It was hellish in Heaven yesterday. Buffeted by falling revenues, rising expenses, and intense competition from the Internet, God announced a 30 percent staff reduction. The layoffs include The Holy Spirit, two Archangels, and a host of Patron Saints.
The departure of the Holy Spirit was a tacit admission of the failure of Triune management. 'êThis three-in-one business was a mystery to me,'ê Archangel Raphael admitted. 'êI never knew who was in charge. The new streamlined management should increase accountability.'ê The Office of God, comprising The Father and The Son, will replace The Trinity. The Son now appears to be the obvious successor if The Father decides to retire.
The massive layoff of Patron Saints had been rumored for months. 'êIt'ês about time,'ê commented Ann Livingston, Religion analyst at JP Morgan. 'êHeaven'ês Patron Saint structure was overstaffed, inefficient, and obsolete.
'êThey had eight Patron Saints for ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and another four for snakebites, but none for software bugs, social networking, or voice mail navigation. There were six each for archers and blacksmiths, but none for software engineers, data base administrators, and commodity traders. There were eight Patron Saints for throat aliments (Andrew the Apostle, Blaise, Etheldredam Godelieve, Ignatius of Antioch, Lucy of Syracuse, Remigus of Rheims, and Swithbert) but none for Alzheimer's. The Italian towns of Faicchio, Fivizzano, and Fossalto have Patron Saints, but not Detroit, Dallas, and Denver.
'êHeaven has not changed with the times. Its product line is tired,'ê Ms. Livingston continued. 'êChastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility are so 14th century. And their marketing is antiquated. They sell the wrong image — a stern and demanding Old White Male — while the Devil is hip, ironic, multicultural, and appeals to Gen X and Gen Y.
'êThe product is not properly framed. The Ten Commandments? Who wants Commandments in the 21st century? They should try 'êTen Super Ideas for Eternal Salvation (Hint: Tried and True Really Works).'
'êHeaven does not understand the Internet,'ê Ms. Livingston continued in her frank assessment. 'êWhile Satan has pioneered the use of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to spread lies, envy, lust, and greed, God does not even have a website."
The Prince of Darkness, God'ês chief competitor, thinks Heaven'ês downsizing will enable Hell to increase market share. He commented: 'êWe are growing because our core competencies — anger, greed sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony — continue to resonate with today'ês value-driven worshipers. We are now the market leader in all European countries, and are gaining share everywhere except the American south.'ê
Analyst Livingston concurred with The Prince. 'êBeelzebub continues to launch attractive new products through innovative combinations,'ê Ms. Livingston remarked. 'êConsider Facebook (Vanity & Envy), Customer Service Representatives (Sloth & Anger), Rush Limbaugh (Anger & Gluttony), Las Vegas (Lust, Avarice, Gluttony, Vanity, Sloth & Anger), and the 111th Congress (Lust, Anger, Avarice, Sloth, Gluttony, Vanity & Envy).'ê
Despite Hell'ês continued growth, few of Heaven'ês laid-off Saints expect to find work there. Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Pewter makers, said that he sent his resume but had not heard back. 'êDown there they are interested only in aspiring reality-TV celebrities. I don't have a prayer.'ê