Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How the wealthy try to dwarf a party

WITH ALL OF the awful news about how slowly the economy is recovering, I decided to check out some purchases to release some of my own pent-up frustration. Besides, as you probably have heard, now's the time for all good patriots to buy - anything.

An ad for a luxury condo on the 76th floor of a new high-rise in Manhattan strained my budget with a price of $16.8 million but it did offer such amenities as a second bathroom, health club, newspaper delivery at your door, running water and a superb view of the bus stop on the next block. The broker also offered immediate financing with monthly payments of not quite $18,000. But when I arrived at the place, there was a line nearly two blocks long of men in black suits and wingtip shoes, many of whom were grumbling about President Obama's unwarranted tax policies that punished the wealthiest Americans. "Wherever he was born did they think money grows on trees?" one of them huffed as he tried to slip ahead of 10 other potential buyers.

Figuring I had no chance in that puffed-up crowd of hedge funders, I decided to switch my cash to something I had always wanted - a Rolls Royce Corniche that was advertised in the Wall Street Journal for a limited time offer of $380,000. But by the time I found the show room, the convertible had been sold. "Sorry, fella," the dealer said, feigning a Rolls dealer's sympathy. "I could have sold a dozen Corniches in the past hour. You gotta be quick when you're reaching for your wallet against the Wall Street guys. A lot of these folks are looking for a dependable family car these days."

OK. I was disappointed, so it was time for Plan C. I had an eye on a spiffy Hargrave Custom Yacht after my last bonus and found one for $9.6 million. Again, too late. The dealer said he could have sold blah, blah blah.

Being of sound mind, I decided not to imitate the Morgan Stanley Trader (since fired, reports the New York Times) ) who tried to hire a dwarf for an ugly bachelor party stunt! Those guys on millionaires row are really a kick, wouldn't you say? But to be fair about it, they did want to create a job for a dwarf, no matter the cost.

On the way home I stopped at my favorite drive-in for a hamburger and fries, then drove off to a garage to have the mysterious rattle in my 18-year-old station wagon checked out. It was nothing more than something called auto arthritis, I was told.

The simple moral of all of this comes from the genius who first said that the rich are different from the rest of us because they have more money. The only thing we can add to that in today's political climate is that the very, very rich now have friends in congress to protect their need to own a Corniche or two and hire a dwarf. For ego therapy, of course.

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