Too rich for my teeth

Prejudice is always wrong. Unless you’re prejudiced against Nazis. I think that would be okay. Or against people who wear way too much perfume. Surely we can all agree on that.

Prejudice is almost always wrong, and recently I came to realize that, as enlightened as I think I am, I have a prejudice of my own – against the wealthy.

I used to think I was just uncomfortable around rich people but now realize I’m actually biased against them. I can see it in the negative terms I use to describe people of wealth: “filthy rich” “stinking rich,” “my snooty cousin Darren who thinks he’s too good for us now.” But it’s wrong to use these judgmental phrases because oftentimes people are wealthy through no fault of their own. Like hair colour or country club memberships, sometimes wealth is an inherited condition.

In an attempt to overcome my ignorance, I’ve been trying to spend more time with wealthy people. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because people of wealth tend to shy away from non-wealthy people like me – probably because of all the prejudice.

Recently, though, I attended a cocktail party where the combined value of the footwear was more than my annual salary. Normally, such an event would not be my cup of fois gras, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to face my own preconceptions while simultaneously standing uncomfortably by myself in a corner.

What I learned is that people of wealth have really good hair.

I also learned that they have doubts and worries just like you and me – not about money, obviously. But a worry is a worry. The wealthy worry about their multi-million corporations making sales targets; you and I worry about making that big sale at Target. Same thing.

Life smiles of the rich and famous

Life smiles of the rich and famous

From what I observed at this cocktail party, however, the big worry for the wealthy is getting food in your teeth.

I discovered this when I managed to grab a canapé off a passing tray – which wasn’t easy since the servers thought I was an art installation. In the dim light, it looked like salsa on a cracker. But as I popped it in my mouth, I thought, “Hey, this salsa is chewy.” And that’s when I realized that my salsa was in fact raw meat. I think. If it wasn’t raw meat, I don’t really want to know.

As I gnawed away at the maybe-meat, I thought, “What if I was actually having a conversation?” which, of course, I wasn’t because I was so focused on the observing and the anti-social cowering. But what if I was? Imagine, chewing raw meat while attempting to say, “Yesterday I yawed my yacht around Yucatan.”

There were also fresh oysters. The only thing more slippery than an oyster is my cousin Darren. What stress people of wealth must undergo eating oysters! Luckily, the glasses of Chateau de la Pompadour Mouffette help cut the anxiety.

Later, I reached from behind a load-bearing support beam to snag a meatball off a passing tray. No toothpicks here. Instead, each meatball was lovingly deposited on one of those wide, flat-bottomed ceramic spoons, which are probably the most uncomfortable things you can put in your mouth, in public. As I chewed, I thought, “Look at the dignity and courage with which these people of wealth undergo this hardship.” That and, “What the hell kind of meat am I eating now?”

Overall, I came away from the experience a little bit more open-minded… and pretty hungry. Did I gain a full understanding of people of wealth? Not really, mostly because I was too scared to make eye contact. But I did learn to respect them and come to understand that you can’t really appreciate people of wealth until you rock a smile in their chews.


A version of this post originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” If you would like to listen to the audio version, you can’t; they’re having linkage problems.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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47 Responses to Too rich for my teeth

  1. Katie says:

    My gym is technically considered a country club, so I’m around old wealthy people pretty often. What I find fascinating is how nonchalantly they can discuss their exotic vacations. The most exotic place I’ve been in the last five years is Wisconsin (I hope that still resonates even in Canada).

  2. markbialczak says:

    As a young small-timer invited to an outdoor cocktail party of high-standing editors and publishers, I grabbed a piece of oddly shaded turkey from a passing waiter and popped it into the pie-hole. After a grimaced chew I managed a pained what-kinda-turkey-is-this to the laughing waiter. No, he replied, uncooked salmon. Pah-tooey! Not on the waiter. I liked him.

  3. Ned's Blog says:

    You haven’t lived until you’ve had a steaming cup of fois gras. From what I hear. The closest I’ve gotten yo fois gras is leaving a steaming something of mois in someone’s grass. Anyway, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with overcoming this prejudice.

