Board meeting – 9:00am - Chaired by Mr. Stig Bubblecard.
Number one on our agenda today, ladies and gents, is the rather pertinent issue of primary and secondary issues, and in particular whether they are one and the same. Now according to this memo:
“The words ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ are primarily used to diversify the English language, which in terms of issues enables the issue-solvers to accord varying significance to issues through their own interpretive prisms as they see fit”
I draw your attention to this unholy cluster of syllables and, in particular, the fact the author concerned uses the adverb ‘primarily’ in his own description of a ‘primary’ issue. . .We could perhaps venture to say this is an unabashed attempt by the author to “blow your mind”, so to speak, through the utilisation of the very subject he hopes to define being used in the definition which, being a definition tends to lay the foundation of the issue which you are subsequently invited to discuss. But we think, if the subject is an issue but there is an issue in the issue, why did he tie us up in knots before we even started? Is the author merely trying to confuse the issue? We ask these sorts of questions, and we come to the realisation that the author is possibly a mischievous little devil, certainly one not to be trusted unconditionally like the mother-son paradigm, but rather one who is to be approached with the same suspicion and cold-hearted analysis as a detective when engaging in any further fleshing out of, well, the issues...
All right, any questions? I trust this was a simple introduction. The author of this memo says those concerned can accord significance to issues “as they see fit”, and within this my own theory is that we are presented with a situation of the utmost unfettered freedom. By this I mean we can say what we want in straight lines, tangents and random perpendiculars. For instance, say we roguishly depart from the traditional meaning of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’, or whatever the case may be, flip it around to map out a new world where 'primary' is 'secondary', 'secondary' is 'primary' and issues are not exactly issues but are, instead, a kind of implacable fluffy notion that only mad and ridiculous spiritualists are concerned with. You can hold it in your hands like putty but when you try to grasp it with any real firmness, it slips through. Now what would you say about that?
So what you're saying is there is no issue Mr Bubblecard?
In a sense...Yes. Well...Yes and no. What I will say is that we will work very hard to overcome the issues yes and no, like binary politicians.
May I ask why are we here then, Mr Bubblecard?
Well it's very difficult to explain in-depth our timeless existential dilemma, Oswald, within the short space of time afforded to us in this meeting. As a company there is always issues at hand to discuss, but so little time. At this moment it is the issue of primary and secondary issues which we are worried about which we must deal with before there is to be any progression.
But what has this got to do with retail sales of high street clothes, Mr Bubblecard?
Nothing...Absolutely nothing. That comes after, good sir. I mean, how can you expect us to deal with the substantive issues without dealing with first with the preliminaries? You wouldn't want to jump to conclusions now, would you, good sir?
You’re a man of infinite wisdom, Mr Bubblecard.
Why thank you, Oswald. I'm flattered at your flattery. But! And this is a big ‘but.’ I don’t want to rain on this little parade of consensus. I want to return to the matters at hand. Right...Suppose I present to you here and now a humble confession, a confession which confesses to you all here and now I wrote the memo myself…Eh, what ramifications would that have for our debate?
Umm...It would mean quite a lot, sir.
It would foster the intrigue, Mr Bubblecard.
Increase the mystery of this meeting.
Yes, it would.
And what about the uncertainty of what we're talking about?
It would shoot through the roof, sir!
What about the circularity?
Swings and roundabouts...
Brilliant. Just what I thought. I'm glad we're all on the same page. What’s more, let me pick your brain more in-depth. What if I were to say the elements of uncertainty surrounding the words’ construction nullifies, to an extent, my own personal ownership? ...What if I were to say for construction purposes the words in question were considered in isolation. The singular meaning was sought from the dictionary and once ascertained was promptly printed out in amplified lettering. I then ritualistically put them into test tubes while blindfolded and asked my secretary to attach them to a centrifuge, where they spun for forty five minutes. Alas! Their re-emergence into this peculiar passage that you see now before you was, in a way, precipitated or 'written' by me, if you like, but is also, by its very nature, cloaked in mystery.
Why are you haranguing yourself over its meaning then, sir?
That's the bloody point! This is precisely what I'm getting at. A conundrum which has to be solved come rain, hail or sunshine. At the same time, I welcome your critical scrutiny, Hulga, I want to make that point. I trust that you welcome my welcome? Yes? Excellent, thank you. To return to the salient topic at hand it's quite clear we need to get to the bottom of this, but our task is shrouded in blackness. For again in terms of the memo “Interpretive prisms” are paramount, you will see, along with the overarching prerogative that we do as we “see fit”. Of course I could go on to comment on the farcical nature of sense as I understand it in this instance, and then I’d be hooked too into the quagmire of diversionary debate. I call this profound state of confusion the “The Uncertainty Principle”, and if you examine its nature with the utmost precision the more imprecise the components become; you will find the presence of uncertainty is everywhere, sort of like dark matter or racism – invisible yet in existence, known about but, yet, importantly, understood and misunderstood...all at the same time.
