Alexander T., contributor – The year was 2016 and I was traveling in the backseat of a luxury black Acura somewhere down a rural highway in Bumfuck, Indiana.
The driver was my at-the-time girlfriend’s father, an accountant and esteemed member of the elite 1% of America who had worked his way up from one of the poorest towns in neighboring Nowhere, Indiana.
He was a tall thin man who wore an outdated mustache and had that special kind of soullessness that only high society members can display after they have been run through the ringer enough times. There was a dry anxiousness in the air, partially due to the fact that there were only three of us in the car, and two of the three had a bone to pick with one another.
From what I can recall, the gentleman millionaire now acting as my driver had come from a similar beginning as I had: poor families with too many siblings, and tradesmen fathers who couldn’t be supportive enough financially or emotionally. Perhaps if he hadn’t already had two promising sons of his own, I would have stood a chance of being eyed as a possible asset, but instead I was seen as a vulture/predator looking to feed on his only female offspring.
He wasn’t entirely wrong. I had a non-finance degree, which made me about as useful in his eyes as a circus clown or bar bouncer. I was not in peak physical shape. I was able to think outside of corporate direction. I had sexual relations with his daughter many times daily. And I was a young man who dreamed.
“Filthy bastard” I could hear him say internally each time I would utter any word. We somehow ended up talking about education – a brilliant mistake.
“I don’t think teachers deserve to make more at all,” he said. “I remember living paycheck to paycheck and working nights and weekends, and you know what, I was never paid to take summers off. They’re incredibly lucky to be paid what they are getting paid.”
“Yes, but you also make what I assume is at least six to seven figures to do what you do” I said, expecting him to kick me out of his car without pulling over, or even stopping. “I mean you have to admit, it’s a little hypocritical to say someone with the same degree level and same amount of time working in a field that cultivates the future of society deserves to not earn enough to make ends meet.”
“Well, they would have enough to make ends meet if they budgeted better. Teachers shouldn’t be buying more than what they can afford, and besides, the school supplies everything that they need.”
“I have to disagree with you there too, sir.” I addressed him properly to ease the tension.
“Most teachers have to pay for their own supplies. Some of that is improper budgeting at the administrative level and some of it is improper funding at the state level, but more often than not, teachers are footing the bills themselves.”
From there, my memory is blurry. I was still in college at the time and while the DMT, acid, marijuana, and copious amounts of alcohol have done wonders for holistic thinking over the years, the act of reading academic textbook after academic textbook has bogged down my memories over the past decade since graduating. It’s any wonder that I’ve had the patience these last few years for earning two graduate degrees, but I digress.
Down the literal and proverbial roads, we attempted to participate in something similar to but not quite conversation once again.
“I like my office. It has a nice set up. The only thing that’s hard to deal with is having to deal with the government reps that we keep downstairs.”
“I figured it would be good to have folks who can help with overseeing government policy present for things, wouldn’t it?”
He looked in his rear view mirror to stare at me straight in the eyes as directly as he could.
“The government is the enemy of business, son.”
It was at that moment that the fear began to kick in.
It’s true, I thought. They really must be who I assumed they were.
The “they” I am referring to are the rich elites of society. Many of us who live in the lower and middle class rarely get the opportunity to actually see some of these folks with our own eyes in person, much less be stuck in a fast moving vehicle with them for a length of time, and even less likely to be able to exchange words with them and get a proper response.
But the experience that day confirmed for me a long standing fear: that once someone joins high society, even if they come from the same dirt as the rest of us low-level scum, getting high enough makes everyone else look like cogs in the machine or obstacles to the wealth the rich megalomaniacally believe they deserve having climbed so high up the mountain.
There is no sobriety from the perspective. Accountability and questions are disrespectful. Challenging the status quo is suicide. This is their creed.
Useless, putrid swine.