Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Pharmaceutical With all the elixirs now on the market, there's no reason to settle for the old you anymore. And that's good for business.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Good evening. Welcome to my laboratory.

Don't be alarmed. The equipment you see is all quite quotidian. Each table before you, jammed as it is with beakers, bells, wires, drippy things, and electrodes that crackle in the ether, is set up for the manufacture and synthesis of the new elixirs that will transform the human individual as we have known him and her for 10,000 years. Hey, make that millions! HAHAHAHA!

Please. Make yourself comfortable. You're going to be here for a while. I'm sorry about the manner in which you were conveyed to this secret location, but I assure you that you will be leaving on your own power. All that is required of you is to witness a magnificent experiment. To watch...and report later...if I, in my new form, am unable to accomplish that function in a responsible and dispassionate manner. For who knows what I shall become, now that the building blocks of eternal superhuman status are within my grasp!

I wish you would stop struggling like that. Shall I loosen the handkerchief a little? That's better. Screaming will do you no good. We are miles away from any assistance. The zoning here in Greenwich is quite effective in that regard, believe me.

All right, then. Let's begin.

The man you see before you is prepossessing, and quite capable in many respects, have no fear. But lately I have begun to feel that I was not all I could be, given the resources that are now at my disposal. I attempted to attack these small...failings...one at a time, with some success.

I'm sure you are aware of the number of amazing pharmaceuticals that are now becoming available on the open market, drugs designed to do more than cure, drugs meant to enhance the very self. Each of these called out to me in turn as a means to build on the already high level of business performance to which my employers had every right to become accustomed.

I began with Rogaine. It seemed like a logical place to start. I'm sure you have noticed that people with hair do better, on average, than people with no hair. People who shave their heads may take some issue with this statement, but then, that is their choice. And choice is at the heart of any happy decision. Since my 20s, I have suffered some diminution of the natural frondage that God afforded me. I figured, how could it hurt?

And it didn't hurt. But it didn't help, either. Okay, I have a little more fuzz on my upper brow, and the back of my head doesn't sunburn quite so easily. But has that aided me in meetings? Just the other day Ferber challenged me in an open gathering about the level of my departmental activity in regard to the fall marketing rollout. He never would have done that if the Rogaine had been pursuing its business application the way I had hoped it would.

This naturally left me feeling depressed. Good thing I had my second element, Prozac, ready to take up the slack from a strategic perspective. Business people, when they're functioning well, should be clear, calm, with a realistic but jolly frame of mind. There are other solutions that have worked over the years for this professional purpose, but they often leave a telltale scent on one's breath. The Prozac promised untold vistas of performance enhancement, and I had high hopes for it.

And it worked, for a while. My outlook improved mightily, to the point where I was able to figure out a way to view the lackluster third-quarter pacing with enthusiasm, if not verve. And yet...there were moments when I found myself feeling kind of...slack, missing a certain joie de vivre. I found myself napping more, failing to check subordinates' expense reports with my usual diligence.

That's when I began exploring the business applications of Viagra. The other uses of this wonder drug have been widely reported in the media. What has also been stated is that it has no effect unless sexual stimulation is provided. I found this to be untrue. Over the course of six days of experimentation, I closed 32 sales on products that have virtually no value, prevented three separate cost inquiries into my budget from achieving any result, and exacted six apologies from people who had done nothing wrong to me.

There were problems with this answer as well, however. I was sleeping little. I was filled with an inchoate yearning that no amount of business achievement could alleviate. After work, I found myself seized with an overwhelming desire for a cigarette. I had no desire to start smoking cigarettes again! Something else would have to be done--and soon.

And that's when I hit upon my brilliant idea, my friend. Are you comfortable? The final act is almost at hand.

Yes, it became clear to me, one night when I was doing my 4,000th pushup as a result of critical Viagra buildup, that each of the new pharmaceuticals had an answer for me--but not the whole answer. To achieve true liftoff in this tough business environment on the bridge to the millennium, I would have to take all three...together!

Which brings us to tonight. There is no further explanation needed. First, I will take this vial of extra-strength Rogaine that worked so well for the Mailman, Karl Malone. Look how it glistens in the light! Now see where I add the essence of Prozac--how the solution turns a mellow burbling blue! And now...the Viagra. Good Lord! See it bubble! See the foam creeping over the edge of the beaker! It reminds me of that punch we had at the annual sales conference at La Costa back in '89! Those were the days!

And now...to drink.

Ach! Ouch! Ooo! Grr. Bwwwaaahhhhhwoooooooo!!!!

The power! The power! All right, the hair that's now completely covering every inch of my body is a little bit itchy, but the raw, unmodulated power! I feel the dynamic drive of Bill Gates coursing through my veins! The intellect of Sartre! The ruthless determination of Lou Gerstner! The mellow understanding of Deepak Chopra! I cannot be defeated! I am one! I am strong! I am super!

And now, my friend, I will untie your bonds. Do not be afraid. Let us go forth into the night and taste it to the core! And on the way, let us take in that last and greatest potion that turns mere humans into immortals and eases more than any other the grand machinery of the business world!

I'll have mine straight up! With an olive!

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name.