Thursday, August 11, 2011

More on the Haves and Have-Nots

    Driving to work this morning in my beat-up P.O.S. van with the glaring "check engine" light staring me in the face, I pull up alonside a new Cadillac Escalade. My first reaction is envy at the pristine white pearl paint,  glistening chrome, vanity plates. Beside it my van looks just that much older and shabbier. I look over at the driver and my envy diminishes: soft, pudgy hands with immaculate French manicure; glittering diamond charm bracelet dangling from a plump yet delicate wrist; hair bleached blonde to within an inch of its life; make-up too thick and still unable to diguise the wrinkles, eye pouches, chronically down-turned pout, and unhealthy pallor from years of a decadent lifestyle. Yes, these are just my biased observations and there is no foundation or fact to back my opinion of her general health and happiness. But after the first visceral reaction of envy, the realization that her Escalade probably did very little for her happiness and/or self esteem, and the fact that I knew at a glance that I could easily take her best 4 out of 5 falls, my envy disapated to be replaced by a glimmer of superiority.
    A little further up the road I see a man walking on the shoulder of the road. He is at the city limits, walking in towards town. He is grey haired, scruffy, wearing slightly grubby and tattered clothes, and I have a feeling that he probably sleeps under the bridge that is a mere hundred yards behind him. I think of the pampered woman in her white-pearl Escalade, and this fella probably heading to the store to spend a buck or two on something warm to fill his belly, and the thought strikes me that I would be more likely to enter into a conversation with the man in the tattered pants.
    Apparently, I am a bigot. I am heavily biased against the Haves. I make the assumption that they most likely came about their money either through dubious business dealings, taking advantage of the little guy, and dicking the IRS on taxes, or they came about it through family money (most likely also earned through dubious dealings). It is hard for me to believe that anyone has made even a small fortune through honest, hard work. I know, many will argue me on this point, and I also know that there are people out there who have made their money in an honest endeavor. But you will never get me to believe that the majority of people out there in the million-dollar-club got there by the sweat of their brow, or clever use of brain power. So, you see I am a bigot. I make assumptions about a person's character based on their external trappings. This is a bias and bigotry that I am actually okay with, and have no plans to educate myself in the ills of my ways, or seek out the wealthy in order to have them sway my opinion (as if they would want to hang out with me anyway). I will remain staunch in my prejudice of the Haves, from the lowly viewpoint of a Have-Not.

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