The allure of wealth

Outside the academic Poverty Datum Line, there is no agreed definition of what poor means, materially speaking. Just to illustrate, someone who sleeps in a concrete one-room house with a pit latrine believes one who still lives in a mud hut is poorer. Similarly, one who sleeps in a two and half believes the concrete one-room dude is a hobo.

On the upper scale of things, if you have a near-miss with a guy driving the only Aston Martin in town, with your Golf GTI, the Aston guy is likely to threaten you with jail. This jail threat usually has nothing to do with you being a criminal, even if you are. But it is about how poor the Aston guy believes you are, and how you have no chance in court against him, his expensive fierce lawyer and “his” mean judge who is also irritated by poor people. Yes, you can rent a judge, drug Lords style. But that’s foreign, right?

I either have very sharp ears, or I eavesdrop. But my ears just pick up things, including random conversations. I guess that’s because I am usually not focused on anything important as I go about town. That is how you get to overhear some random lady animatedly talk about what “Chloe” did to someone or the other way round. This was a very random encounter in a parking lot, and from this lady’s tone of voice, one of the subjects in her phone conversation was not treated nicely at all, and our lady was evidently very hurt. Interestingly, my companion, who also happened to be of the fairer sex, had also picked up this conversation and naturally understood it more than I did, because she asked me with a head-shake, “Do you know who that lady is talking about?” which I didn’t, but my education was not too far. I learned that the lady was talking about the Kardashian sisters! That got me to rest my case on what one rich man taught me. This guy talks about how rich people think.

One of the things he says, that I can’t argue with, is that poor people spend time talking about money and those who own it. This means poor people talk about rich people and their wealth. On the flip side, rich people talk about things that matter, which include family, health, spirituality, vacations, education.

Now I was reminded of this provoking education by what I am sure is trending for the next several weeks here at home. The year just started and not much happens, so we might as well. I can bet my half-full wallet that the big man’s tour of gifts has suddenly ushered in a new topic of conversation for a lot of our people. There is nothing that poor people enjoy more than watching rich people and their wealth. Try a new hobby yourself, if it’s not yours already: Visit the nearest pub in your neighbourhood and I can guarantee you will encounter people who now hold the self-appointed role of Presidential Gift Recording Officer. You are sure to come across an argument about which village gave the big man the most gifts and why. This is so real that some of the arguments will boil over and turn into insults and fights.

Strange as this sounds, a lot of poor people are so obsessed with the lives of the well-to-do that I believe it gives a false sense of belonging. Just knowing how much the rich guy has, must give even a little sense of shareholding in the guy’s estate. That is why some people will not hesitate to stab you with a sharp object for claiming to know more about “their guy” than they do. Your home village is just too far from the big guy’s home village anyway, so just back off!

The Manchester United fan in Phase II probably shares the same feeling about “his” team. Knowing the full line-up and bench gives him so much satisfaction that he would rather buy the latest away team jersey than pay Water Utilities. If you can’t join them, admire them, is the motto. This side of the pearly gates is a rich man’s paradise, but let’s all admire them in peace and share their “glory”.