It was hellish in Heaven yesterday. Buffeted by falling revenues, rising expenses, and intense competition from the Internet, God announced a management shake up and a 30% staff reduction. The layoffs include The Holy Spirit, two Archangels, and a host of Patron Saints.
The departure of the Holy Spirit was a tacit admission of the failure of Triune management. "This three-in-one business was a mystery to me," Archangel Raphael admitted. "I never knew who was in charge. The new streamlined management should increase accountability." The Office of God, comprising The Father and The Son, will replace The Trinity. The Son now appears to be the obvious successor if The Father decides to retire.
The massive layoff of Patron Saints that had been rumored for months. "It's about time," commented Ann Livingston, Religion analysts at JP Morgan. "Heaven's Patron Saint structure was overstaffed, inefficient, and obsolete."
"They had eight Patron Saints for ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and another four for snakebites, but none for software bugs, social networking, or voice mail navigation. There had six each for archers and blacksmiths, but none for software engineers, data base administrators, and commodity traders. There had eight Patron Saints for throat aliments (Andrew the Apostle, Blaise, Etheldredam Godelieve, Ignatius of Antioch, Lucy of Syracuse, Remigus of Rheims, and Swithbert) but none for Alzheimer's. The Italian towns of Faicchio, Fivizzano, and Fossalto have Patron Saints, but not Detroit, Dallas, and Denver."
"Heaven has not changed with the times. Its product line is tired," Ms. Livingston continued. "Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility are so 14th century. And their marketing is antiquated. They sell the wrong image -- a stern and demanding Old White Male -- while the Devil is hip, ironic, multicultural, and appeals to Gen X and Gen Y."
"The products is not properly framed. The Ten Commandments? Who wants Commandments in the twenty first century? They should try 'Ten Super Ideas for Eternal Salvation (Hint: Tried and True, Really Works)'"
"Heaven does not understand the Internet," marketing guru Jason Kline observed. "While Satan has pioneered the use of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to spread lies, envy, lust and greed, God does not even have a website."
The Prince of Darkness, God's chief competitor thinks Heaven's downsizing will enable Hell to increase market share. "We are growing because our core competencies--anger, greed sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony--continue to resonate with today's value-driven worshipers. We are now the market leader in all European countries, and are gaining share everywhere except the American south."
"Beelzebub continues to launch attractive new products through innovative combinations," Mr. Kline remarked. "Consider Facebook (Vanity & Envy), Customer Service Representatives (Sloth & Anger), Rush Limbaugh (Anger & Gluttony), Las Vegas (Lust, Avarice, Gluttony, Vanity, Sloth & Anger), and the 111th Congress (Lust, Anger, Avarice, Sloth, Gluttony, Vanity & Envy)."
Despite Hell's continued growth, few of Heaven's laid off Saints expect to find work there. Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Pewter makers, said that he sent his resume but had not heard back. "Down there they are interested only in aspiring reality TV celebrities."
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