It’s time to be honest. We don’t like rich people, do we? Come on, you know don’t. Think about it. Don’t feel bad. It’s common. Why would Aerosmith, Krokus AND Motörhead all have songs called Eat The Rich, even though they’re all rich (okay, Krokus probably isn’t)? In fact, it’s the American Way.
Who is rich? It depends. My Dad once asked–rhetorically–“Does a million dollars sound like a lot of money?” His brother responded: “It depends on what crowd you’re hanging out in.” True enough.
Some people might say I’m rich. I make a good living, pay all my bills on time and even save money. That’s rich to some folks, but not to me. To me, rich is not having to work. If you don’t have to work, you’re rich.
My definition doesn’t work all that well, though. Disabled people don’t have to work. They’d like to work, I guess, but they can’t. I suppose some poor people actually don’t have to work, either. They get by somehow. Retired people don’t have to work, but most of them don’t seem rich to me. I guess what I mean is that if I could live like I do now AND not work, I’d be rich.
Here’s my test to see if someone is rich. Go to the putative rich person’s house and use the bathroom. Rich people have rich bathrooms. Naturally, there is no stink. They have bidets. They have lotions and fancy soap. You’ll be afraid to touch the soap. The towels will be fabulous. You can just touch them, and they will absorb all the moisture from your hide. I know I’m not rich, because our towels come from Walmart. It’s like drying yourself with a raincoat. Don’t even get me started on the toilet paper of the rich. It’s like using a cashmere.
Most any American is rich compared to an impoverished person in a Third World country. Some people, however, are so stinking rich that no context is required. Bill Gates, for example. He’s worth tens of billions of dollars. Billions. That’s rich anywhere, anytime.
We don’t like that kind of rich. That’s just too damn rich. It doesn’t matter if he gives millions to charity. He damn well should. Rich bastard.
What bothers us–or at least me–is this question: Why couldn’t I think of something like a PC? You don’t even need something that complicated. Mike Nesmith of the band The Monkees is rich. Why? His mother invented Liquid Paper. I could have done that. Someone invented Velcro. Post-it Notes. Staples. Clothes pins. All these simple things, and I’m too freakin’ stupid to think of any of them. Dammit.
I’ll post this on Facebook. Mega-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook. Why didn’t I do that? Now, that punk has more money than he can ever spend.
Sometimes, we admire the rich. They are the American Dream, coming from humble beginnings. Usually, though, we’re just jealous. At least, I am.
You know what really chafes us? People who inherit piles of money. They didn’t do anything but win some kind of genetic PowerBall. That just sucks. It condemns all our prior generations as a pack of losers.
I have an ancestor who helped found Rutgers University and was the driving force behind the founding of Princeton University. The Divinity School at Harvard is named after him. It seems like a guy like that should have been rich. Apparently, he wasn’t. Loser.
My ancestors had jobs like coal miner, plumber, school teacher, carnival barker, store keeper, gas station attendant. No money in any of that. You’d think at least one of them would have invented something worthwhile.
I’ve always wanted a trust fund. I know people who have trust funds. Some of them don’t work. Some do, but not because they have to work. Some clever person in an earlier generation saw to that. Trust funds are the calling card of the rich. Man, I hate that.
You can inherit large amounts of money without having anything going for you. You just get it. No brilliant inventions or hard work. You just make it to the reading of the will. It’s no wonder we hate that.
Of course, the worst is if one of your distant relatives or, God forbid, friends becomes rich. Now, you not only face the fact that your ancestors let you down, but you have an example right in your face of your own failings. You’re left with little choice but to try your best to sponge off them whenever possible.
Some people are rich because they marry rich people. That’s especially galling. We should marry for love, but why can’t we love a rich person? Hating all of them makes that tough. Fortunately, most of us can look past that hate to at least marry someone if he or she is rich enough.
It may have been Scott Fitzgerald who said the rich are different. They are. Rich people go to rich people schools with names like The Goiter School or some other pretentious name. If your school starts with “The,” you’re probably rich, too. They go to Harvard or Yale or Princeton until they go to grad school where they end up at a state university with the rest of us. We like them until we find out they’re rich. Sometimes, we still do like them, but we’re still jealous and secretly hope they’ll give us some money or lose all theirs. Either one would be satisfying.
