The Clorox Code - Part 2
After an awkward introduction in the parking lot, Sally Kellerman invited me to jump in her Range Rover with Dan Brown, and we hopped onto the 24 towards downtown Oakland.
Sally pulled the black monolith of an SUV into a parking garage and we crossed 12th Street, staring up at the white monolith of a building constructed from fortunes made from bleach.
A friendly greeter directed us to the visitors center and handed us literature asking if we would like to see their orientation film. We said yes and went into a small theater, its walls, carpet furnishings all a blinding shade of brilliant white. Embedded in the while was the watermark Clorox logo and the catch phrase "A food and chemical company".
"Food and...chemicals..." Sally said with trepidation, holding her brochure against her mouth as she looked at the two or three other visitors just before the lights dimmed.
A pleasant young woman with an eerily dulcet grin walked to the front of the room. "Hello, and welcome to Clorox Center. We're pleased to present today's program about the history of Clorox, its unique culture and its contributions to the larger culture."
The lights dimmed and showed images of early 20th century Oakland and then up on the screen came the number 12. The year was 1912 when a group of entrepeneurs came together to found a new firm.
"Twelve. Twelve. The cult of twelve," Dan whispered.
Five men came together to start Clorox --- then called Electro-Alkaline Company. -- that year and filed papers of incorporation. There was then a brief description of the firm's founding fathers: Archibald Taft, a banker; Edward Hughes, a purveyor of wood and coal; Charles Husband, a bookkeeper; Rufus Myers, a lawyer; and William Hussey.
"Husband and Hussey," Dan whispered. "I'm just saying"
"I loved Olivia Hussey. Such a great name," Sally said, refusing to acknowledge any conspiracy.
"Hush, we're trying to watch the film," a voice chided them from a few rows back.
The film then showed the evolution of bleach through the years, from industrial strength to non-bleaching whitener. And onward into 21st Century as a fascinating morphing of this stalwart product found its way into moistened wipes, bleaching pens and even dental products.
The film concluded with an atmospheric tribute to the brand as angelic voices hummed over the drone of electronic rhythm and images of filth were cleared by liquid dissolves. The film ended in white, bright light and then the room was flooded with near blinding light.
A group of three young men in white hooded robes appeared at the front of the room.
"We hope you enjoyed the program," the man in the middle said. He turned and opened a double door behind him. "And now, are you ready to enter the inner chamber."
Dan looked nervously at Sally who held his hand and insisted. "Dan, we must. We must. Otherwise we'll never know for sure."