Look, I like money as much as the next person. It feels nice to sniff it, to rub it across my face, and spread it around on the floor and roll in it, plus the way it makes my wallet feel nice and fat makes me almost ecstatic. But we have to remember that money is just a tool for getting the things we want, and not ballast for filling the empty spaces in our being––I find beer and hamburgers much more effective as ballast––and I’m not losing sight of the fact that money is required for beer and hamburgers, but how much beer and hamburger meat does a person actually need?
A few weeks ago we were staying with a friend in Colombia in South America. We thought we’d give him a day without us being at his house so he could just chill, and hang-out and have noisy sex with his girlfriend without worrying that we were listening.
So we went for a day at a resort. It had blue ocean, white sand, and multi-colored umbrellas; it had palm trees and silk-canopied four-poster beds pulled right up to the shore-line. Handsome men posed around competing for the attentions of the prettiest women, and the women changed into increasingly tiny bikinis in order to reveal themselves to be worth competing for.
You could relax in a swimming pool as immaculately turquoise as the virgin birth, while tanned young men served you with cocktails and your emplayada minded the children.
I felt like I should lean back under my Panama hat and say to my spouse, “Ahhhh…this is the life.”
But I didn’t. Why not? To me it just didn’t feel like it was the life.
It was supposed to be a place where middle income people could go and pretend to be rich for an hour, doing the things that rich people do, but to me it seemed like a caricature. It seemed like a middle-income person’s flawed idea of how rich people relax.
So, I’m left with two possible scenarios: either genuinely rich people don’t go to romantic sub-tropical beaches to lounge on four-poster beds and drink Manhattans; or rich people really do relax in this way.
And––now I’m home again I have suspicion that maybe the second theory is correct. Maybe the swimming-pool-and-cocktail thing really is what rich people do, and if so then I feel bad for them, because it’s kind of boring. How much sub-tropical sun can you take? How many Mohitos can you drink?
And the place you go to for relaxation sucks, then what about the other place?
The place where rich people do all of the lying, and cheating, and swindling, and destroying of lives and souls, in order to make the money to go to the boring relaxation place?
Is it worth it?
So, next time a politician tells you that rich people deserve our gratitude––that they deserve our kind thoughts––that they deserve more tax-breaks––please listen, because rich people’s lives really suck.