Don’t Be Envious!

The rich are out with some very good advice for us recently. Don’t be envious. You see, you learn some valuable lessons up there at the top of the heap, and being the generous people they are, they are sharing their wisdom with us down here, free of charge.

First of all, they suggest you not look at the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans. This is a list that is not compiled for any purpose other than information. Its creators and intended readers consider it to be a mere factual tabulation of data without any particular social meaning, and the fact that it is blared out on the cover is only because there was a shortage of more important data to feature in that issue.

If you do just happen to stumble across this list, they suggest you read it with a cool technical dispassion, like they do. The people between say, 300 and 400, read about the people in the top ten with the kind of calm detachment that an accountant might have looking upon rows of unlabeled numbers. They do not lie awake at night twisting in their bedding, wondering how to move up the list, at all. Ever. They do not look about their paltry 40,000 square foot house and gnash their teeth that those higher on the list can afford 60,000 square feet, for their VACATION HOUSE. No, they do not. Envy does not operate at these lofty levels. It’s all dispassion up there. Those just short of making the list feel nothing but happiness that those who beat them out AGAIN THIS YEAR are doing so fabulously well (no doubt by doing good!).

You see envy is a poisonous feeling, and they don’t have any of that, and they want us to share their zen-like big-hearted calm. They do still have that greed thing going on, but that’s a good, wholesome thing, and not like envy at all.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · March 19, 2014