Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Uncommitted

He was the man who always kept his options open.

Others had established opinions and principles. He had only two: Keeping his options open and furthering his own interests.

Nothing was off the table. He was always ready to compromise or propose more options and life to him was one long negotiation that he would eventually win. He thought that people who locked themselves into positions were foolish. Didn't they see how restrictive that was? He bridled at limitations and was always on the look for the special advantage. Principles were for children.

He'd mastered the art of seeming to care about people and issues and was usually calm in a crisis because, if you don't care, being calm is easy. He knew how to fake commitment and had memorized countless dodges and weasel words that would permit him to drop anything or anyone at any time and appear to be principled.

His career thrived. Potential competitors dropped along the way; victims of their own passion for excellence or ethics or any of a legion of things about which he cared . . . nothing. A few were felled by his own manipulations. He had a true talent for being far away when the poison he'd applied to their hopes eventually did its trick. Afterwards, he said all the right words of consolation and people spoke of his eloquence.

If you'd looked into his soul you would have seen a vast, empty plain.

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