In response to numerous demands by the media, Lak-O-Tone Heavy Industries hosted a press conference yesterday at corporate headquarters on an unnamed business-friendly Caribbean island. Following a sumptous buffet of special trans-fat-free pork rinds and NuGrape soda, Chairman Pike fielded questions from the floor. Following is a heavily edited transcript of the interchange.
Q: There have been rumors of stock options being back-dated at
Lak-O-Tone. What's your response?
A: Ridiculous. I have right here, in my Gladstone bag, the latest of my stock option agreements. As you can readily see, the date is right here, on the front.
Q: What we mean by "back dating" is the practice of changing the
date of a stock option to optimize profit.
A: Profit optimization under God is at the heart of our great American system. As board chairman, I have extra expenses that the rest of you cannot imagine. For example, do you have any idea how much it costs these days to hire competent wardens for the forest on my estate? Ones who can truly put their heart into caning poachers?
Q: There have been allegations that back dating is illegal.
A: We have investigated this at length. I called up the Attorney General of this unnamed Caribbean Island just yesterday. As part of our discussion, I asked him about back dating, and he said it was perfectly legal. He made that decision without even hearing the details.
Q: What was the rest of the discussion about?
A: Proposed campaign contributions.
Q: Even if option back dating is legal, such money-grubbing
avariciousness is unethical, rapacious, piggish and morally
A: And your point is ...?
[After the Sergeant-At-Arms removed several questioners, the press conference concluded with a last question:]
Q: Securities analysts have been puzzled by recent movements in
Lak-O-Tone stock prices. Can you supply guidance?
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear ’t that th’ opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.