common threads #10: economic inequalities

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Observations and Commentary
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yeah, it sucks having less money than other people, particularly when it is blindingly clear some of those wealth-basking folks are absolute Class A numskulls. It can be baffling tracing the egregious steps which resulted in you being more of a “have-not” than a “have”, especially when you bear witness to the goofy behavior of these well-to-do nincompoops. Understandably, context is a difficult construct when you are putt-putt-putting along in your cranky 14 year old two-tone Plymouth Neon, attuned to every creak, cling and clang emitting from its undercarriage while simultaneously pestering a usually ignored god with the misguided hope he/she/it will intervene and lead you home without breaking down on the highway where you would be at the mercy of the mercenaries operating every tow truck business in the world. Yes, you may covet the new, fancy cars filled with happy occupants whizzing effortlessly by and yes, this magnifies the truth you do not now, nor have ever, taken your meals in the banquet halls of the rich. But you know what? It is fine. You are not alone.

By itself the simple realization you are part of the scrapping-by majority is not enough to lift the financial burden weighing heavy on your shoulders. It does not transform a stressful situation into a peachy keen and fair one. So we need something more to assist us in dealing with eating chicken flavored ramen noodles instead Kobe beef, shopping at Goodwill instead of Saks, getting a frequent shopper card at the Dollar Store rather than a frequent flyer card from United. We need something to grab onto and wield like a giant scimitar when the rich wave their richness in our faces like a feather duster.

The first step – and perhaps the most crucial – is paying attention to what life has taught us. And if has taught us anything it has repeatedly and without mercy pounded us with the fact “fair” skips town in most matters of the human condition. Nothing can be done about that. It is best to brush it aside and get over how unfair your situation may be even if caused by circumstances beyond your control. Without doing this we will forever be sucked into the swirling morass of blinding anger and irrational decisions. So let’s treat ourselves right. Let’s shed the “life is unfair” cloak right now. G’head, no rush.

Okay, a little faster would be nice. We have other things to do.

Excellent! Isn’t that better?

Now with that pesky distraction dismissed like kiddies at the end of a school day we can begin to address our own economic inequality in a rational and healthy way. We have two choices when dealing with those who do nothing but bathe in liquid gold and scatter diamond laden knick-knacks as accent pieces in guest bathrooms. Either we can waddle about in a haze of self-pity, bitter feelings and copious amounts of cheap booze which, under certain circumstances, may feel like an attractive alternative. But we have already rid ourselves of that option, haven’t we? So despite the intriguing possibilities the combination self-pity and vodka present, we choose the second path, one which is free from both cost and hangovers. We have at our disposal a tool which can spin this “disadvantage” into an advantage. We have language. We have words.

Let’s be clear. Obviously words do not pay bills or put food on the table. But they have the power of redemption, of creating a level playing field, of transforming one perception into another. Here are two quick examples which show how we can use simple conversation to bring much needed perspective (and equality) when chatting with the filthy rich.

Leona Jewels: (looking at a street performer passing around a hat after executing a stunt which required 7 somersaults) Can’t they do anything about these people? They create such a disruption with all the crowds gathering around. I loathe having to cross the street just to pass because of them.
You: I agree! The city is going to hell. Doesn’t anyone care about pedestrians any longer? What a miserable inconvenience! (stops walking) Don’t mind me. You keep going. I’ll see you back at the penthouse. I have to scoop up the do-do from your 6 dogs I am simultaneously walking. And if it’s not too much trouble, please pay me my daily dog-walking fee of $600 in twenties today. I need to hop in a cab to go downtown and cabbies won’t take hundreds.

Joe Moneybags: (entering his kitchen) I just got off the phone with France. Sally and I are spending three weeks in Paris at the Ritz next April. But, if you can believe this, they had no suites with balconies available! We’re going to have to stay in a double room without a balcony which only gives us a partial view of the Eiffel Tower.
You: That’s outrageous! I’m sure there’s a codicil from the Geneva Convention which prohibits this abomination. Call your friend the Senator. I’m sure he can help you out. By the way I’m finished painting this one wall. That’ll be $18,000.

As you can see it does not take much imagination or creativity to quickly understand how you can apply this simple strategy in your own life. If you use it often enough you will soon see the gap of economic inequality shrink. Well, at least between you and them. Between you and your friends it will probably expand, but as we know, life is not fair.
Learn more about The Common Threads Project.

  1. rangewriter says:

    You have spun a humorous little tale of gold from the miserable reality of the unfair truth. Well done.


  2. And yet, however bad we have it, there is always someone somewhere who has it even worse.


  3. It’s so tragic, hearing people talk about the most extreme of first-world problems. You really can’t help but pity them. Well, pity them, or smack them senseless.


  4. legionwriter says:

    Great post! Someone told me some time ago that the quickest route to discontentment is to compare yourself with others. I still do it though. 🙂


  5. Patti Kuche says:

    The relativity of misery and the meek shall inherit the earth! Huh!


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