>Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked,
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich–yes, richer than a king–
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
I’ve got this poem on here because it speaks to one belief: money doesn’t do shit for us. Shouldn’t that internal voice say something to its external comrade? In theory, yes, but it never actually does … or we just ignore it and keep on striving for financial well-being. Either way, the message of the almighty – whoever that may be – gets lost in the shuffle.
There was an Indian doctor on Glenn Beck tonight who is known as one of the greatest spiritual thinkers in the world. Now I’ll tell you right now, he is a Buddhist, so all you Christian extremists might as well go to another web site. Here’s one for you. Anyway, this guy was saying that while visiting Cuba, one of the poorest nations in the world, he couldn’t help but notice how happy and content people were. As he put it, “lovers walked hand-in-hand in the parks and musicians played joyfully/” These people, despite being poverty-stricken, without healthcare or a stable government, were really happy. He asked the guy who was giving him a tour, a local, why. He said, simply, “We have nothing to buy.”
Another story came up on the episode. In the Wall Street Journal, according to Glenn Beck himself (so it might be a bunch of hodgepodge), there was a story on the recent boom in corn farming in the Midwest due to the sudden demand for ethanol as an alternative fuel source. The farmers out there, quite simply, are becoming rich men. However, the average price for an engagement ring has remained the same, despite the increase of money and the overall price of everything else out there going up. Why, you may be asking? Because those people are typically more focused on nature and relationships … and especially their families. My dad’s from that area and I’ve experienced how it is. I can vouch for what Sr. Beck was saying.
But this is just a bunch of liberal propaganda, I’m sure. It’s so much easier to be focused on money, since that’s what the guy next to you is doing. It’d be a shame if we looked weird to anyone else and got labeled as a(n) (insert whatever you want here)-freak. In theory, the way I’ve learned the world sees it, if we have enough money, we’ll be happy, if we have enough technology, we’ll be healthy, and if we have enough weapons, we’ll be secure.
Well shit … I guess we’ve done screwed this all up.
We’re one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet our population’s depression rate is through the roof. We can almost cure cancer, but we can’t stop people from getting it … our obesity rate is higher than our collective blood pressure. We are not healthy despite having some of the best technology available to man. Finally, there’s the weapons issue, which almost needs no explanation. We’ve got enough missiles that are powerful enough to blow planets up we haven’t even been to, but yet, look at 9/11. We are not secure.
But the Cubans are happy. They sing and dance in the streets.
Me, I’ve only just begun to realize all this. The lessons my father, the Midwestern farmer’s son, taught me have only recently started to sink in. I have no right to chastise anyone for being consumed by money, for it was only a few years ago that I was 19 and being pummeled by the stress of losing my job, facing incessant car payments, and worrying about how I was going to survive. I would have never guessed at that time I’d be sitting where I am today, with a college degree and on the doorsteps of a wonderful, perfectly-connecting-puzzle of a life. He told me he couldn’t help me with my bills, but I didn’t believe him. I still don’t. However, I thank him for turning me down. Had I been a trust-fund baby or a coddled newborn at the age of 19, I might not of learned the lesson I did … that material possessions just aren’t worth the sacrifice of life we miss out on in the endeavor to attain them. See, I got that car paid off, eventually, and it took a lot out of me to do so. When it died and came time for a new one, I knew … it was only a car – it had four wheels, an engine, and a transmission. It got me where I wanted to go, but just looked really nice in the process. I now drive a ’97 Lumina and will do so until it dies … in 2069.
Live simply so others can simply live.
If you want little gems, they are there no matter your income class. Your task is to see them, to appreciate them. I sat outside tonight with a small fire burning in the outdoor fireplace I’ve got behind my apartment. I shut off the lights inside, closed the door, and just let the sounds of the world God has given us take over. The birds didn’t mind my fire, nor did the crickets. They seemed to like it, if anything. It was surprisingly quiet for living in an apartment complex. This was my gem for the evening.
Of course, meanwhile there was probably a Mercedes-driving husband/son of a politician who married a hot-ass-but-only-because-she-paid-for-plastic-surgery woman that was at a party (or “ball,” if that’s what they’re called by fags like this) somewhere across town and toward the water who was just pissed as can be at the world tonight. I’d imagine he had one too many cocktails (a total of three) and got mad at his trophy wife for some reason or another. This was a social event, they went to, and they had to go in order to save face and promote hubby’s “political” career, although probably the best thing for the couple to do tonight would have been to stay home, watch a movie, and remember how much they cared for one another.
But hey, they’ve got money. Relationships can be paid for, right? Wrong.
The other day I was talking to my best friend on the phone and started bitching about the land around here, how much it’s worth and gone up, all at the expense of the natural beauty of what was originally there. He told me to buy some, to “get in on that.” After all, “somebody’s getting rich off that,” he said.
I would never, ever, ever do such a thing. There are some entities in this world which cannot be purchased for any price, one of which is my pride. My morality would suffer for raping God’s gift to us, the land … I could not sleep with myself at night. I would become Richard Cory. But, go figure, I’ve never shied away from referring to my best friend as money hungry.
Will he be happy? From what I’ve seen since he’s graduated college and started making “the big bucks,” no. Every time he makes more money, he just acquires bigger expenses to nullify it. Relationships of his sputter and then halt. I am happier at 400 dollars a week than he is at just under a thousand. Figure that out. It makes sense to me.
We here in America have a way to skip around this crazy Indian doctor’s suggestions on spirituality … he’s an Indian. For God’s sake, do you see what those people wear (sarcasm)? They are so un-American (we essentially say) and they’re only good for running convenience stores (again, we essentially say) … why should we listen to any suggestions one of their doctors has to give us (sarcasm)?
WE ARE IN DENIAL – WITH EVERYTHING.