Okay, primary and secondary…Does anyone have any primary or secondary thoughts on the issue primary or secondary before we continue our strange progression? It is possible, I surmise, to widen the discussion even further, should we so wish, by not only focusing on 'primary' and 'secondary' but, furthermore, 'tertiary', 'quaternary', 'quinary', 'senary', 'septenary', 'octonary','nonary' and...'denary' issues. If memory serves me correctly I don’t believe there is the consequential description of an ‘eleventh’ term, for some reason, but I do know there exists in a similar fashion a ‘twelfth’ known as ‘duodenary’…But I think there are rather perilous dangers at this moment here of biting off more than we can chew, and I think that is possibly the reason why these terms are either intentionally or inadvertently excluded in the initial definition, which was and wasn't written by me, you might recall, and I think that is sufficient reason for ignoring them unless we get bogged down in the detail ad infinitum...The devil for any company is in the detail, of course.
You notice my penchant for creative 3D perspectives? If you raise no objections I hope you'll allow me to continue to use analogies and metaphor at will for the purposes of elucidation and confusion; a story-teller and a disorienting oracle, if you will. This is all so that you may all gain a better but at the same time cloudier and more ambiguous understanding in the final analysis...The bottom line, so to speak...Now I hate to perpetually return to the memo but like the bible it is the starting-point by which our discussion is based. And I ask you this: if 'primary' and 'secondary' can be anything we want it to be, essentially, (a la primary is secondary, and secondary is primary), through force of will and whimsy, it is possible, I would argue, that primary and secondary are not adjectives but are actually in one second, premium insurance policies, in another, abnormal cell division, and even at another infinitesimal point physical propellants or missiles which we can launch indiscriminately around the room. If you can imagine the “Interpretive prism” as a hula hoop and as a sort of game you get ten points if you can successfully Frisbee 'primary' and 'secondary' through the hoop then I'm sure you can all agree there is a lot of fun to be had which is great for general morale and mental health.
Would this be compatible with the health and safety regulations of the company?
Urm...Well. I haven't thought much about that actually. Probably not, but please conduct a comprehensive review of it for me please at once, and take your time while you're at it. We're in no rush. Forgive this frivolousness. Having examined this memo with a scrutiny that would be a credit to the most conscientious coroner conducting a cross-examination of a corpse, I can assure you that perhaps I've been over-thinking the issue. This sometimes happens when dealing with the common thread of diversification which in its broad scope can lead one into dodgy never-ending tangents. Without doubt the world of primary is a hungrier place without the twin accompaniment of secondary, and vice versa. It could be fair to say that the two issues need each other and mutually complement one another like salt and pepper, whereby, the symbiotic paradigm becomes an indifferent, ambivalent one when one pillar of the community—either primary or secondary—disintegrates or falls victim to neglect, starving the former of the latter or the latter from the former. If you starve one of oxygen the other turns into a shallow, benign substance who goes through a grieving period but then settles its own personal issues or demons and does not do anything to the collective detriment of language and thus to the detriment of our business activities. So we must be vigilant and afford each parity of esteem.
Primary and secondary like all organisms go through a certain life cycle, specifically primary and secondary phases of childhood and adolescence where they then grow and sprout hair in places they never had before. They have to be nurtured and studied and researched and weighed against the peculiarities and fluctuations in personalities of the analyser or “issue-solver”, who brings his or her own unique cards to the table and puts his own spin on the discussion through the operation of the “interpretive prism.” This has been known to create its own problems when, for instance, the memo hasn't envisaged the ‘issue-solver’ coming from a somewhat unstable mental disposition or uneducated background. Not for one second in its all-encompassing, all-accommodating glory does it preclude anyone from their input; no matter how idiotic, retarded, unresearched or unhinged. If I prompt you for your opinion Oswald, for example, and I say to you, “Here, Oswald, what do you think about this whole situation...What do you know?” ...Well, what would you say?
Well I don't know much of anything, sir.
Exactly, see what I mean? But you still had your say, and that’s the beautiful, uncertain mysticism of it. Here we solve the issue and we are ourselves the issue. We grapple with ourselves and our external reality. We do this with so many words and paragraphs which may say something or may say fuck all, and the vital thread in all this is in distinguishing the something from the 'fuck all', the wheedling out the relevance from the irrelevance, the exploration and the journey that is involved in fleshing out the issues—any issues—not just primary and secondary but all the other ones. A universal theory and methodology and guidance, which I have been developing long before I became CEO of this business, since I was gestating in my mother's womb, if you may be interested to know.
