As a freelance writer, I deal with many different clients. There was one, who was quite full of himself. He wanted me to write a script for his website.
I was fine with that I just needed him to give me enough information to write it. He was less than forthcoming. When I’d write to him about the script, he’d tell me to visit his website.
I visited the website, but to gain access to the site, I had to join, which meant spending money. I was not willing to do that. So, I asked again for the information.
He wrote back to boast how rich he was. That he was sure I’d searched his name by now and knew he’d sold his company for millions. I wanted to tell him exactly what I thought of him, but I bit my tongue and tried to be a good “worker bee.”
After all, it was a writing job. I was trying to do a good job. I very politely told him that no, I had not searched him, I did not know how rich he was and I didn’t know about the sale of his company.
I explained that I treated all of my clients the same, regardless of how much or how little their resources. Then, again, I asked for the information to write his script. His answer was that I join his website to get it.
I found his response the height of arrogance. What, he couldn’t forgo the few dollars he’d earn from me joining his site to advance the project? Gee, as he’s a millionaire. I am a poor, struggling writer. He should gladly hand over the data I needed. After all, he was paying a pittance for me to write his script and once he did his little infomercial, he’d earn even more.
No, he never did, and the project ultimately fell through. He never paid me for all the work I did. I didn’t ask for the whole fee or even half, only a token payment. He refused.
I decided to walk away from the whole issue. It wasn’t worth the effort. Talk about the height of hubris!
I saw that reflected in the last election from Mitt Romney, repeatedly. He spoke of how everyone wanted to be rich, of how everyone wanted to live in a big home like the ones he had, and like so many of his supporters owned. I know many people who do not feel that way.
My Dad never wanted that. As he put it, he didn’t want to be rich. He only wanted to live as if he were rich. If he could have a nice home, a sailboat and a little cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, he’d be happy.
He didn’t need summers in the south of France. He didn’t need skiing in Aspen. He didn’t need multiple homes in half a dozen states!
My Mother was the same way. She has her comfortable living facility in Naples. She gets to visit friends and family when she wants, and she can take just about any sort of cruise or vacation she likes. Nothing big, nothing fancy, but they suit her fine.
I’ve known plenty of other people who are the same. Very few teachers, firefighters and police officers long for mansions in some exclusive neighborhood and summers in the Hamptons. If they did, they would have chosen a more profitable vocation. For some people, a rewarding career and life are important, not material possessions.
I hope I make the right choices in my life.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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