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The Perkomaniac

Perk*o*man*i*ac: a mamber of the board who uses his position to get special benefits for himself rather then serve the people who elected him

AuthorityThe Perkomaniac is a species indigenous to High Rise Society.  Unlike Big Time Politicians, for whom perks are just icing on the cake, for Perkomaniacs, whose power is relatively petty and pay non-existent, perks can be the whole enhilada, their sole motive for becoming a member of the ruling elite. 

 For some Perkomaniacs the rush that comes just from declaring they are more powerful than you may be a sufficient ego booster.  Many crave more They may lay claim to common space by planting a pile of excess junk on the roof with the same conviction those astronauts planted a flag on the moon.. Maybe instead they’ll co-opt a wall of storage bins, when most people don’t have any. They may use their position to reward friends and punish enemies. Some of the things they seek are such big quarry, they deserve – and will get – separate entries.

 One of the reasons Perkomaniacs have survived so successfully in their natural habitat is that they have few natural enemies.  In the real world reporters are paid to smoke out political perks. How do you think we found out about that Congressman from Harlem, who didn’t see any problem in having four, FOUR rent stabilized apartments at under market rates in a luxury high rise?

iStock_000011120809XSmall I don’t know what planet he’s living on, but I do know, as does every New Yorker from the day they are born, that a rent stabilized apartment is a precious commodity to be guarded with your life, and it has to be your Primary Residence.  So by definition you can only have one, ONE.  And if somehow you manage to get more than one, you will be hunted down like a criminal till you are found out and sent to the electric chair.           

But in High Rise Society, usually there are no reporters or anyone watching what’s going on, not even the people who live there.

Perkomaniacs can be hard to spot even though they live right under your nose.  They look pretty much the same as fellow tribesmen, except for the smug smirk that characterizes the species and may ultimately lead to its demise. Sometimes they can’t contain themselves so you may hear them gloating to a neighbor about how they stole the last two parking spaces right out from under Mr. X. That’s why you should always have a cell handy to record their admissions against interest

 Or maybe the Perkomaniac is ready to pounce on that spot in the bike room you’ve been patiently waiting in line for.  If instead of turning and running, you take him on, you have a good chance of succeeding against a breed that has not developed strong defenses because it has no natural enemies.

Left unchecked, Perkomaniacs can become Masters of High Rise Society, as dominant as the lord of the jungle, making fellow tribesmen tremble just to ask for things they’re entitled to, for fear of crossing those in control of their lives. You can’t use a stun gun to subdue them, but you can take up the anti-perk cause.  In The Co-op Bible I urged that all directors sign onto a code of ethics promising not to get anything anyone else doesn’t, but it’s time to think about make that pledge a precondition for anyone running

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