Thursday, November 09, 2006

I am His Highness' dog at Kew; Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

Our shul has its share of very wealthy members. One thing I've noticed is that there is quite a bit of fawning and sucking up to these guys by most of the community. Yet for some subconscious reasons, I am repelled by these people and tend to not really socialize with them. I certainly don't make an effort to schmooze and be very friendly with them.

This is bad on several levels. For one thing, many of these people are reasonably nice. I feel like I am projecting my own prejudices on them. Deep down in my heart, I guess I believe that it is really hard to be this wealthy without taking advantage of others. Perhaps it is still some vestige of childhood indoctrination. Then there is also the fact that my constitution is so different from that of a mover and shaker, a businessman, a barterer, a salesman. I am an engineer, a philosopher, a navel-gazer.

I think this will probably hurt my family in the long run. These communities seem to thrive on connections. Knowing the right people seems to be very important. And frankly, sucking up is expected.

Some say it is a learned behavior - like manners. You need to practice it to get good at it. Yet, I cannot force myself to engage in it - some inexorable force drives me to rebel, to withdraw, to stick to stupid, windmill-charging ideals. Shigata ga nai.


Blogger Shoshana said...

I totally hear ya on this one. I am HORRIBLE at sucking up. Actually, that's wrong, I just won't do it on general principle. However, I don't think you should develop your talents - you are right that these individuals may be very nice, but they also may rely on their money to give them authority, which it just shouldn't. I think it's sad that so much influence goes to those whose wallets are the fattest, rather than those who give of themselves.

November 09, 2006 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. Even when it would be totally resonable to be sociable with some of the wealthiest members of shul, I am reluctant do do so for fear of being seen by them as a sycophant. Its really just my problem, because as you said, some of these folks are genuinely nice people- they just happened to make a killing somewhere along the line. Disparities in wealth can be a challenge.

November 09, 2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

it won't actually hurt your family in any way if you don't suck up to rich people. G-d takes care of everyone in His own way, according to individual needs; last I heard, He wasn't a huge advocate of strategizing.

November 27, 2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


Thanks for the encouragement. It is really a hypothetical anyway. I don't think I can force myself to be something I am not...

But the Bedouins say "Trust in G-d, but tie your camel!"

There is also something to that as well.

November 27, 2006 12:40 PM  

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