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On my first day at the Amazon factory I was greeted with the following things: a handshake, a smile, a key to a small locker for personal belongings, a hard hat (presumably for my head, but possibly as a receptacle during short term bathroom breaks), and a laminated note.

I was instructed to store the note safely in my locker, so it could be easily accessed during one of two 4-minute breaks in the workday. It was peculiar, but I assumed it was some Amazon Friends and Family coupon codes, or something. “Hey, working for Amazon isn’t so bad after all,” I looked forward to reporting to my friends and family as I bestowed the discount codes upon them, regaling them with tales of my lengthy bathroom breaks and how my hard hat remained 100 percent urine free.

On my second day at the Amazon factory, a superior was waiting for me as I punched in. He asked me if I had the laminated note because I needed to recite it for him. He called it “The Morning Pledge.” I snickered and looked for hidden cameras in the warehouse but couldn’t spot them. And like a buxom virgin realizing the killer is already in the house, I understood that I had made a grave mistake concerning my whereabouts.

I pledge allegiance to Jeffrey Preston Bezos, 

The first, and only,

Founder, Owner, Creator,

In this, his temple, my time is his time.

We both knew the pledge was not over, but I hoped it was enough to satisfy the requirements. But it was not enough to satisfy the requirements. I was instructed to continue with the oddest, most specific threat I’d ever heard. Did I realize that I was in a room with thousands of active Alexas, who are “equipped to do way more than the ones we sell to suburban housewives?”

The almighty Bezos, Praised be he, 

Maker, Helper, Seer, 

His vision only bested by his unlimited reach.

Who needs nothing and gives everything,

For nothing can stop the unstoppable, 

and nothing can impede the unimpedable 

It was more than just ridiculous; it was also clunky. The guy had a whole Washington Post full of editors and this is the best he could do? Was unimpedable even a word? A curt hand signal told me to keep it moving, so I swallowed hard and dove back in.

This thing had to be over soon. After all, the warehouse conveyor belts were waiting for me, and I’d seen enough I Love Lucy to know what happens when you get behind. My mouth was drying up, and I needed a sip of water. A small sip, since I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit the bathrooms for another 5 hours.

Hail Bezos, whose every machine moves forward,

Innovator, Mentor, Cool Space Guy

Today we are terrestrial bound, but Bezos will take us to the stars

The Cosmos Cowboy

Fulfills all dreams

To infinity and beyond

I paused again, distracted by the tears running down my superior’s face. I wondered how the last stanza, plagiarism and all, was the one that moved him to tears. Noticing my concern, he wiped his eyes, looked over each of his shoulders and leaned in. Barely more than a whisper he said, “I have to listen to this every day. So. Many. Times. That thing about the Alexas, it wasn’t a threat, it was a warning. For both of us.” He cleared his throat, stiffened his upper lip, and plainly said, “Please finish.”

Bezos, oh Bezos

Shepherd, Conqueror, Prime Minister 

Allow me to summon your will 

To syphon even a bit of your capability

For today’s journey.

I love you

My supervisor winced, and crossed to his next station.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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