Ah....Forgive me if I regain my breath. A sip of water. Ah! I recognise on the minutes of this meeting that this is quite a heavy and elusive subject to tackle. Regardless, one must push on with determination for the last one hundred yards, to summarise that which has gone before and to give a taste for what is to come later. I can say with supreme confidence these matters are not frivolous. This is not mere balderdash. Our raison d-etre as a institution under the rigours of competition is to sort out issues in whatever which way they are presented. Sometimes issues threaten to overwhelm the boat of the company like a big Cthulu with rampaging tentacles; we soon find that the only way the beast will perish is if we sever his limbs with a very particular sword of Excalibur. We collectively embody that sword. We’re in a privileged position. And while the tentacles have regenerative powers where new baby tentacles sprout endlessly while the waves crash and our boat is subjected to the barbarities of the water, we are reminiscent of noble pirates of the sea slicing and dicing the monsters that confront us, overcoming our issues for the benefit of shareholder primacy...like 20,000 shareholders under the sea...and we must keep our focus. We must live up to our name as the front-runners of an institutionalised, organized bureaucracy. Centralised authority, decreed by me, supplying the supplies to meet the demand. We are the absorbers of the underlings, like amoebas incorporated, merging and digesting inferior entities for breakfast. Always on the ball...total insomniacs. But sure business never sleeps. Now. I’m not saying this because I’m your friend. I tell it how it is. And I’m no agony aunt. And I’m not a believer in tangents. I believe in directness, of cutting through all the foliage to get to the Easter egg. But that doesn’t come without a treasure hunt, if you catch my drift. We must look for it, whatever it is, and rise from the flames victorious and triumphant, like Olympic terminators.
We haven't much time left, Mr Bubblecard.
...Apologies if I'm rambling, or my meaning cloudy. I'm passionate about this subject. You would almost feel inclined to inquire whether I am babbling and, if so, I applaud you for thinking outside the rectangle. It may seem that I'm playfully skirting around the edges of the discussion, dipping the toe in the water but never quite delving in; instead of getting to the crux of the issue it may seem I'm exhausting or time-wasting the precious seconds provided to us before we must scatter our rendezvous from the collective to the individual, to return to our posts and complete our unique and singular roles within the organisation. But that's not how it is. I care deeply about sussing out the issue of primary and secondary issues, but as much as I've strayed from that point it goes without saying I care deeply about it, as much as I care about the profitability of our clothes selling business. Like yin and yang one is as important as the other because to leave one unattended to would upset the harmony of the discussion, leave an imbalance in our perspicacious investigations to the detriment of one issue over another. That is not how we operate. I do not like leaving matters unresolved and that is one of the primary reasons why I do not skirt over primary and secondary problems or issues willy-nilly but, instead, endeavour to treat all problems with the same sincerity and the same resoluteness. In so doing I could easily set myself a word limit but I’d lose track. So many ideas, too little words, it’s all academic you'll understand. In the exploration of the relevance from the irrelevance my mind descends into a hiccuping, malfunctioning Microsoft word. It’s imperative that you turn it off and on at the plug for ten seconds. Reboot and put it back on. That way it’ll be right as rain in a minute. We’re held ransom to stupid conventions of time and space. Finite energy, rationality, and body clocks. Sometimes you just switch off. We all do. It all depends on the right input, output. We need to persevere against this, against obstacles. Think of me as a human keyboard. I let you type your problems into me. You input the information. I print it out. The clicking of my buttons will be therapeutic. Dear diary, tell me your problems. Yadda yadda there’s a tapping bonanza. You the employee and stakeholder find yourself fiddling furiously on me, your “keyboard”. But don’t overdo it. It’s like pornography: only so much you can take.
I have one query Mister Bubblecard?
Proceeding with said query is hereby denied, Snodgrass. Please do not derail my epiphany. You see this bicep? I’ve been working on this “thing” all my life. Rest assured you wouldn’t want see him when he’s angry; used to be a cage fighter. He also happened to be a man of leisure, like me. In a sort of similar vein to the abominable snowman he’d often be sighted, sparsely, flowing like a turd down a tempestuous stream. His little canoe would be caught in vicious rapids and he’d be constantly faced with the threat of capsizing at every millimetre of a second. And did you once see him worry about losing his sentience? No. The bicep was carefree. He had what you could call a life lust. I suggest we do the same, Snodgrass.
I’m finding it difficult to discern a smidgeon of sense in what you’re saying, sir. A bicep in a canoe?
