History is written by the victors.
–Winston S. Churchill
I have this personal pet theory. It goes a little something like this:
What do I mean by this? It’s time for a tale of hungry dogs, drowning by garden hose, buxom secretaries, altered birth certificates and who’s car is parked next door.
Earlier I espoused my pet theory (my precious!) that the odds of being an asshole increase exponentially with the acquisition of wealth. For example, if someone is in the top one percent there’s an asshole threshold (AT) of 99 percent. For the top .01 percent that grows to 99.99 percent.
I said at the time I said that I thought extreme wealth was a function of “lie, cheat and steal (LCS).”
Is it a chicken and egg kind of thing? Are people in the top .01 percent because they were born with LCS? Or was LCS something they had to learn to get there? Chicken and egg.
Thinking about this, I thought to myself, “If only there was some way to know.”
Then I realized that an existing data study might be useful. But what existing data is available? How about words taken right out of their own mouths? Perhaps that might provide some insight into their character and world view.
Case Study – Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc was a “restauranteur” and founder of McDonalds Corporation and included in Time: The 100 Most Important People of the Century. Perhaps not in the .01 percent Kroc was still considerably wealthy, worth about $500 million when he died in 1984. The Kroc family now has an estimated worth of $1.7 billion.
Suffice it say he’s sold a few “hamburgers” and made a few bucks. Let’s see what he has to say.
If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water. It is ridiculous to call this an industry. This is not. This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I’ll kill ’em, and I’m going to kill ’em before they kill me. You’re talking about the American way – of survival of fittest.
Source: Bloomsbury Business Library – Business Thinkers & Management Giants (2007)
Wow. He truly sounds like a great guy. I think we’re ready for the peer review process to begin.
I’m updating my hypothesis. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that wealthy people say all sorts of the darnedest things. Like upside-down Weebles, they have an overly-inflated sense of self and think they can’t fall down. That’s when they’re at their quotable best. (See: Sterling, Donald.) It’s almost like they get off on exposing themselves. As if to say, “See what I can do? I don’t just have all the money. I can also do this. What are you going to do about it? Ha ha ha.”
Can you find other compelling examples of what the rich say?
I don’t know if I’ll try to answer that question. But I do know this: Watch both Zeitgeist movies, a few choice TED videos, and finish it off with the Story of Stuff and you might just say, “Brother, it sure as hell ain’t this!” And then depression sets in…
In my study of gerbils I have pondered mysteries both great and deep.
For Abyss newbies:
“Gerbil” is the term I have coined for younglings that fail to empty nest on schedule. And then, later, when they belatedly emerge from the nest sans high school diploma and any discernable life plan, they do things like go on food stamps, obtain medical marijuana cards (sore back), drink lots of alcohol, sleep until 5pm, stay up until 5am, take pictures of themselves smoking and post them on Facebook, and avoid jobs, school and self-improvement at all costs.
That’s the modern genus of gerbil that I am familiar with.
A Rush song famously said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Indeed. The modern gerbil lifestyle is a choice!
I took a gerbil aside one day and offered words that I thought, in my hubris, might somehow be wise.
Trust me on this. It ain’t easy coming back from a gerbil bite.
I wonder about things. Weird things. For example:
Who was it that invented coffee? I’m not really as interested in the “who” as the “how.” Who was it who looked at a coffee bean and said, “You know what? I bet if we pick that thing, roast it, then grind it into dust, then run hot water over it, the water will be good to drink.”
Wow. Quite the imagination there. But it worked out okay.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Coffee is one hell of an invention so there must have been one hell of necessity preceding it.
What if a guru came down from the lonely mountain and discovered a beautiful world full of possibility, promise and the milk and honey of human kindness? What if, also, he realized that referring to himself as “guru” doesn’t necessarily make it so?
Yes, today is the first day of the rest of your life … so make it a good one.
Today is a good day. I’ve got the warmth of the loving sun on my face and the fresh air in my lungs. And my feet ready to take me anywhere I want to be. How lucky is that?
What if you already possess everything you ever required to be the happiest you’ve ever been? What if it was locked inside of you and all you had to do was let it out? And what if nothing was easier, if only you knew the way?
So what if life throws a lemon at you every now and again? That’s just to keep you on your toes. It helps to prevent boredom from setting in. But, don’t just make lemonade. Make it a fun adventure. Throw in some creme fraiche and some escargot and do it up Top Chef style. Turn any everyday fruit beverage into an amuse bouche. Inject your own style and personality and make it yours. And then drink deeply of the rich adventure of life. That’s the most precious gift of all.
Every morning, for something different than the same o’ same o’, wake up, roll out of bed, leap to your feet and scream at the rest of the world, “I am here! I have survived to live another day! And this day will be mine!”
Life isn’t meant to be easy. Nothing good comes easy. You have to want it, grapple with it, subdue it and make it yours.
Remember the wise words of Captain James Tiberius Kirk:
“Maybe we weren’t meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through – struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can’t stroll to the music of lutes. We must march to the sound of drums.”
Aye, Captain. We will make it so!
I feel so different … so alive. Yes, the power of change is coursing through my veins. Today I feel like spreading motivational positivity.
Yes, something has happened to me. Today I feel different.
There’s a stranger in my mirror
Who don’t know how to behave
He keeps grinnin’ ’bout you
And whistlin’ tunes
While he ought to be watchin’ me shave
We move alike and we look the same
But I swear we’ve got totally different brains
And the love we’re in with you just makes it clearer
He used to be my twin
Now there’s a stranger in my mirror
So who’s with me? Who else believes that thoughts are things, and if only you believe, then your wildest dreams will come true and come to you? All you have to do is believe.
Today I’m going out, I’m going to take on the day, and I’m going to do my part to make the world a better place.
Be the best you you can be and your well of abundance will spill over and quench the thirst of those around you. Lead by example!
There is no “I” in team! Give it your all, give it your one-hundred and ten percent.
Step up to the plate.
Think outside of the box.
Now I have to go. I can’t wait to get to work. I’m like a kid on Christmas morning who can’t wait to open his presents. Come on, time, move. I’m getting impatient to live this day!
If you need me, just look up. You’ll find me at the second star to the right and straight on till morning.