I, Trump: On Becoming a Corporation

Trump's jet. Mine will be bigger.

Trump’s jet. Mine will be bigger.

Recently, I made the decision to become a corporation–to be precise, a Delaware corporation, with an S election, registered to operate in the states of New York and Washington. This is a new thing for me. I am deeply averse to paperwork, and being a corporation will bring me a forest of paper, but my new accountant suggested it would be a good idea, and cited many benefits, my favorite of which is that I get to have my own corporate credit card and assign all my business expenditures to my corporate account. What I need to remind myself is that I am also the person who has to pay the bill at the end of each month, because as we all know corporations are people too, a point I now understand with much greater clarity.

Before deciding to become a corporation I asked my friends who were independently employed whether they too were in fact corporations. I learned to my surprise that secretly a number of them and a few of my tennis pals have in fact been corporations all along, while I thought they were merely people. I have discovered that some corporations cannot hit a backhand to save their lives.

My first challenge was to come up with a name for my corporation. I could simply have called myself Erik Larson, LLC. Or maybe a more corporate variation, with a defense-contractor ring, like Larson Dynamics, Inc.. Or just IBM, and always wink slyly when handing out business cards. Actually, Delaware is very cranky on this point and insists you adopt a name that is not already in use by another company. But there are many other names to choose from, so that “at the end of the day” it is easy “to step out of the box,” which, by the way, are two examples of the corporate speech I employ now that I am a fully registered corporation.

I considered giving my corporation a creative name, maybe with a historical flavor. Something along the lines of Abraham Lincoln LLC., or the Moonwalk Was a Hoax, LLC., or Katie Couric is Really Cute LLC. Briefly I contemplated a name with a little southern flare, like Don’t Shoot, It’s Christmas, Inc. I thought about choosing an artisanal name, except I had no idea what that meant. I thought of clever names, like Where the Light Don’t Shine, Inc.  I thought also about naming my corporation for my last dog or maybe something in honor of the Republican party, which now that I am a corporation will of course be my party of choice, a name like, Evolution is a Theory, LLC, or Darwin is Dead and Ain’t Coming Back Any Time Soon, LLC., or Why Does That New Texas Voting District Look Like A Daddy-Longlegs, LLC. And by the way, I am not an LLC, I am a full-fledged corporation, and please do not ask me what the difference is because I do not know.

I am so getting into this corporation thing. Next I will build a giant tower in Manhattan and begin hiring employees whom I will pay minimum wage while demanding that they come to work on time every morning even though they must commute from Dubuque, Iowa, which is the only place they can afford to live. I am going to get myself a corporate jet, and park it at LaGuardia next to Trump’s jet, and on nice summer days he and I will sit on the wingtips across from one another and sip gin-and-tonics and compare notes on barbers, while dangling our bare feet in the breeze and squinting meaningfully into the sunset with lips pursed like sphincters.

I will buy a Tesla and make it my corporate car and have my daughter, who just moved to a ground-floor studio in Brooklyn and needs all the money she can get, dress up as a chauffeur and drive me to black-tie functions and hold an umbrella over my head as I dash across the red carpet just in time to do my TED lecture on how great it is to be a corporation and to have minions who would do anything to see me run over by a bus.

Of course I recognize that as a corporation I have huge responsibilities toward the environment and I will get around to all of that once I get up and running, but anyway who cares because my manufacturing plants are in Kuala Lumpur, or maybe it’s Bangladesh, I forget. High on my list of future projects is a pipeline. I plan to build it across Central Park, to haul artisanal olive oil from a bodega at 105th and West End to my apartment on the Upper East Side. I will be sure to have environmental controls in place, including regular payoffs to the city council, and will further ensure a clean environment by gerrymandering my voting precinct so that it includes only people in apartments with working fireplaces.

I will hire a director of publicity, and of marketing, and will establish an R&D department like Google X, to insure that my corporation always stands at the forefront of technology. I will have a fleet of drones, and they will fly all over the city, and will nest on the window-sills of the San Remo and the Beresford, along Central Park West, just to annoy their co-op boards. I will also have 3D printers. I don’t know why. But here is my secret plan: I will use my 3D printers to make more 3D printers, and have already registered a catchy name for them, 3X3D™. Eventually I will use my printers to build my drones, which I will equip with solar panels, storage batteries, and cameras, and which I will then place in permanent hover outside the bedroom windows of my neighbors with hot wives.

As progressive as my company will be, I have to confess that the minimum wage thing bothers me. Why should we coddle people? I had to work for $1.85 an hour when I was a kid; why should people today make more? I had no trouble surviving. I worked in a park and at lunch hour walked home, where my mother made me sandwiches and soup, after which I walked back to work, unless I was too full to walk, in which case she would drive me back in the family’s champagne-green Chrysler Newport with the big back seat where my high-school girlfriend and I used to play cards.

I am going to contribute a lot of money to political candidates, because I believe in democracy, and the only way to insure that democracy thrives is by dropping off bags of money and having skimpily-clad women visit congressmen late at night while I film them with an infra-red camera mounted in a smoke detector.

I will start watching Fox News. I will turn it on at 6 a.m. at full volume and leave it on until midnight, and will keep it on during meals including at Thanksgiving so that I will more fully understand the never-ending threat to American business posed by liberals and Democrats and Kenya-born politicians, and more fully appreciate the shame of cities like Paris which has allowed the Louvre to become an Islamist no-go zone, and appreciate as well the necklines of those sleeveless black cocktail dresses that the Fox News anchors wear when reading the news.

To make sure the free market stays free, I am going to hire a lobbyist and every time I go to Washington I will take him and his interns out for steak dinners at the Capitol Grill, for which I will pay with my corporate credit card, one of those black steel ones that look so cool until you drop them on your hotel floor in the dark and can’t find them, and your guest in the negligee with the credit-card reader says “oh sure, I’ve heard that one before. You get down and look for it.”

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Erik Larson is the author of six previous national bestsellers—The Splendid and the Vile, Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm— which have collectively sold more than twelve million copies. His books have been published in nearly forty countries.

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