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Peter Rabbit Discovers Compliance!
Thursday, April 4, 2024

Well, Easter has come, which can only mean that it is time for our spring holiday compliance special! In honor of the season, here are some interesting facts about Beatrix Potter, the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit:

  • Beatrix Potter was a scientist who concentrated her studies on mycology, the study of fungi. She perfected her drawing skills by making ultra-realistic drawings of microscopic fungus spores.
  • Beatrix Potter actually had a rabbit named Peter Piper, whose name she borrowed for her first children’s book about a naughty rabbit who never listened to his mother.
  • Six publishers rejected the original manuscript for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which meant that the book was originally self-published. When it was eventually picked up by a publisher, it sold over 50,000 copies in its first year, which led Beatrix Potter to exclaim: “The public must be fond of rabbits! What an appalling quantity of Peter.”
  • In 1903, Peter Rabbit was the first fictional character to be made into a patented stuffed toy.

And most importantly, Beatrix Potter originally had planned to be a Chief Compliance Officer! Don’t believe me? Then check out this recently unearthed initial draft of The Tale of Peter Rabbit!

Peter Rabbit Discovers Compliance!

ONCE UPON A TIME, there were four little Rabbits, and their names were . . .

  • Flopsy,
    • Mopsy,
      • Cotton-tail,
        • and Peter.

They lived with their mother, under a stately fir-tree located in the parking lot of the multinational company where their mother worked as a Chief Compliance Officer. Truth be told, it was not a very big company — it had trouble growing, because its main product was carrots, and all the rabbit workers kept eating them before they made it out the door. Nonetheless, it was a very nice company, even if it did occasionally get sued by the EEOC because it had a suspiciously low number of cats on its payroll.

“Now my dears,” said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, “you may go down the lane or to the company cafeteria, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s farm. Your father did so, and he ended up being Audited.”

Now Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail took this advice to heart, because they had grown up hearing scary tales about Mr. McGregor, who worked for something called the “IRS.” Now, none of them exactly knew what “IRS” stood for, or why it was bad to be “Audited,” but they knew it was very scary and was very bad for a company that could not ever balance its books because it had an excessive amount of inventory that had been eaten by its workers.

So Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies who watched lots of compliance dance videos on Tik-Tok, went down the lane to pick blackberries and to benchmark their quality against FDA standards.

But Peter, who was very naughty and did not respect any compliance dictates that were not backed up by effective internal controls, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden and squeezed under the gate!

And then Peter acted in a very non-compliant fashion! First, he ate some lettuces and some French beans, even though doing so was contrary to the clear compliance dictates explained by his mother! Then he ate some radishes, even though he had no reasonable expectation that he had a valid property interest in those vegetables!

And then, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor, who jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a heavy copy of 26 CFR while shouting “stop, thief!”

Peter was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden and lost one of his shoes among the cabbages and the other one amongst the potatoes. And he even lost his blue company jacket, which was quite new, when the large brass buttons caught on a gooseberry net, which apparently was a workplace accident not anticipated by OSHA.

Now that he could run on all four legs, Peter found that he could move much quicker, and he was about to get away. But Mr. McGregor was not done with him yet! Mr. McGregor ran to get his cat, Audit, and sent him after Peter, just like he had done to Peter’s father!

Oh, how Peter wished that he had listened to his mother when she told him about the dangers of being Audited! Not only was Audit a very fierce tabby, but he also was still quite distraught that his job application been turned down at the neighboring company, and even more upset when the EEOC told him that being a cat was not a protected characteristic! He was one very upset Feline-American.

So Peter ran, expanding on his crime of trespass. He found a watering can in the tool shed. It would have been a beautiful thing to hide in, if only the bucket had not been full of old, rusty water that did not meet EPA standards. Still, Peter was desperate, and wedged himself into the rusty watering can.

His plan would have worked, as Audit was growing quite frustrated that he could not find the naughty rabbit, but soon the cold water caused Peter to sneeze — “Kertyschoo!” All would have been lost, but just as Audit reached into the watering can, Peter jumped free! And because Audit’s head was stuck inside the can, Peter had enough time to flee Mr. McGregor’s garden and to run back home.

When Peter’s mother saw that Peter’s coat and shoes were lost, she was quite vexed. Not only was this the second time Peter had lost his clothes in the past fortnight, but she had just found out that the IRS was going to audit their company again … and she had a sneaking suspicion why.

I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother made some chamomile tea, even though the FDA does not approve of the use of food supplements for medical purposes and has not approved any claims of medical efficacy for the tea. Nonetheless, she gave Peter a full dose and sent him straight to bed.

But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail settled in for another night of compliance dance videos on Tik-Tok. They had a grand meal of fresh milk, bread, and their FDA-benchmarked blackberries, proving that following compliance dictates really does pay.

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