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OJ Goes Skiing

Bill Gates recently held a private Q&A audience with OJ.
With awe and a tinge of nervousness, Onil Gunawardana began. “I was perplexed to see that when you were naming your new OS, no one in your marketing or branding department seems to have noticed that the words ?Windows XP? is only nineteen letters different from the phrase ?Another load of Microsoft crap.? Will heads roll?”
There was silence. The PR aide interjected. “We are not in a position to comment on such issues. Next please.”

“Yes,” said Andrea Scadron, staring at Onil in bewilderment. “Sir, I was wondering if you could tell me is there is a quick way to double indent and add a bullet in Word without using two short cut key commands?”
There was silence. The PR aide interjected again.

Paul Carter was next. “I?d like to address Bill the real person. Having done all the amazing things, achieved fame and wealth, looking back on all of it, what would you rather be?anorexic or bulimic?”

There was silence. The PR aide interjected again. An HBS aid standing by the corner realized something was wrong. He rang Academic Affairs. “Something is wrong. This section does not seem to be asking the usual bollocks questions.”

Academic affairs paged OJ?s professors. Their reply was unanimous?J seemed a normal, if slightly dull and impotent section with no real interests or intellect.
The Dean was summoned in urgency from his residence. He listened carefully, realized the gravity of the situation, sent everyone out of the war room, shut the door, poured himself a sherry, and rang God.
I
t was voicemail. “Hello, I am either on the phone or away from my desk and…”
“Great,” said the Dean aloud. “Alumni, eh?”
But then, a voice. “I was just call screening.”

“Err…yes, hello God,” began the Dean explaining his predicament with OJ. How could such simpletons groomed by HBS to only appreciate people on their business abilities and completely ignore the fact that a business leader might be a complete and total prat, suddenly drop everything they had learned and start talking nonsense?”
“Ummm, on this one, I have no idea,” said God and hung up.

The Dean stared at the phone in complete shock. This was the first time it had happened?the person who knows everything about everything there is to know in the entire Cosmos had not been able to answer a simple question on OJ. The Dean collapsed into his chair, his world in absolute disarray. His head began to spin. In that one moment, everything had changed forever.
The phone rang. Slowly, like a man whose spirit had been torn out, the Dean picked it up.

“Hehe, joke?s on you, just kidding, were you worried?” asked God. “The answer is software discharge, got to go,” and the phone went dead.
“Software discharge?” said the HBS aide loudly into his cell phone, interrupting Julie Anne Gagnon?s question on yellow skittles.

Wait, that?s why he hasn?t answered our questions,” exclaimed Julie Anne. She and the rest of OJ walked towards the podium. Wei Liou, ever the tactile, reached out and touched Bill?s hand. Bill looked straight back, and Wei stared adoringly back.
At that moment, NORAD Central Control went haywire. Alarms starting sounding, yellow lights started flashing, ribbons fell from the ceiling near doors, coffee was spilt, and donuts knocked over.

“We have unauthorized contact!” shouted a technician putting away his copy of Playboy.
“It?s a crash! Re-boot, re-boot!” screamed another trying his Ctrl+Alt+Del trick.
“I can?t!” cried another. “It?s an improper shutdown. It has to run ScanDisk first!”
“Oh My, we are doomed. All we need now is Yeltsin to fail again,” said the lead technician.

On their monitors they could see Wei and the rest of OJ milling around their simple, beloved robot that had so successfully, albeit with an annoying nasal twang, conquered the world. Soon visual contact would also be lost.

As “Bill” was led away, and the PR machine began, doctors began explaining how the constant questioning of CEOs can cause a nervous seizure of this sort, and as Fox News brought in nervous seizure experts to debate whether all of America was at risk from our CEO-questioning culture, and as CNN exposed the hidden dangers of nervous seizures lurking in every garden, OJ gathered in a corner.

Quietly we sat. We didn?t know what to think. And then Tiana Bowles remembered the second pot-luck coming up. “Hey guys,” she said. “Does anyone think it would be a good idea to add ginger shreds to a Tuna broth that I plan to serve in a clay pot glazed with honeydew butter and Ceylon tamarind paste?”

And OJ was back. Back to our old ways, our interesting ways, free from all this chaos and confusion. Free to be ourselves once again.

November 19, 2001
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