked Exxon Mobil.

"Well let me ask you. What do you think it means?" asked Dr. Dunsel.

Exxon Mobil sat there for a moment. He did not know what to say or how to interpret the concept of meaningfulness. He would make his own meaning, wouldn’t he? Shouldn’t he?

"Time is up. We can discuss this next time when you feel you need affirmation again," said Dr. Dunsel.

Good, Exxon Mobil thought. Enough of this. This conversation was over for now.

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