I was reading an article on CNN about Alexandra Penney, a writer who made it big and was able to live life as she wanted to... until Bernie Madoff took everything she had.
Oh sure, I was ready to hate her. She’s done everything that I want to do: become a famous writer, make big bucks and use that money to do what she wanted, in her case being an artist. She’s got houses in nice places and clothes to die for and a social agenda that ranks right up there, its very easy to hate someone that has, and then laugh with glee when they don’t have... but actually, its not funny, nor should we hate her and post nasty comments on her blog entry about finding out that her life will never be the same again thanks to the greed of one guy.
She wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she wasn’t given the money, she MADE it on her own. As I said before, she’s someone that I would envy, but to laugh or mock her when she’s lost everything, I don’t think so. Rich people, for the most part, aren’t rich because they were handed the money, most of them actually DID something to get that money. They should be our role models and examples of what CAN be done in this wonderful country. We should aspire to be like them, to make enough money to live the lives that we want, but instead, people hate them.
Don’t you wish you were rich? Don’t you look at those who have and wish you had it too, or do you look at them and think that their gains are ill gotten, and therefore they should be hated? When does a person go from the struggling actor, writer, businessman, whatever and a person to be idolized to one that you hate and wish bad things on? What is the dollar amount? Is there a certain level to which someone goes from being the “everyman” to “the rich asshole”?
What about Oprah? She’s got so much money its not even funny, and yet because she gives her audience toys and cars, she’s ok? I’m guessing that if Oprah got taken, there would be such an outpouring of sympathy and concern, people donating their salaries and such to make sure she was taken care of... but why her and why not Alexandra Penney?
People tend to forget that the rich people hire us. They keep the economy strong by buying things and investing in things. They’re the ones we watch on the tabloids and try to emulate by buying the clothes they buy, being like them, and wishing we were like them. They’re the ones that keep the dream alive, that dream that says that someday we can have all of that. Without them, what is there to dream of? How do we hold onto our crappy daytime jobs and do what we like to do at night in the hopes that someday we will get “discovered” or create the next big thing that will help us pay the bills and maybe allow us to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. What is there if that’s gone, when all the rich people are gone?
Ms. Penney says not to feel sorry for her, but I do. Probably not for the reasons she thinks. I feel sorry that she had it all, now she doesn’t. I feel bad that she’ll have to start over again, just like me. I hope she makes it, because I think we all need someone like her to look up to, and to think “she did it, she made it, and so can I”.
I doubt that Ms. Penney will ever read this, but if she does, I hope she knows that there’s at least one person rooting for her.