Friday, October 5, 2007

COTS: Theater of the Damned

Like all Emperors, our least favorite likes to surround himself with dancing minions providing entertainment and merriment to his liking. His theater on E street is filled with the voices of the choir, always in lockstep with their employer, even as he repeatedly sings out of key. And, like all good monopolies, the E Street theater puts on a single show and abhors competition.

Unfortunately, His Royal Lowness' theater had to go dark for renovations for a number of years. New sets, new decorations, new players were being readied in the wings to once again light up the night. But those who seek regular entertainment clamoured for an alternative to fill the gap. The cacophony of the Emperor's subjects became so great, that the Emperor had no choice but to relent and allow a couple of small theater troupes an opportunity to placate the masses. Of course, the Emperor only sought to quiet the din, not to open the door to competition for his fabled theater. Among his minions he called his plan for subversive domination by a single code-word: "COTS."

As part of the plan, the Emperor appeared as benefactor, offering small sums of cash to the new players to put together a show of modest quality. The cash allowed the groups to initially pay monthly entertainment license fees to the Emperor and to begin to construct backdrops for their shows. With this meager start, the troupes set out with tin cups and small dance routines, seeking additional funds to fulfill their aspiring dreams.

And, just when these groups started to show signs of success, the Emperor exercised the second part of his well thought out plan. He brought in a Russian ballet troupe to divert attention from his closed theater and he printed flyers suggesting that other opportunities for other players might be forthcoming. As you might expect, the change stopped dropping in the tin cups of our small group of friends, tarnishing their ambitions and dashing their dreams.

And so the Emperor never had to worry about anyone suggesting that his own theater might be too pricey or overbuilt. The Emperor repeated this scenario a couple of more times for his own entertainment. In the end, he lost interest in his little game and just waited for his own theater to reopen.

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