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Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Fish And His Closed Loop

In your interaction with others, what percentage of your time is spent in the company of people in the same approximate economic bracket as yourself?

Like a fish, I can be oblivious to the water surrounding me. While in a rundown section of Brooklyn yesterday, my mind wandered to an interaction I'd had the previous day with someone much more affluent than I. It dawned on me: Even though I was not uncomfortable in either setting, both situations were exceptional for me. I'm rarely very long in the company of people widely dissimilar to myself economically. My estimate? More than 98% of my time is spent with people in my economic bracket.

Of course, being in the broad bell curve range of "middle class" contributes to this. And since much of my life is built around my family, all of whom are in approximately the same economic boat, the closed loop is further reinforced. What impact does this have on the way I view the world? Whenever my wife and I see a Broadway show I often find myself looking around at the audience. I wonder: When was the last time many of these people meaningfully interacted with anyone who can't afford to attend something like this? But my judging mind need not go much further than looking at the person occupying my own seat.

3 comments:

  1. I would also describe myself as somewhere under the big middle class bell curve but over the course of my life have rubbed elbows with many folks way over there on well connected side and likewise many way over on down-and-out. But,yes, as a result of work and family, I tend to "swim" in a pond where most of the fish look like me, heaven help them.

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    Replies
    1. Steve; Thanks for your comment and your embrace of my funky metaphor.

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  2. Once I lived the life of a millionaire,
    Spent all my money, I just did not care.
    Took all my friends out for a good time,
    Bought bootleg whiskey, champagne and wine.

    Then I began to fall so low,
    Lost all my good friends, I did not have nowhere to go.
    I get my hands on a dollar again,
    I'm gonna hang on to it till that eagle grins.

    Cause no, no, nobody knows you
    When you're down and out.
    In your pocket, not one penny,
    And as for friends, you don't have any.

    When you finally get back up on your feet again,
    Everybody wants to be your old long-lost friend.
    Said it's mighty strange, without a doubt,
    Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

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