Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Elizabeth Warren pointed out how to tell the difference between corporations and people. “Corporations are not people,” she said. “People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love and they die.”
Corporations are functionally indistinguishable from Scandinavians. We don’t dance or love or cry. Instead, we eat lutefisk. Possibly I have a heart but the evidence seems to point in the opposite direction. The last time I was sick, I took a tax break and felt better. My only hobby is job creation. I have no kids.
Being a corporation still doesn’t explain the way my spine glows, but never mind that. Who, I wonder, are the other five?
The one thing that puzzled me after putting all the pieces about being a corporation together was why I didn’t feel more enthusiastic about Mitt Romney.
Since discovering this truth about myself, my social life has been rather different. It is a blessing to know why I look so weird in sweaters, or why I feel such an intense reluctance to pay taxes. But it is hard to convince anyone but Mitt Romney of my true identity. When we think of corporations, we imagine faceless, malign entities darting around outsourcing things, not the person who lives next door.
“No, you aren’t,” my family said, when I admitted that, yes, I was a corporation, unlikely to produce grandchildren any time soon (no kids!) and that at times I found myself staring at European tax shelters with lust in my not-heart (no heart!). “It’s a phase.”
“No, it’s not!” I insisted. “This is who, or rather, what, I am.” Just to show them, I stood there for several years not dying or getting a job.
They looked unconvinced.
“This was in the definition,” I pointed out.
“If you’re a corporation,” they asked, “why are you talking? Shouldn’t you only be speaking with your money? ”
This was a good point. I relocated to think it through. As I walked, two teenagers darted past and snatched my tax break. I sank down in a business district, drained and exhausted. Was this going to be my life from now on? Persecuted by some, offered tax breaks by others? Never permitted to die, never given the chance to truly live? Never held closely, even if I turned out to be closely held? Doomed to carry on until someone dissolved me? A single tear threatened to fall for a few seconds, but it was just something in my eye.
I am a corporation. I have no tears.