I want to shout a big “Thank You!” to all the people we don’t know who make good money. Because if it weren’t for you, I’m not sure we’d have much to talk about regarding you. We know what kind of car you drive, how large your house is, and we’re pretty sure your lawn mower wasn’t cheap. But outside of that you’re pretty much an unknown. Thank God we know you make good money, because that alone brews great conversation…
“Hey, that new guy down the block…did you see what kind of lawn mower he has?
“Of course I did. He makes good money.”
“Like how good?”
“Real good money.”
“You know him?”
“I know he makes good money.”
“But do you know him?”
“Well, yeah, I know he makes good money.”
“So you don’t know anything about him? Like is he nice or not? Does he have a temper? Does he have a sense of humor? Is he married?”
“Of course he’s married—he makes good money.”
“And if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be married?”
“Chances are less.”
“All because of money?”
“All because of good money.”
And on and on our mystery man is given plenty of accolades because of his lawn mower.
It’s as if no explanation is necessary regarding someone who makes good money. Already he or she is off to a great start. That phrase has a way of tagging worthy qualities onto someone that don’t even need to be mentioned, because they are understood to already exist. He makes good money—he’s got it all together.
I’m curious about the people who live in not-so-lavish homes with weedy yards, and whose lawn mowers are…oh, wait…they don’t have lawn mowers. I mean how could they? They can’t afford one. They must make bad money. Bad money? The only time I’ve ever heard that term used is regarding money acquired illegally. The drug dealer donated bad money to the church. I know…not likely, but maybe he’s trying to come clean.
Good money. Bad money. Whether someone’s house is expensive or not, why can’t we just say, “That guy over there….he makes money.”? Why should we care if his money is good or bad? Or indifferent for that matter. Why does money have to play such an important role in classifying? Can’t we just look beyond each end of the financial spectrum and start describing people from a different perspective?
Good character—isn’t that really anyone’s ultimate achievement? The world is always coining new phrases, so why not: That man over there…he makes good character. It does have an interesting ring to it.
Strip a person of his or her possessions and money. Put them on a deserted island with a bunch of other stripped people, and the only thing you have to measure them with is character. A poor person with great character is far, far richer than the wealthiest of all people with poor character.
(ENTER: Two men talking on a deserted island. Behind them is the vast open sea.)
“See that man over there in the Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear, t-shirt, and sandals?”
“Oh, yeah…they really stripped him. What about him?”
“I think he used to live down the street from me. Had the best house in the neighborhood. Perfect lawn. And you shoulda seen his lawn mower! Man, he made good money.”
“Okay, but what’s that have to do with now?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, he’s on this deserted island. He has no house, no yard, and no money.”
“No money? That’s crazy. Look, I forgot, but what’s the name of this place?”
“This is the Isle of Disposition.”
“And just what is there to do here? I mean, I’m in boxer shorts and athletic socks. They took my pants and my shirt.”
“Talk to people, and from there let things happen as they will.”
“And what’s going to happen?”
“Eventually everyone’s disposition will surface. Are they of good character or bad character? Or somewhere in between?
“We have to be stripped of our belongings to understand this?”
“Actually, yes. You’d be surprised how long it takes some people to decondition themselves from classifying others by whether or not they make good money. The Isle of Disposition is designed to do just that.”
“How do you know about this island?”
“I work here. I’m an Identifier. My job is to spot people who can recognize others for their character, and send them back home. Instead of pointing out that such and such makes good money, we want people to say that such and such makes good character. Or even bad character. The point is to understand that how much money a person makes is a non-issue. Those who are still stuck in the money mindset will stay on the island until they catch on.”
“Makes good character? That doesn’t make sense.”
“Makes complete sense. Think about it: our bodies make antibodies, tissue cells, hair, saliva, cholesterol, plasma, and energy to name a few. Our minds—part of our bodies—make thoughts and personality traits. And from that character is born. Thus, we make character—good and bad.
The Identifier paused, then pointed at the ocean’s horizon where the sun was beginning to set. “Let me ask you something. Do you like that sunset?”
“Yes, of course.”
“What do you see?”
“I see a golden, shimmering reflection on the water that I wish were a sidewalk to help get me off this god-forsaken island.”
“And if that were the case, then who do you think would have built that golden sidewalk?”
“A wonderful person who makes good money, that’s who!”
“And how would you know he’s wonderful?” The Identifier thanked him for his answer, then walked away.
Copyright Ros Hill 2016