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Doing unto others

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Time for the Hightower "Gooberhead" Award, presented periodically to those whose tongues do not seem to be connected in any way to their brains. Today's awardee: Al Dunlap. Yes, he's the notorious "Chainsaw Al," known for taking-over corporations, severing thousands of employees from their jobs and walking away with millions of dollars in personal profits. Today's Goober, however, is not given to him for his mistreatment of workers, but for the way he's mistreating his neighbors. Chainsaw lives in a super-exclusive neighborhood of multimillion-dollar homes adjacent to a ritzy resort in Boca Raton. Exclusive as it is, though, Al is worried about crime. It seems someone smashed the sunroof of his Mercedes while it was parked in his driveway. Plus, a fountain was taken from his yard, and a concrete pineapple has been stolen from the wall around his garden. So Dunlap wants armed guards to protect his property. Fine. Except that he wants his neighbors to chip-in on the $270,000-a-year price tag for 24-hour, gun-toting security. "No thank you," said the neighbors, who are not having any security problems and feel perfectly safe. Chainsaw took this neighborly rejection with all the grace and maturity we've learned to expect from today's corporate leaders: He has threatened to sue them. Mr. Dunlap "will make sure people are held responsible" for any damage he suffers from their failure to pay for his protection, his lawyer says in a very twisted bit of legal logic. But, then, Al's a pretty twisted guy who does not seem to care about doing the neighborly thing. "If you want a friend," Dunlap says, "buy a dog." Money will buy a good dog, but it won't buy the wag of its tail. Given Chainsaw Al's cheerful personality, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets bitten by his own pet. What a gooberhead.

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