Sunday, August 22, 2010

Becker Incorporated

"I had my first anger management class and I was pissed as hell". This very antithetical rhetoric rings clearly in my head. Different folks interpret life differently. Some keep prognosticating about the times ahead, some keep thinking about some dreary past events and others are whining about the present. And then there is Becker. "Becker" is a sitcom which ran for a couple of seasons on TV.
Becker is one man who never ceases to amaze me. His philosophy about life is as simple as it gets- "Don't say YES when you want to say NO". In everyday life, people try to keep their serenity and work their way through problems, keeping their head down. On the other hand,Becker is one guy who is a straight shooter. His vociferous comments about everything and everyone around him make him look like a jerk. But he is actually being blatantly honest about the people around him. The reason? He seems to connect with everyone in his own way, thus trying to make them look at the world through his eyes.
Be it the diner owner Regie or his apartment super, Bob. Regie is an ex-super model whose father bequeathed her just one gift before dying- an old derelict diner located in Bronx - a place with no rules and where there is little respect for authority. Regie keeps complaining about the lack of customers and Becker responds with his comments about lack of quality food! Bob, his super is a narcissistic guy who is a pucca-moocher. Whenever Becker asks Bob if he could fix his apartment, he replies with - "You are on the list!". In one of the episodes, Becker actually corners Bob and asks him about the list. Bob responds "You got me!! There is no list!". Jake is another one of Becker's "buddies", who sells magazines and cigarettes for a living. Despite losing his eyesight, Jake has a surprisingly positive attitude towards life and does not miss a chance to pull Becker's legs.
Becker is a kind of egomaniac with a heart. He went to Harvard and believes that none of the other colleges stand up to that kind of repute. He is quite nonchalant about other medical practitioners like chiropractors. As luck would have it, once he ends up with a sore back and finds himself in a Chinese Massage Parlor for treatment! His colleagues at the clinic seem to like him despite his egocentric behavior. Margaret, does a lot of bookkeeping for Becker and almost acts like his private nanny. Linda, who doubles up as a store keeper and receptionist does...well..nothing! The essence of this sitcom is about a man who likes to say "I told you so!" almost all the time. Becker has a few friends whom he trusts completely and its this set of loyal friends that help him overcome his problems.
IF folks like Becker ended up in a corporate environment, they would run havoc. As Chanakya said, "Straight trees are cut first". Becker is affirmative when he calls a spade, a spade. But conventional wisdom suggests that being politically naive won't really help to survive in the corporate world. Not everyone can be a friend and not everyone can be trusted. Getting the job done is more important, rather than focus sing on the minutiae. Becker can be a good individual contributor, but not a good team player. Becker's philosophy of playing it straight might not be liked by some of the guys in the board room. To conclude, I recall an anecdote about two corporate whiz kids working at Nike. These blokes were enjoying a nice sunny day somewhere in Africa, trotting down a trail with green meadows and thick grass around them. Suddenly, a lion appeared from nowhere, right in the middle of the trail. Both were shit-scared. One of them, for some strange reason started to unpack his bag, taking out a pair of Nike shoes. He started wearing them and tying the laces at a frenetic pace. The other guy asked him, "What good is that going to do? Do you really think that with those Nike shoes you are going to run any faster than that Lion?". The other guy gave back a quick repartee - "Who said anything about the Lion? I just want to make sure I run faster than you!!".

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