“now give me.” “a lot of.” “wow, yeah, you need.”
preoccuppied out of sleeping by the documentary I watched earlier today, born rich by jamie johnson– heir to the johnson & johnson fortune, who made a project out of interviewing his inner circle friends about the unmentionable word. fascinating. depressing. surprising (particularly seeing a young man I actually know on the screen, being interviewed, and whom I did not realize–perhaps simply because I’d never stopped to think about it, but more likely due to that hushed characteristic of the wealth– belonged to that echelon).
and what interesting timing in my own life to be watching this and considering specie in its most phenomenal form. because I am currently and most personally, and have been for the main of the last few months (certainly not the first such period), chronically short of cash. as in, thank goodness for overdraft protection. as in, frequently unable to scrape together change to buy cigarettes. as in, raised with plenty and yet unpossessed of the tools to either manage or create. compelling, humbling, and generous lessons from life.
because if I hadn’t had to go through this, lightly bottom out, as it were, I probably never would have found occasion or means to confront the kernel of disfunction. the shame. the anxiety and apotheosis.
raised patently upper middle class but consistently with an air of just-hanging-on-by-the-hair-of-our-chinny-chin-chins (one that was indelible if quite likely manufactured), I reached post-college adulthood and the first lesson out of the gate: “um, what the fuck do I do now?” as in, how do I provide for myself adequately, capably, and maturely. and all these years later, the answer continues largely murky– only just, and through most-embarrassing-insolvency, beginning to come clear: manage it. look it in the eye, at last, and count it, make an accounting of it. somehow this, seemingly indispensable, part of the equation never made it into the original construct.
and consequently my siblings and I have all suffered our financial throes. none of us is especially good with lettuce. no, let me amend that. we are, all four of us, notably bad, characteristically and spectacularly unadept where the almighty dollar is concerned. we spend it, and that seems to be the extent of our literacy on the subject. so some of us have been fortunate in our choices of spouses, helpmeets to assist and offset our clan debility. and some of us have not. this one of us at least sits with her own incapacity on a daily and geometrically compounding basis, and finally comes to understand the white devil in her blood. attains its name if not the ability to command it, just yet.
and those kids on the video screen. those most elderly and ignorant and urbane kids you’ll ever see– their lives cast and commanded by the dollar sign. so deeply enculturated by it, by money. by money alone–how weird that is. well, of course not money alone, of course as well all its addenda of privilege. but money primarily, money nominally if widely unspokenly, money essentially. fascinating, as I said, and dreadful. deeply depressing– not for want of it, not in envy of that privilege, the shiny clubs, the tailored hair– no no– only pity. yeah, that’s what I said. what awful creatures of an all-consuming master, what a pitiable state of being.
and then I realize this boon: that I was never so rich, and there is, in this, hope for me yet.
also, I should add this: good for you, young mr. johnson. for daring to venture through the passage where the rest, your cohort, your elders (your own father) quailed at the prospect of entry. forbade discussion as strict taboo. leveraged the law, outright suing you for the hubris of the breach. and still you persevered, cracked that tight nut right open and laid the contents out for the world to consider– yourself not least of all. and I sincerely hope it may do you the greatest good.