I don’t want to hear anybody bitch about an “ownership class” in this country & I just can’t be nice about this any more. If you live in America & you think there are classes, you have clearly never lived anywhere else. Yes, there are substrata of the overall society, but the fact is, anybody can go from anywhere to anything. Jay Z can go from selling keys to selling CDs. Kanye can go from the buffet at KFC to Louis Vuitton Don Night. A stupid clueless white girl can quote any number of hip hop records.
Ooh, some of you are bristling. I got Twitterload of what basically amounts to “You’re mean” from a couple of buddies over the last couple of days, because I refuse to acknowledge something as absurd as the “ownership class”, so I am expecting a little bristle cone whine. Look. As I told one person (& this was of course ignored), if someone in America has survived what I’ve survived, yet is not a heroin addled whore or dead, anybody can do anything in this country, period. Don’t give me nonsense about someone without legs never being a runner because physical stuff is just that. That same person has as much chance of being a billionaire stock broker or the world’s best cook. Hell, he can become a woman if he wants. This country is loaded with the ability to become anything.
You just. Have. To bother.
One friend made the argument that we all have different obstacles. That is correct. How an obstacle denies you opportunity is beyond me. It makes trying to achieve success with that opportunity more exciting and certainly unique to your experience, but it does not take that opportunity away. “I don’t have any money,” “I’m the wrong race,” “I’m the wrong gender,” “I wasn’t born into the right family” are not excuses in this country for not doing all you can to do to be what you want. Not having talent is one thing. Not having legs would make it extremely difficult to be a runner. But if you want to be a tenured professor of calculus at MIT, if you want Simon Cowell’s job, if you want to be the number one baker in your town, if you want to be the best wife & mother that ever lived, seriously, nothing is stopping you but you. Get on that! If you have the mental capacity to make choices, make them.
I can tell you from long experience that the only thing preventing you from achieving anything in a free society is yourself. I came from a…well, let’s say my background was not ideal. I went through several dark periods and for all intents & purposes should be dead or committed. Really. I don’t owe you details, but I do owe you honesty, and the fact is that I was very self defeating for a long time. It’s expected of someone with my psychological make-up, and I don’t dishonour the pain of my previous existence by being mad at the girl I was. I do, however, get annoyed with her for not realizing sooner that the second she was 18, she became the author of her destiny, & should have done everything in her power to be who she wanted to be, not what others demanded of her. She should not have so easily been turned away from any of her callings. She should not have so easily accepted mediocrity.
She’s done with that now. And done with referring to herself in the third person. I am done being your bitch. I am done being your error in judgment and your excuse. I am done being your whipping girl, your punching bag, your horrible secret. I am being me now. I belong to God and my purpose is clear. Your purpose, apparently, was to make me strong enough to handle that purpose. You were a trial to overcome, a fear to master.
I have friends whose lives were in many ways decidedly worse than mine. They too overcame insurmountable odds, insurmountabler odds, I would argue, to be where they are. They are disabled, or the wrong colour, or the wrong gender, grew up in the wrong countries under the wrong governments, and they have overcome these “obstacles” to do what it is they want to do. They were broke, uneducated, sick, beaten down, imprisoned, abused, addicted, afflicted. Now they thrive because they chose to thrive. No, it wasn’t easy. No, it didn’t seem like things would go well for these folks a lot of the time. Yes, they wanted to pack it all in, railed at God, thought they would die or tried to kill themselves. Yet they survived, and thrived. Choice. You make a decision to stop letting life happen at you.
They saw what they wanted from life and, taking care not to deprive anyone else of their opportunities, took it.
You want to whine about your life? Several years ago, a guy with ALS completed an Ironman Triathlon. You want to bitch about how you can’t get fit, are getting older, can’t raise the money to do whatever? Screw you. A guy with ALS finished a fricken’ Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. I dare you to whine to him. I dare you to whine to the wounded warriors who complete the Ride to Recovery. I dare you to unload to the cancer patients at my office.
Conversely, if you hear me whining, remind me of all these folks, ok? Sometimes, I forget. Like ya do.
What has this to do with an ownership class? Well, jeez, if you haven’t sorted out now that money & possessions are the least of our problems in life, you are beyond my reach at this time. But let’s talk about money & possessions for a little bit, since people are kinda obsessed with them.
First of all, if you have the hypocrisy to be angry at a so-called ownership class, you best turn in everything you own right now to Goodwill and move to China. You own stuff. You may not own a home (I don’t), you may not own a car (I don’t), you may only own the clothes on your back and a toothbrush, but you like owning stuff, don’t you? You like having your own crap.
What you don’t like is that other people have more crap than you. Why? How does other people having more crap than you hurt you? If you really want more crap, work to get it. Then, angry hypocrites can loathe you for having more crap than them. There is always someone who has less crap than you, whose life is worse than yours, who wishes they were as lucky as you. Yes, as lucky. Look outside this country for several seconds and you will see people who wish they had the opportunities you have here. People break the law to get into this country just to have a snippet of what you have. Don’t tell me you have no opportunity.
Something I’ve noticed about the “Everybody should be equal” crowd (please note that this is not the same as “everybody has the same opportunities”): they want the unconditional love of the mother state (walk into anywhere & get everything for free, like a celebrity or a dignitary or a child), but they don’t want everyone’s talent to be the same. If you’re a better artist, you want to be acknowledged, do you not? Well, in the free market that means people buy your work. Art is tricky because it has to do as much with the zeitgeist & other people’s taste as it does your talent, but the fact is you want to be compensated for your work because A. you want to eat B. You want to thrive and C. you need a way to sort out how good you are. Critical praise is lovely, but doesn’t get you a VIP table with bottle service at the club.
And really, that’s what everyone thinks should be equal. Why can’t we all have bottle service? Well, we can, but if everyone gets the same things in equal distribution with no thought to talent, hard work, and tenacity, then the bottle service we will get comes with a rubber nipple. Yeah, it’s nice to be babied & have parents who pay for everything & take care of it all, but they can also ground you, take your toys away, arbitrarily decide it’s your bed time. Allow me to butcher Jefferson for a second, but the government who gives you your lotion can also take it away. That same government can scream at you “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again!” Do you really want to put this country at the bottom of a basement well so you can have free crap?
If we can blame Red Eye Robot Theatre for anything, it’s for making lotion even creepier than Silence of the Lambs managed.
Sigh. I know some of you are going to think I’m mean. Instead, I wish you would see me as the person giving you the keys to the castle. Here, take them! Don’t stand there waiting for me to take you inside & make you a sandwich. I only have gluten free bread. Wouldn’t you rather take the keys and get a sandwich you actually want, with bread that doesn’t taste like drywall?
It’s your castle, babe. I’m showing you that it’s yours. How is that mean? I is teh cuddly conservative, ‘member? You go play in there now, kid. Yes, I did just smack your arse and wink at you. And do the cutesy voice. ‘Cos I wubzes you. No, I do! Don’t you unbelieve that for one second. I want you to do well, but you won’t until you try. Blaming some nefarious, nebulous Other is not going to get you there. Personal responsibility really is as much fun as a day at Six Flags. Yes, there are scary moments, but when you are done with the ride, you regret nothing. NOTHING. Get up on it.