I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it

please tell me how hard your life is
tell me tell me how to be a millionaire

So, there’s this article from Bloomberg that we’ve been “discussing” over on my Facebook page. By discussing, I really mean, ripping into, because the amount of privilege and disconnect displayed in the contents of said article makes my head come perilously close to exploding.
Want a sample? Of course you do!

The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called “the low rung on the brownstone ladder,” would consume “every dime” of the family’s savings, he said.
“I wouldn’t want to whine,” Schiff said. “All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had.”

Well, now. My parents were pretty successful, after some years of struggling. We had an end-unit row home in a neighborhood that is often ridiculed by the rest of the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. That didn’t matter, because we’d moved from an two bedroom apartment in an old, ugly apartment complex – two bedrooms that had my mom, stepdad, me, and my grandmother all housed without *too* many complaints, and previously had housed more of my family there, too. I went from sharing a bed with my grandmother to sharing a room with her. I didn’t know there was anything déclassé about that. Of course, I’d never even SEEN a brownstone, so I guess I was just ignorant that I was being deprived.

Maybe these luxuries can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate
So tell me
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire
Tell me! tell me! How to be a millionaire!
[ABC, How To Be a Millionaire]

So we moved into the house in Hawthorne, and we had a big yard – for someone who previously had no yard at all – and a basement. And I had my own room, even if it was so small that my bed took up more than half the floor space. I was happy. I didn’t know it was a terrible thing to be sent to public school, or that we didn’t have a Summer home, or that our one major family trip to Disney was no Ibiza vacation. Hell, I didn’t hear of Ibiza for another 20 years, because WHO CARES? I mean, anyone with a real income and life who didn’t like raves back in the 90s, at least?

I went to public school. I was bored, and bullied, but I came out okay. I have NEVER had money. I have been comfortable, and I’ve been damn-near-broke [like now] and both of them are in NO WAY comparable to someone going from a salary of $300,000 to one of $200,000.

“If you’re making $50,000 and your salary gets down to $40,000 and you have to cut, it’s very severe to you,” Dlugash said. “But it’s no less severe to these other people with these big numbers.”
A Wall Street executive who made 10 times that amount and now has declining income along with a divorce, private school tuitions and elderly parents also suffers, he said.

Poor little rich folk, now you can’t have all the perks you once did? At least you have things you can sell – if you didn’t BLOW all the cash on dumb shit, that is.

It’s okay to be rich, if it wasn’t gained by illicit or immoral means. I both own a business and I’m a human being, so I am obviously aware that having more money is nicer than having less. But your whining that you can’t afford your Summer home or that you might have to tell your kids that they’ll have to attend public school? It is heard with very unsympathetic ears. Please tell the folks who are working three jobs to make ends meet your story, and see how they react. Please complain about your 1200 square foot Brooklyn duplex to the family who is living out of your car, and watch their expressions. Sit down with my friends who are struggling to find a job just so they can pay off all the bills accumulated while they’ve been out of work, much less to try and survive, and talk to them about what hardships you’ve had after not getting your expected [read: assumed – because isn’t a bonus supposed to be just that, BONUS, as in something that is extra and unpredictable?] bonus for the year, how now you have to buy discounted salmon at the market. Boo hoo.

It’s funny. After reading over the article, and the responses about it on my Facebook wall, I realized that I have zero envy for these people. You know why?
Well, I may be struggling to pay my bills, to get ahead in any way, and to come away at the end of the month with any money left over at all, but I have something that these sad folks have. Actually, I have a bunch of things.

I am rich in friendship: I have the best people I can imaging surrounding me.
I am rich in love: I have a close, if small, family – and I have someone who adores me for who I am.
I am rich in experience: I have endless stories to tell. I have done so many things. I have no fear of trying new things, because I have had success in ways that the Wall Street dopes will never understand.

Even if I never succeed in a traditional, “Society” approved manner, I am a champion at life. And I don’t need fancy cars, expensive houses, and posh vacations to tell me that. Even if I had to live in my Jeeple, I will always be a champion, a superstar, a blazing success at living a full and amazing life.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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