Snob or slob
Welcome to this edition of the latest craze in entertainment… the home game that is sweeping the nation called Snob or Slob? In this game we’ll describe three families and then ask you to guess which one is the richest. Now let’s meet our contestants.
First we have Cosmo the Artiste and Princess Charmaya who have been living together in sin for five years now in Silicon Valley. Cosmo the Artiste is a 27-year-old, self-taught hacker who works from home, which is a 900-square-foot loft in what used to be a tannery. The loft rents for $4,500 a month which does not include HOA fees, spa or pool privileges. His income is highly volatile and depends on how many stupid people have passwords that are easily hacked.
Charmaya is a computer programmer for an Internet dating site for canines called “Labs In Love” in which she has thousands of stock options that could be worth millions when, and if, the company ever goes public. The couple has no savings but has invested heavily in two cryptocurrencies you’ve never heard of that they’re counting on to make them billionaires. In place of a 401K Cosmo the Artiste gambles on jai alai through an offshore Internet gambling site. They have few possessions except for their collection of Air Jordans. The couple spends gobs of money on lottery tickets, ramen noodles, $5 cups of coffee from Starbucks, and the latest Apple Watch or cell phone.
Our next contestants are deeply embedded members of the leisure class who inherited their wealth from Wall Street criminals. Cameron McBooze IV still works for the family futures gambling house and brings home a million bucks a year despite doing nothing that resembles work. The firm trades in commodities that don’t exist. Cameron wouldn’t know wheat from corn and enjoys $200, three martini lunches daily. His suits are made in Italy and he owns a Ferrari, though he’s seldom sober enough to drive.
Cameron’s trophy wife Audrey Jacqueline Margaux is 20 years younger and is under the constant care of a beautician, a trainer and a plastic surgeon. She spends most days shopping for clothes at Bloomingdales she’ll only wear once, if at all. The couple has three houses, all in upscale neighborhoods to isolate themselves from the unwashed masses. Last year they bought two matching Mercedes Benz and took two extended trips to Europe. To them, possessions and consumption equals achievement.
Finally, from Lickspittle, Wyo., are the Johnsons, Frank and Mary and their four kids. This family has been playing hide and seek with poverty for years and their income is measured in the bean to beef ratio at supper. Frank wears old and faded flannel shirts, a beaver hat with a dark and very visible sweatband and boots held together with duct tape, while Mary dresses similarly, minus the duct tape. In their very best clothes they’d be kicked out of any upscale eatery in New York. The Johnson’s ate out a grand total of three times last year and one of those was at McDonalds where Mary put the sugar and salt packs and extra napkins in her purse. They charge their groceries at the store which is 20 miles away and have a dog named Insufficient Funds. They drive a 12-year-old truck and the only stock they own has four legs.
Now I’ll open the envelope to see who is the most wealthy. I must say, I’m shocked to report that the couple with the highest net worth is… Frank and Mary, the ranchers from Lickspittle. How can this be, you ask? It seems the Johnsons may be poor but they are wealthy. They own a $20,000,000 ranch that was paid for three generations ago, over $1,000,000 in livestock including a horse worth more than Charmaya’s stock options, and two combines each worth more than Cameron’s Ferrari. Their net worth also includes 12 oil wells, a wind farm, a potential and valuable conservatism easement and an unknown amount of carbon credits. If Frank and Mary cashed out and bought a New York pied-a-terre or a mansion in Silicone Valley the McBoozes, Charmaya and Cosmo the Artiste would have to use the back door.