Stay Alert To Stay Real

I just finished reading the fantastic article in this weeks New Yorker about Tony Schwartz, the co-writer of Donald Trumps literary opus, The Art of the Deal (of course Trump threatened The New Yorker, which is what he does between bloviating and filing for bankruptcy.)

While I’ve never read that shiny turd myself and after reading about Tony Schwartz I have even less of a desire to read it (provided I ever had a desire to read it), however, it would seem the experience he had is a cautionary tale on greed; on the authors part, not so much Trump (we know he’s a greedy little sociopath.)

To his credit, Schwartz owns up to the fact that he wrote the book for the money and the article is peppered with journal reflections about what a blowhard and dolt Trump truly is.

I can’t really begrudge Schwartz for writing the piece of shit because as it was the tool he used to begin a more substantial and substantive career. A 50/50 split of 500k and book royalties would be hard for anyone to pass by…and that was a lot of scratch back in the mid 1980’s…it still is.

The article claims that Schwartz came out now because too much is at stake (ya know, the free world and all that.) But I do find it a little suspect for him to be reflecting back and saying “I wish I hadn’t done it.” Christ, who among us doesn’t have that kind of thought?

But then, the vast majority of us did not become a literary Dr. Frankenstein and help create one of the largest myths in modern literary and business history. When it comes to modern literary deceit perhaps only James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces is filled with more lies.

Which begs the question, what would you do given the same situation? If you were offered 250k to ghostwrite a book and a guarantee to split the profits? The appeal of such a deal is instant but then during the process you realize your subject is nothing more than an over privileged blowhard whose true success is minimal. In other words, you discovered they were a fraud?

Well, this is where I get scared. 250k is a game and life changer for most people. Myself included. However, I can say with certainty that I would gladly turn over the money if I realized what Schwartz slowly came to realize.

As long as we have free will, we have choices and we should therefore have integrity. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Sadly, it seems that integrity is still in short supply at worst and a horrible misunderstanding of it at best. You see, I work with a number of younger people and I often find they are obsessed with three things, money, their job title and their importance.

Money, thankfully, no one really discusses but you can see the cringe when I drop my beat up debit card to split a lunch check and everyone else drops credit cards. I just don’t see a need to use credit if I have real money. I could give a rats ass about points and all that. I have better things to do with my time than to try and figure out the byzantine rewards programs.

I’ve heard more than one young woman I know say they just “wanna marry rich.” I’d like to say they mean spiritually rich but I don’t think that is the case. I once worked with a young lady who openly admitted she would not accept an engagement ring that cost less than 50k (I worked in financial services, so it was possible.) Perhaps these young ladies aren’t reading about the collapsing middle class and the ever-widening gape between rich and poor. While I am hardly the benchmark on marriage and I don’t know the barometer used to determine when marriage should be part of ones life decision but I do know it shouldn’t be about money.

While money is important and you can call me naïve but marriage should be about happiness and love first and foremost. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

So, I was recently engaged in a conversation discussing a mutual acquaintance and was asked “What is he now? A director?” I immediately paused knowing the person was an artist in his spare time but not a director…and then it occurred to me that he meant the white-collar title of “Director.” I was a little floored and simply replied, “I dunno, he ‘s still just (name) to me.”

You probably have the same type of colleagues who take great pride in divulging how their Outlook calendar is almost chock full of meetings. People, here’s the thing with meetings, if there are more than five people and last longer than 30-45 minutes, they are useless. Fact.

Too many people, too many voices and too long, no directives or goals can be set let alone anything of value get discussed. So having your calendar chock full of 60-90 meetings, which are mostly conference calls anyway is about as significant as finding a turd floating in the Ganges River.

On that note, don’t tell me you have a 3 o’clock. We all have a 3 o’clock ya fooking dummy. And a 4…and a 5. What you have is a conference call. I’ll grant you “a call” (big of me I know) but saying you have complete ownership of time is a flagrant falsehood. Dummy.

Look, it’s not like I don’t look back on my life and reflect on a period when I made a decent wage, had some influence and a fancy title. I’ve had all three and at some point in my early 30’s I realized none of it mattered. All I want now is enough to pay my bills and survive. I’m not saying that is the right thing for everyone, but it’s a good place to start.

Don’t believe what you read about millennials. They are just as enamored with money, perhaps more so, than Generation X ever was…and we grew up in the 80’s and go-go Internet 90’s.

The ultimate irony being that the golden god of hubris and money, Donald Trump, should be their rock star idol and by all accounts they seemed to favor the socialist septuagenarian.

Let’s hope at least their political beliefs stay the same.

Viva La Revolucion!