Rich guy might be miserable, too
March 15, 2017 | View PDF
I’ve got a cold. My lower back is sending red alerts and I might have to see the doctor about a possibly infected sore.
This is the wrong frame of mind for viewing the Mansion section of the Wall Street Journal, which seems to be there to remind me that among the half-million Americans who earn more than $1 million a year, one of them isn’t me.
They make up a small fraction of the U.S.’ 318 million people but enough to justify very visible competition for their considerable discretionary income.
In the Mansion section, a typical ad shows a beautiful model in a flowing gown in front of a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain high above the Manhattan skyline. The caption is something like: “The Valhalla. Overseeing Park Avenue. From $20 million.” The model in all likelihood could hardly afford the elevator ride.
The Journal’s monthly magazine today focuses on men’s fashion, clothes I’ll never see on another human being in real life. The unshaven model looks clinically depressed while wearing a tie that would cost me a month’s salary. I wouldn’t wear the tie anyway, or the $300 fur-lined shorts.
I’ve never been to the parts of town where they might wear stuff like that. Not in Chicago, Los Angeles or even Albuquerque.
Anyway, you get rich when people give you lots of money. In return you have to give them something rare and desirable or the promise you can make them richer with the money they give you.
That requires motivation, achievement and luck. I’ve never had enough of any of those to make people give me lots of money.
That leaves me living in a comfortable home in Tucumcari with as much as I need and not much more.
I’m fine with that, except when accumulated miseries produce a desire to escape.
I’ll get over this temporary jealousy quickly, though.
I just need to remember that somewhere in one of those $20 million Manhattan high-rise condos there is probably a guy who’s got a cold, a backache and a sore lump who also wishes he were somewhere else.
Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org