Updated version, hat tip to Throngsman :
“The parallels are uncanny. WW1 troops had an enemy with almost identical weapons and tactics – the Germans. We’ve got CoreSoft, who produce an almost identical software solution to us. Our soldiers were lions led by donkeys, and my sales manager is a total dick. It all fits.
“I know that men actually died over there, which doesn’t happen much in sales. But the distances we drive are brutal, writing tender responses till midnight, staying in crappy hotels and shagging prostitutes – it’s the trenches, really. It’s the 21st century equivalent.
Brad becomes tearful, and runs his fingers through over-gelled, spiky hair. A flash of cufflink catches the light. “Who’s our Wilfred Owen? Where are our medals? We’re dying out there, man. I drive from Sunderland to Birmingham to Leeds in a day, three presentations and about 20 phone calls, and where’s my ticker-tape parade? Just once a year would be nice, just some appreciation. Maybe a bugler or two. Is that so much to ask?”
Brad is speaking at the Tomb of the Unknown Salesman, who died on the M6 in a Vauxhall Vectra juggling a Costa coffee and a mobile phone at 80 mph whilst doing his expenses and making the ‘wanker’ gesture at slower drivers.
“They say the first casualty of war is the truth. Well, I wouldn’t know about that, obviously, I’m a software salesman. Many of us suffer from PTSD – Post Target Syndrome Disorder – people think it’s a made-up disease, but I’ve seen it in the eyes of boys who’ve been told once too often that their target’s gone up again. One more push, lads, that’s what they say. This time next year we’ll all be in Maui at the Winners Awards. But the big offensive never quite materialises, the enemy’s still there, gloating.
“There’s a lot of mental illness. My best friend quit and became a project manager. Poor bastard. And people have the gall to say it isn’t a real syndrome”.
Brad holds out his collecting tin. Every year he collects for “Help for Heroes Who Sell Software”. “I’m just trying to make a difference. Like those Tommies in World War One. But with better hair and a much nicer car, obviously.