What did I say at the start of this speech Snodgrass? My sense of sense is farcical, fine sir, and with your constant badgering you’re status as a fine sir is steadily diminishing and hangs by a thread, ‘fine sir’. Nothing makes sense all things considered. Embrace it. This cactus on this desk here. I mean, WHY is it here? This little guy is just trying to get by in life. He’s got his needles, he’s resilient; he’s got all the adapted structures in place passed down from generation to generation to deal with what life throws at him. Like deserts and shit. But WHY is he in this boardroom? That makes very little sense in the grand scheme of things. I mean there's some water over there in the dispenser, should he need some. We can just give him a dibble of it if we think he’s thirsty. But does anyone ever think to give this little bugger a glass of water? No. Spare a thought for this man, this cactus, Snodgrass. He merely exists out of some vague, fickle aesthetic that we have as human beings to embellish the rooms in which he inhabit with cactuses and tropical flower pots and suchlike. Because we “like” them.
Now, I may be getting carried away here. I may have succumbed to that ancient devilish drawback of digression. What’s porn and lectures on cactuses got to do with it you ask? Nothing. This is my confession and I ask for your forgiveness. I present to you everything, warts and all. I hope I’m talking sense. I hope you follow. No? Hold on a sec. From the bowels of the underworld I summon my confidence. I AM talking sense. I believe in me. I’m leading by example. I am bounding down the front line of battle like a Roman gladiator, attacking the Germanic Barbarians who are clearly not men of reason. The only ‘reason’ they understand is the reason of being clubbed over the head with a heavy metallic weapon. Or a spiky cactus. We’re merely on a roundabout, the circularity of which has been proven since time immemorial. I have supreme self-confidence in what I’m doing; in the direction of this company, of this meeting. Our agenda. Have faith in me. I’m a supreme being. Aka: Darwin’s lovechild. Rise from the flames like Olympic…Yes, I mentioned that. Now I don’t want you to suffer from being subjected to repetition but if I do traipse over material more than once, whatever. Sue me. I’m not infallible. I’m no pope. Gonna do this thing like a boss. No. Like an assistant manager. Conventional and that would inevitably mean dispensing with regular reports, with a crooked eye on risk management. Basic arse-in-mouth management theory, you'll understand.
Sir, are you okay? Your face is a swollen and red.
You people take it out of me. This has been a substantial personal investment and you’re a drain on my personal resources, if you don't mind my saying so. I’m low on carbohydrates but I need to keep going. I feel my second wind coming on, a burst of enthusiasm that will take me right to the finishing line. The stakes are high and I must strike while the iron is hot. Strikes: nasty for corporations. I’m sorry but I’d like to hold their faces down on a molten hot iron, the filthy reprobates. Press their face to a stove. Burnt ears all round. Sell them on the market. Worth a lot of money, are ears…My thought processes are breaking down, coherence steadily chucked to the wind. Malfunctioning Microsoft...Yes. But I must finish my set. Yes. Ooh the deltoids. Flex the muscles. Man, I am euphoric. Did someone spike my glass of water? I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I've transcended. I am a spirit, a non entity. I’m flowing like a turd down a tempestuous...Yes...Deliverance... hillbillies...What's going on...No going back. If I want I can apply the brakes but I’d rather FREE WHEEL DOWN HILLS. We’re free-spirited children. Who’s with me? Sally, are you with me? Here, rub my nipples. Nobody's got nipples like mine. Man, I am high on life. I’ve got the life lust. I’ve completely forgotten about the issues. Who cares? Let’s have a party. Let’s get back to the base values of the company. The BASS values, you know what I mean? Get the music on. Full blast. Britney Spears and Will.i.am...Fantastic...I wanna feel like I’m in the club, the pulsating beat rippling from my toes to the testicles. Back to basics some would say. Back to BASSICS. Yeah. The levels are too advanced for some, I see. All conscientious objectors need to get with the programme. Nothing really matters all things considered. Experiences are momentary, you can’t always be serious. Duties can be dealt with some other time. Needa grab the good times. Grab a bite to eat. Grab a kitkat. Whatever. Man I want to EAT information and shite it out. Like a flow chart. I wanna spread my philosophy on toast and force-feed wankers, but I’m held back by some terrible sea of misunderstanding and uncertainty! Your vacant faces suggest that I’m on a limb? Anyway, I don't care...I'm beyond that now. Talk to the hand because the snot-bubbles ain't listening. Any problems drop me an email. With my new devil-may-care attitude I’ll have you know I’ve already construed your silence as tacit agreement and so all are winners and all leave happy!
….Ah, Mr Bubblecard?
We're out of time, sir.
No matter. We'll just have to revisit the issues the next day. Thank you all for your abrupt attention and patience. Have a good day. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some dancing to do...
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