Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

October 2014

I was once complimented for being corporate. It was truly meant to be a compliment and implied that I usually wasn’t.

Because I was wearing laced shoes, dark socks, a suit, white starched shirt, plain tie, I appeared to be a representative of a corporation and a corporation could be defined as a person without a soul and expected to act that way.

I can recall a time or two when I acted corporate without dressing for the part. I worked for a conglomerate in the tax department tasked with preparing state tax returns. My responsibility was for four states. My job was to prepare four returns a year. On my desk, I had various pencils in different colors (this was years before the personal computer and networked printers) and a telephone.

The telephone had a WATS connection to each of the states I was charged with short-sheeting. I often called a bank in Georgia to get the time. I really liked Southern accents, still do, but didn’t wear a watch, still don’t, so when I wanted to know how close it was to lunch, in a very corporate way I could dial up the lady at the bank.

To keep up to date on anything that could affect the corporation’s tax liability, I subscribed to several tax service publications. One that came along bore news that tax credits were available for contributions to private schools. It was a Lester Maddox special. Lester was a governor famous for keeping ax handles at the ready for persuading “certain people” not to try to be seated at his restaurant.

Although I was a new frontiersman, supportive of James Meredith and integration of Ole Miss and scornful of George Wallace’s stand in the schoolhouse door, I had no problem recommending the allocation of charitable funds to the private schools set up to avoid integration.

I was just being corporate.

A bit of good news, my recommendation was not followed.

I have had the good fortune to work for a good many other good corporations since then.