Friday, December 12, 2008

You Can't Win 'Em All

Ballet shoes sit discarded in a pile at the Baghdad ballet school

I watched an interview with Bill Gates a while back and he stated that he and his wife do not intend to leave their children with a large (or small) fortune. The Gates' would rather see their offspring make their way through life on their own merits and talents, much as they did. Now you can debate the wisdom or justice of this all day-long but I suspect that Mr. Gates, if anyone, fully understands the corrupting influence of great fortune.

I tried to explain this concept to an Iraqi friend today and he looked at me like I had a third eye. There was no way that he was going to wrap his head around the fact that money does not equal automatic happiness, and in most cases it's just the opposite. He believes that money will bring cars, houses, more cars, and even greater houses, all adding up to eternal bliss and happiness for he, his wife, and their children. He found the story of the Gates' intention so bizarre that he ran over an had to tell all of his Iraqi friends.

I took a step back and asked him if he were happy right now. He claimed that he and his wife were very happy... but would be even more happy with a bigger house and another car. I tried to point out people that live modestly with great satisfaction, and others that are swimming in wealth but suffer from depression and a myriad of other ailments. My friend was not biting, and in the end I gave up as he continued to stare at me in blasphemous disbelief. You can't win 'em all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice try!
Delightful fall photos in the slideshow.

Cathy B