What the Rich Think About the Poor
November 12, 2012 24 Comments
It Strikes Me as Odd — A Fable
Once upon a time in a place called Nowhere during the era of Ubiquity were two women having tea and scones in an elegant and dainty café.
“It strikes me as odd that the color of money is green,” Aye Whole said as she put a piece of scone in her mouth.
“I think it would be much prettier if it were rainbow-colored don’t you?” said her friend Fallow Weir.
“No. As someone who has a lot of money, I can without a doubt say that money would be much more pleasantly held in my hands if it were a different color. Say the color of gold for the rich and brown for the poor.”
“Why brown for the poor?” Fallow asked while stirring her tea.
“Because brown is the color of excrement,” replied Aye. “And everything the poor touches in a sense turns into excrement. And it should be gold for the rich because we have the Midas touch when it comes to making them.”
“But brown is such a plain and ugly color. What about white then?”
“Oh that wouldn’t do at all. White is too pure. And money is not pure since some of the poor must have to hold a little of it too. It would be different if money were restricted to people with a lot of money such as myself and even you.”
Fallow stopped stirring and replied, “Oh. And just how much money do you have?”
“Well I come from money. I always have money. My house costs a lot of money and everything I wear costs a lot of money.”
“Oh, you are made of money aren’t you Aye.”
“Why I certainly am. And do you know what else that makes me?”
“Oh please tell me. You know how much I rely on your guidance to show me the way.”
“People with money generally know more and do less.”
“Why is that?”
“Because money will not allow us to do anything else. Spending money is all we have time for. On the other hand, the poor must always do more so they can be less poor and if they rest even just a tiny bit, well they become even more poor.”
“But that is an awful fate Aye. I am glad that we are not poor.”
“Oh definitely not! But do remember that there is a hierarchy within the rich as well.”
“Oh?” said Fallow for she had not heard of this before.
“Your family is very rich, which makes you very rich. But my family is richer and that makes me richer. So, it would not be odd for me to say that I am better than you in that respect. There are shades of gray even with the rich.”
Fallow took stock of this information. Suddenly the status of being rich was not as clearly defined and if indeed there were shades of gray, then she Fallow Weir was of the lower shade. “Well what about Clara Upancoming?” said Fallow. “She was once poor and now she is quickly having lots and lots of money and perhaps doing lots and lots less. Just like us. Why if she keeps doing nothing the way she does, she might soon surpass your money!”
Aye shook her head. “Someone like Clara Upancoming will never be better than me because people like me who originate from money and have done nothing to earn our money will always be better than those who have to work for it. In fact we should make it a point to show them our superiority because people need to learn their place in life.”
The chime of the café door rang. The women saw Clara Upancoming enter wearing an elegant and very expensive ensemble.
“Oh my. Look at her transformation,” said Fallow in amazement. “She looks very well rested indeed and her clothes look very expensive. And look Aye she has that purse you had your eye on last week.”
Aye haughtily tilted her head so high that her nostrils faced the ceiling when she saw Clara walking to their table.
“Hello ladies. I’m so glad to see you because I am looking for volunteers at the soup kitchen on Homeless Road. What are you doing a week from today?”
Before Fallow could respond Aye said, “We are busy doing absolutely nothing. So, we will not be there.”
Disappointed but not surprised at Aye’s reaction Clara merely nodded her head. “That’s a shame. We could really use your help. Well if something changes you let me know. Now if you’ll excuse me ladies.”
Aye eyed with resentment the purse hanging on Clara’s arm for in Aye’s mind someone like Clara did not deserve to have something so smart, beautiful and elegant.
“I think it would be an enlightening experience to go to Homeless Road. I’ve never been there and it might be fun to serve others,” Fallow said in a stern whisper.
“Fallow, the truly rich do not go to Homeless Road to serve the have-nots. Clara cannot transform herself to act like the truly rich because she will always be truly poor, which is why she is compelled to go there. What is inside us is what counts. And inside me is richery and refinement, I don’t know about you,” said Aye in a challenging tone she often took when she wanted someone to agree with her. “People can never really change their station in life or who they are inside. It all eventually comes out. The dirty poor will always be dirty, which is what Clara is.”
Fallow looked down in defeat and continued stirring her tea.
Aye relaxed on her seat, but her sense of victory was cut short by a sudden cold breeze that passed through her. Her skin tingled in such an uncanny way. And try as she did to keep her composure, her nose began to twitch. Then she felt the climb of a sneeze.
“Awhchew,” Aye’s nose exclaimed and her napkin mercifully caught a murky, greenish ooze peppered by what looked like bits of birdseed. Aye’s eyes widened. She quickly wiped her nose with a napkin thankful that Fallow, who was still looking down on her tea, did not see the yuck and muck that came out of her.
But Fallow did hear the sneeze. “Are you getting sick Aye? You suddenly don’t look so well.”
“It’s all that Clara’s fault. Haven’t I told you that I’m allergic to people like her?” Aye shrugged off the incident and took a bite of her scone. She tasted something bitter and sour. But Aye continued to chew, for it was uncouth to spit out what one had put in their mouth no matter how deplorable it tasted.
“Aye! My goodness what have you got in your mouth?” Fallow exclaimed immediately covering her nose with a napkin. When Aye spoke, the odor grew stronger causing Fallow to move away from their table. Fallow realized that what Aye had in her mouth was not a lemon scone, but something more likely to come out the “other end” after one has engorged themselves. “Aye,” said Fallow, “why you’ve got poop in your mouth.”
“I’ve got what?” Aye spat the half masticated paste on her plate. She suspiciously picked up one of the lemon scones and it immediately turned into a brown smelly clump. She picked up another and another and each scone turned into crap at the touch of her hand. Soon there were a basket full of pooh on her table. The stench reached the rest of the patrons and a wild chorus of “oohs”, and “that stinks” and “get that smell out of here” brought out the café manager. He followed the stench toward a well dressed woman who looked like she had “diarrhea of the mouth.” The disgusted patrons stood up from their seats. Fallow herself now stood beside Clara, who looked on curiously at Aye.
The manager knew this was bad for business. “We don’t allow your dirty kind here. You belong on Stenchman Avenue.”
“I most certainly do not! This is not my fault. You served me shit. This is your fault.” screamed Aye with tid-bits of pooh still stuck on her teeth.
“Impossible,” he said. “We serve nothing but things that taste and smell good. You’re the only one here with excrement in her mouth. You do not belong here you smelly heathen. Now get out.” So he grabbed an umbrella hanging from a coat rack and he used that to poke her out of the café.
With the skill of a swordsman, he wielded the umbrella on Aye. “Get out, get out, get out,” he said after every poke. Aye clutched her stomach and used her arms to protect herself from his assaults, but the barrage of pokes continued until she reached the door.
“Help me Fallow,” Aye pleaded. “Help me. There’s been a mistake,” she said to the crowd. “I’m rich. I have good hygiene. I always smell good. This is not happening …”
With Aye finally gone, the patrons gave the manager a round of applause.
“It’s a crime that someone like her could get into a place like this,” said a plump woman wearing a diamond tiara. The crowd collectively nodded their rich heads in agreement as they settled back into their seats.
“It strikes me as odd that someone of Aye Whole’s money and social status could suddenly transform into a – well — into a shit monger,” said Fallow.
With a look of pity and insight Clara replied, “Not that odd.”