They have different names, too. Lots of III’s and IV’s and what have you. Names like Conroy Hollingsworth Van Dusenberger IV. You can hardly blame them, given the success of their ancestors. I’d be glad to be named after my great-uncle Stud if he’d made a fortune. You can also get nicknames like Chip and Trip and Trey. We hate names like that.
The rich belong to clubs, too. Country clubs, lunch clubs, dinner clubs, book clubs. They play croquet and badminton. Their kids play lacrosse, whatever that is. They have nannies and au pairs. They’re different. Not bad different. Just different. We hate that.
We make ourselves feel better by saying things like “money can’t buy happiness” or noting that the Bible talks about shoving camels through eyes of needles and whatnot. Of course, we fail to note that many poor and middle class people are unhappy, too. I’m sure plenty of them go to Hell, too. Unhappy, Hell-bound and not rich. Now, that’s something we’d definitely hate.
We’re a few days from the Presidential Election and being rich is an issue. Mitt Romney is rich, and people don’t like that. He’s “out of touch” or “aloof.” We should just admit the real problem: He’s rich. Oddly enough, Obama is also rich, but it’s a different kind of rich. He became rich as a politician, which should certainly be more suspicious than inheriting money. Somehow, that’s different but not really. We have two Harvard-educated multi-millionaires running for President. That’s pretty much par for the course. Don’t you hate that?
Hating the rich crosses party lines. When George W. Bush ran against John Kerry, we had the same thing–two Ivy League multi-millionaires. They both went to Yale. Both were rich. Really rich. But Kerry seemed super-duper rich. That’s because he married a rich woman, the widow of John Heinz. Heinz was rich. Why? Heinz Ketchup. That’s right–inventors of the greatest ketchup known to man. That’s just too damn much money in one house. Kerry was aloof and out of touch. Bush was down to Earth. Both are richer than most of us can ever think about being without hitting a lick, but one seemed richer than the other and, thus, more hateable.
Most of our Presidents in the past century were rich. JFK was rich. His family made a fortune in bootlegging, but money is money. FDR was so rich that he could marry his own cousin and no one cared. Try that today. Nixon was rich, although he made all his money as a politician. Good old Tricky Dick. I don’t know if Reagan was rich, but he was some kind of movie star–they’re all rich. Now, Truman wasn’t rich. In fact, he was so not rich that the federal government became concerned about him and gave him a pension. No one wanted to see a former president penniless. You don’t have to be rich to be President, but it sure doesn’t hurt. We hate that about the President.
I’m told I should dislike Romney because he’s rich. Apparently, if you’re really rich, you’re evil. I’ve never seen that correlation, but it would make me feel better if it were true. You know, something like rich people eating poor people. Supposedly, Romney doesn’t care about anyone but the rich. I guess that’s possible, but he’s given a lot of his money to charity which can’t be all bad unless it’s a charity for rich people. Folks should just cut to the chase and say: “Vote for Obama. He’s rich but not as rich as Romney.” Naturally, we’d hate anyone who said that.
Even though we hate the rich, we all want to be rich, don’t we? We play the PowerBall to get rich, even though the odds are better that you will one day live next door to someone who walked on the moon than actually winning. It’s worth a shot. When someone wins the PowerBall, don’t you hate them just a little bit?
If there’s a downside to being rich (other than all the hate), it’s that you might not always be rich. It happens. That would suck. Then you’d have to hate people who are like you used to be and are what you want to be, too. Seems like that would be tough. We’d hate that.
One good thing about the rich is that it’s okay to hate them. Other than politicians and athletes, hate isn’t socially acceptable. You can hate the rich without being a bigot or some kind of phobe. Try saying “Eat The Poor.” You’ll have no friends.
If you’re rich, take no offense. I don’t really hate you. I’m just a wee bit jealous. I’d like to be your friend. More importantly, I’d like a trust fund. Of course, if you are rich, I doubt you’d read my foolish blog, but one of your servants might read it to you. (Sorry, more rich people envy. Don’t hate me).
Oh well. Make friends with some rich people. Then, eat them.