restricted access Some Tales of Sanity
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64 some tales of sanity Among the many rescue stories of the Torah, Chad’s mother ’s particular favorite was the tale of Joseph, the boy with the coat-of-many-colors that his father had given him, the youngest son so hated by his brothers that they planned to kill him. Of course that wasn’t the good part. That was the nasty part. The good part was that the oldest son, Benjamin, persuaded his brothers not to kill Joseph but to abandon him in a pit, then take Joseph’s coat and stain it with animal blood and take it home to their father to show him that Joseph was dead. The best part was that Benjamin planned to rescue Joseph from the pit, although when Benjamin went to do this he ran into traders traveling to Egypt who bought Joseph from Benjamin as a slave—a twist of fate that worked out well for everyone in Joseph and Benjamin’s family, because it led to Joseph being accepted in the royal Egyptian court as an interpreter of dreams, which led, over time, to a position of authority for Joseph in the Egyptian government, which led to Joseph eventually identifying, testing, and helping the brothers who had abandoned him years before. Benjamin, in Chad’s mother’s opinion, was the stealth hero of the Joseph story. Not that Benjamin was perfect, not 65 some tales of sanity that he did everything he hoped for, but he was the brother with a good heart and a plan, and those two things together could lead to greatness. It’s well known—as Chad said in his Dayton course— that in 1913 John Patterson saved Dayton. John was born in the town, and he grew up to head National Cash Register, known locally as NCR or “the Cash.” He started the company in 1885, and was its CEO until he died. By 1890 National Cash Register was the biggest employer in Dayton, and by 1911 it had sold a million cash registers, a huge volume at the time. They were the cash register company. Their products showed up in the paintings of Edward Hopper. In building his company Patterson made innovations that transformed business: clean and well-lit factories, the whole idea of a sales force with “territories,” international sales. For Cash employees he set up night schools, gardens, group exercises, and a credit union. In exchange for this attention to his workers, John Patterson had certain expectations. He could, and did, fire a room full of people in one outburst. An executive who’d disappointed him came back from a trip abroad to find his desk and chair in flames on the company lawn. (That last story was apocryphal, but Chad always used it, admitting its unlikelihood only after the class reacted.) Patterson was—no surprise—insanely competitive, and he saw no reason for cash register companies other than his to exist. He condoned certain shenanigans. A defective register might be affixed with a competitor’s name. A merchant who mentioned purchasing another company’s product could be threatened. NCR lawsuits for libel and patent infringement cluttered the courts. All this resulted, in 1913, in an antitrust conviction for John Patterson and the sentence of a year in jail. Notice my words, Chad would say: the sentence. Patterson appealed, and five weeks later it started raining. You 66 s ha r p a n d d a n g e r ou s v i r t u e s could almost say that the resultant disaster was the answer to Patterson’s prayers. Lying curled up in his cellblock bed, Tuuro thought of Nenonene. Everyone knew the stories. What Nenonene had done, originally, was what most of the world thought impossible : he unified Africa. Oh, not totally, and not without grief and murder, but Africa was now a different place. It was a threat. After all those years of Muslims versus Christians, of famines and epidemics and tribal warfare (and it wasn’t just Africans who noticed that word “tribal,” as if African hatreds were primitive and inescapable), now the African Union was a player on the world’s stage. Of all the African countries, only Egypt was not part of the AU—a reflection of the U.S.-Egypt alliance forged in the early twenties. It helped his rise that Nenonene was from Gambia, an outof -the-waycountrythatthreatenednoone;thathewaseducated, the son of a doctor and trained as a...


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Subject Headings

  • Food supply -- Government policy -- Fiction.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Fiction.
  • Dayton (Ohio) -- Fiction.
  • Suspense fiction. -- gsafd.
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