  4. amforte66 says:

    I”m with you on this one. I like the way you are “trying to spend more time with wealthy people.” Too funny! I actually think this *condition* is one of the reasons Gweneth Paltrow inadvertently offends so many people.She really just has NO idea how to connect with average folks, though I believe she truly wants to. Wealthy has always been her world; it’s just the way she sees things. I enjoyed your post and all of the details you included that made this so clear and funny. 🙂

  5. The wealthy have really good hair pieces 🙂

  6. Nic says:

    The timing here is uncanny, as I’m always surrounded by rich businessman commuters on the train from CT to NYC, and today I was looking at all their shoes! And I kept thinking, “Wow, we ALL wear shoes, even these rich people wear shoes. They’re just nicer shoes, probably.” Then it went into this whole “what IS a shoe? what IS a designer label?” place, and then I was like “fuck this” and just put some Dixie Chicks back on my iPod. And then I got to the office and read this post, and now I’m back on the shoes. And the hors d’oeuvres.

  7. Don’t you understand? Little meatballs on ceramic spoons are PEOPLE!!!!!

  8. ksbeth says:

    and they always have ‘hair staff’ standing by, waiting to attend to them at a moment’s notice. i used to do a lot of catering for the wealthy, while in school, and oh, the tales……

  9. Yahooey says:

    No farting in their general direction?

    As to Nazi’s, disliking them is not prejudice according the dictionary definition of prejudice. 🙂

  10. Letizia says:

    For some reason, I can’t get the image of a cup of foie gras out of my head. Does one drink it with a straw, I wonder?

    • rossmurray1 says:

      It was a joke but they really were passing around shot glasses of something brown and tendonous. Is that a word? Should be.

      • Letizia says:

        I was sure you were joking- shot glasses of something brown and tendonous sounds as revolting as the image in my mind! Can’t believe your description came from something real- ick! 🙂

  11. Paul says:

    Hilarious post Ross, I laughed all the way through. It’s true, the hair, the food and shoes are the giveaways. I only ever knew one really rich billionaire and he was so down to earth he spent a lot of time making fun of the regular rich. I must confess, I get defensive aorund the wealthy and have been known to go on the attack – so I feel it best to avoid them. I happened to be with a bunch at a seminar one day and during the break the conversation turned to which airline provided the best first-class service to Europe. They were adamant that any hand towels provided had to be heated and the best stewardesses were long-legged blondes. And then they started rating each air carrier by the beauty and breast size of the stewardesses. Jesus. I popped. I let loose with a tirad about how there were so many starving people in the world and that a child dies of malnutrition and related diseases every thirty seconds – and they were f**king rating airlines by breast sizes. I was very clear in my complete disgust with their abusive, entitled, sociopathic attitudes and lives. The complete silence that ensued when I had finished venting was a bit embarassing. I may have overdone it a bit. Anyway,I try to avoid the rich when possible. Ha!

  12. List of X says:

    I’m prejudiced against excessively wealthy Nazis wearing too much perfume. Is that wrong?

  13. I was going to make an insightful quip about Donald Trump’s hair but I can see that I’m a day late.

    My only-ever television appearance was a feature they did on me for Lifestyles of the Poor and Powerless.

    Do you know who never has linkage problems? Wealthy people.

  14. Kay says:

    Sometimes I feel bad about my anti-wealthy prejudice, but that usually goes away once one gets too close to me.

  15. I was convinced I was wealthy until I read this. I have almost no hair, two pairs of running shoes (one with holes, the other covered in mud), and the only thing I eat raw is carrots. But they’re the little ones, so there’s always that. But you have made me realize that my wealth is that my family loves me, and I love them. We take vacations together and laugh our fool heads off. And have fun. And don’t worry about sales targets OR sales at Target.

    And everyone who reads your blog is just a little bit richer for it.

    That’s why I read it ten times a day.

  16. benzeknees says:

    Groan, rock a smile in their chews?

  17. cat9984 says:

    Makes me think of a reception I went to. The hostess offered me a canape. I didn’t know what it was so I refused. She pressed, so I took it. I put it in my mouth. Mushroom (which I don’t like) stuffed with something I liked even less. Of course there was no way to get rid of it, graceful or otherwise.

  18. Pingback: Let us now praise little sandwiches | Drinking Tips for Teens

  19. I wear hand-made clothing. Yaaaay!
    Well, hand-made by me… 😛 If that even counts.
    And I’m fairly sure this has nothing to do with above post… *wanders off to complete historical costuming set piece and Jedi outfit*

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