How much is too much?
How much is too much?
Last week, I listened to friend railing about the arrogance of Jeff Bezos. The subject was Mr. Bezos’ foray into the atmosphere on his own private spaceship. Not having paid much attention to network news or print media, I was a bit surprised to learn of such an extravagant adventure. Like my friend, who happens to be far wealthier than me, my first reaction was, “What a waste.” I understand that Bezos was advertising his company’s expertise in research and design. I get that he could easily afford the trip. I even understand that it was his money to do with as he pleased but at the end of the conversation, my friend and I agreed that the money could have been spent on something much more beneficial to society. All together, we felt pretty damn smug.
But, and there’s always a “but”, it dawned on me that we were two middle-aged men sitting in a coffee shop, drinking coffee that cost more than the $2.00 two-thirds of the world earns in an average day. Moreover, we each drove there in our own vehicle and we enjoyed the security provided by a municipal police force that shooed those nasty homeless people away. Further, we were enjoying the air-conditioned and relatively pest-free environment of the coffee shop along with the leisure time that our lifestyles afforded us.
On the other hand, neither of us owns a company like Amazon that’s been accused of overworking and underpaying their employees (regardless of the fact that those employees are free to leave at any time and find better employment elsewhere). And let’s not forget that gigantic, eco-destroying mansion Bezos inhabits and all those ridiculous luxury automobiles he owns.
At the end of the day, Jeff Bezos is just a bad person because he’s more successful than I am and has more toys than me. Sure, he’s good at what he does but he’s also been lucky. What if luck is a zero-sum game and the luck he caught was stolen from me? And, surely, if I were that wealthy, I’d give it all to Mother Teresa and move to Oklahoma where I could eat roadkill and buy cheap clothes at the Salvation Army.
After some consideration, I’ve come to three conclusions:
- We all have more than we deserve though rarely as much as we want.
- “Fairness” is a relativistic concept that lets me feel better about myself by focusing on the character flaws of people more fortunate than myself.
- The only problems I can fix are the ones in my soul. The rest of the world’s ills are on y’all and 5,000 years of written history says y’all aint gonna fix ‘em.
So, in the immortal words of the famous theologian, Mark Cuban, “Make all the money you can and do good things with it while you’re here. You’re not taking it with you.”
We’re all waitin’ in the dugout, wishin’ we could pitch.
How you gonna throw a shutout if all you do is bitch?
― Todd Snider, “I Can’t Complain”