Monday, July 17, 2017

The Rich Are Different From You and Me

F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely misunderstood to have observed The rich are different from you and me. It was actually a French cocktail waitress who said it, though to Ernie Hemingway. Whoever said it or didn’t say it, truer words were never spoken. The rich have beautiful manners, Not a one of them hasn’t gone to something called finishing school, whereas you and I had to be content with just starting and continuing schools, ha ha. The rich smell nicer than you or I, as they typically don’t bathe in water, but in Dior cologne. It dries out the skin, but boy, does it smell good. Then they take their dry skin to a dermatologist or spa, and have it made all supple and moist on top of fragrant. I love to stand downwind of them at the bus stop.

When the rich travel by air, they don’t sit with you and me in the section in which the flight  crew spits on you if you ask for an extra pillow or a straw with which to drink the $4 can of soda pop you bought to enjoy while you laugh yourself hoarse, with an a, at Adam Sandler’s latest on-screen shenanigans. Yes, you’re surrounded in Coach by fellow passengers who think Adam Sandler hilarious. In their section of the plane, which is quite accurately called First Class the rich, meanwhile, are watching art films personally selected by Robert Redford and the ghost of Orson Welles. 

When they arrive at their destination, it isn’t some little bald guy from a country no one’s ever heard of with puddles of perspiration under each of us arms who meets them. It’s a dignified English as a first language type with silver hair, minty breath, and a tailored black uniform. Before allowing herself to be led to her limousine, our rich person might even do a little shopping in one of the airport boutiques, secure in the knowledge that everything will cost 20% more than at the nearest mall, or the farthest. Spending money wantonly makes a person feel so alive, and closer my God, to thee.

It might be fruitful, in the non-pejorative, non-homophobic sense, to pause here to consider the relationship between virtue and wealth. If we are able to agree — and who could demur in the face of overwhelming evidence? — that God is omnipotent and all-knowing, does it not stand to reason that the very rich must have pleased him with a capital H big time?  He could have made the unfragrant, ill-groomed, lazy, and stupid rich, but he, in his infinite wisdom, conferred wealth only on the talented, gorgeous, and hard-working. We diminish ourselves as Americans when we begrudge them their Dior cologne baths!

I love the rich, and I have to lose my medical insurance so that they can get themselves a Ferrari in a colour they don’t already have, it’s the least I can do.

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