Friday, April 13, 2012

I Am the 99%. For Now…

Yesterday, while driving home, I noticed myself behind a minivan that featured a “We Are the 99%” sticker on its bumper.

My first response was to roll my eyes at both the message and the larger movement. And my second was to think, “Yeah, so am I. So what?”

But after a short, mental diatribe against the pointlessness of envy (Which Wikipedia surprisingly defines quite nicely as not only the resentment “that another person has something they perceive as lacking, but also [the] wish [for] the other person to be deprived of” it.), my third reaction was to really contemplate the bumper sticker and what it really meant.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I am most definitely in the 99% of wealth distribution in this country. And sure, I would someday like to be in the 1%.

But unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement and its followers, I want to make my money on my own merit, based on my own hard work, ingenuity and success.

  • I want to write the next New York Times best-selling novel that gets everybody buzzing about a possible Hollywood contract.
  • I want to air my opinions in such a captivating way that I grow a significantly sized audience (and enough advertising revenue to hire a proofreader who can catch my inevitable spelling and grammar mistakes).
  • I want to become an editor for some top-notch publishing company, where I can foster authors to produce works they can be proud of instead of the badly executed rough drafts that keep hitting the shelves these days.

And I want to profit from it all. (Yes, I know I used the P-word. Deal with it.) But I want those profits because I earned them.

There’s absolutely no honor in accepting coerced handouts from the 1%. Nor is there any future in it, since there is only so much the 99% can bleed from the 1% before they fall over dead and drained.

And since I’m not a financial vampire, that parasitic lifestyle with its short-term benefits just doesn’t appeal to me.

Hard work and perseverance, however, have much better long-term results. Because even if I somehow don’t succeed through circumstances beyond my control, I can at least stand on the knowledge that I gave it my all, which is something to be proud of.

So yes, I am the 99%. And that’s really ok for now.

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