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Carmen Burcea-Haber Headshot

Corporations Are Nice People

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Let me tell you, Mitt Romney was right.

About a year ago I found myself at a party, walking around with a glass of wine in my hand, making conversation, when a friend a mine insisted on introducing me to a very distinguished fellow, who proved to be a very nice person too. His name was Wells Fargo. I never met a corporation before but I heard that they make the best husbands.

We were hitting it off quite well: we had the same taste in things and we were laughing quite a lot. He was definitely making an acquisition of me. Hmm, this might be it, I found myself thinking a few times.

I liked his name, maybe soon-to-be mine, too. "Hi, my name is Carmen. Carmen Fargo." Not bad, really.

We started to go out and see a lot of each other, discuss possible amendments and it wasn't such a surprise when he casually invited me to have lunch with his family one weekend. I foresaw an article of incorporation soon.

It was time to let my own parents know about my new status and the possible enterprise.

They were a little put off by the fact that he was a corporation.

"What do you know about these people, they are different," my mother kept saying. "What if you have a child, is it going to be a corporation too? Or just a subsidiary?"

I understood their concerns, it is always difficult to accept someone different.

I knew corporations tend to be on the conservative side, so I thought a nice little gray suit and a delicate string of pearls would do the trick and wouldn't offend their family bylaws.

Wells let me know, in his usual discreet manner, that his mother came from a very old, long line of mergers. I was secretly thrilled to potentially join a long line of something. I felt enormous anxiety at the thought that his family might have some issues accepting a non-corporate entity like me. But I strongly believed in Wells and the power of our blooming consolidation. It had the potential to lead to a stock certificate in no time.

The house was an impressive headquarters. It had two big lions at the entrance gate and after proceeding down a two mile driveway there were two smaller lions flanking the front door. I like lions.

His mother had a helmet of starched, very blond hair but she looked like she never had any fun. She behaved as if I were planning a hostile takeover of Wells. The parent corporation as a result was utterly cold to me from the very beginning. I had a feeling that Wells and I might be heading toward a limited partnership. His mother kept offering him preferred shares and it looked like I might be facing an administrative dissolution. Wells was a momma's boy.

I was under her constant scrutiny the whole evening. Her eyes dissected me like two lasers. I realized it would be a difficult merger with his mother, and judging by Wells' submission to her, I was sure that I would end up a sole proprietor, a minor shareholder at best. I wasn't sure this was the future I wanted.

We didn't talk much on our way back. We didn't have to: it was quite evident that I didn't pass the test, I didn't have the credentials. I badly needed to reinstate my own ideas about my liquidity.

We parted that evening without any exchange of shares. His eyes were cold, his lips pursed.

I ran into him a few months later at a party again. He seemed surprised to see me, and he acted like he had something up his sleeve. In fact, not long afterwards I noticed him leaving, arm in arm with a redhead, who I later learned was named Aetna.

It looked like a match made in heaven: Aetna was a big, beautiful corporation and I imagined how pleased Wells' mother would be this time.

There was only one problem: Aetna was going out with Johnson & Johnson, too.