Grim Professionalism

In his last address to a graduating class, former Yale President Kingman Brewster warned against grim professionalism. That was in the late 1970s. By the 1980s, the American workplace had degenerated into a sink hole of posturing and preening.  True competence was replaced by the sphincter-clinching grimace of the so-called “professional.” Look around your own workplace and ask yourself if any of this seems familiar.

The Spectre of Grim Professionalism

We had been warned;
some took heed,
but the numbers
were overwhelming.

The Spectre of
Grim Professionalism
grabbed a choke-hold on the
throat of a generation,
forcing us all to grit our
teeth while small
bursts of air
squeaked out
as if through the
neck of a balloon.

The joy of living died,
leaving no room
for imagination.

We were left with
blank bubble-headed stares,
while a lone refugee
brain fragment rattled
around in our skulls
like a marble in a milk can.

What passed for ideas
seeped out from between
our lips
like so much balloon spit.

This gruesome horde
of buffaloed zombies
thundered across
the fruited plain,
trampling out the
last flickering
vestiges of humanity.

I can still see
smoke rising from
the scorched earth
as the
tide withdraws
to gather strength for
the Final Assault,
leaving a high-water mark
just short of
where I stand.

I’m afraid to turn
around and look.

I may be the
last one left
standing on this hill.

So maybe I’ll just
call out:


If there’s
left back there,
let me know!


I’m waiting!


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