Yeah, I think it’s a silly question, too, but I saw it on Twitter, and saw an interesting response or two from folks I know, and decided to respond myself… and thought y’all might want to get in on it.
It came from this feed I had never seen before. I only saw it because people I follow responded:
I used to think that having a washer/dryer inside your home meant you were rich. What did you think “rich” meant growing up?
— DelyanneTheMoneyCoach (@DelyanneMoney) October 10, 2022
Here’s what Sen. Katrina Shealy said to that:
I never thought about it. We were not rich but we were comfortable and we had friends and family that had more and those who had less. I never noticed, until I I read all these responses.
A few minutes before that, our friend Lynn Teague had written:
I think one of the things that has been lessened in recent decades is a sense of community across economic and social differences. There are many academic studies supporting the idea that “sorting” by wealth and social characteristics is now stronger than it was in the past.
— Lynn S. Teague (@LynnSTeague) October 11, 2022
As y’all know, I’m generally not that interested in money. (A sure way to lose me is to steer a thread toward a discussion of the economy.) Unlike someone whose Twitter handle is DelyanneTheMoneyCoach, when the subject comes up I usually run the other way. But I responded this way:
I didn’t think about it, either, but if I had, it might have been like this: Scrooge had a vault with a diving board so he could dive into his money, while Richie Rich had a pool filled with ginger ale. You know, dumb stuff…
— Brad Warthen (@BradWarthen) October 11, 2022
Elaborating on that diving-boards-and-pools theme, I suppose I should throw in the Clampett’s cee-ment pond.
Another model for me was the Howells on Gilligan’s Island. Which reminds me of something else, so I might come back to them in a later post.
In other words, the models were silly, and the things that distinguished them as “rich” were even sillier. Nothing basic, like a washer and dryer. (Maybe that’s what drove her to be “the Money Coach.”)
When I was a kid, I saw us as living sort of outside that whole money universe, since my Dad was in the Navy and therefore outside the private-sector rat race thing. We usually had a washer and dryer in our homes, but I owned my own house before my parents bought one. We were just always moving around too much. My folks bought their house after he retired.
Not that I never think about money, as an adult. I think about it way more than I want to. That’s why my fantasy about being rich is simple: I’d like to have enough money that I would never again have to think about money. I’d hire what in Regency Period terms (all those historical novels I read, you know) would be called a “man of business” to deal with all that. All bills would go to him, and he’d take care of them. I’d also engage the services of someone clever to watch him, and then maybe a third person to watch her. And I’d instruct them all not to bother me with it.
I think that would be way better than a pool full of ginger ale…