Have you ever stopped to think about whom you would be if you became wildly wealthy or found yourself in a position of great power? Sometimes I ask myself those questions, often when there's a big lottery win on the line or when I encounter an executive asshole. I recently wrote an article in which I had the middle initial wrong for a bigwig, and "his people" were quick to let me know. To be fair, they weren't jerks about it, but I wonder, if I were the bigwig, would a mistake like that phase me in the least? When I’m mistakenly referred to by Rob’s last name I don’t make it a point to correct the individual in question, but if I were someone who “mattered” would I suddenly start railing against the offenders? I’m curious, which comes first, the ego or the executive title?
I recall years ago when I worked in publishing we were producing a compilation of sermons and I had to choose just a few preachers' names for the back cover. I inadvertently left off the name of a nationally-known minister/author who proceeded to berate me, threatening to pull his sermon from the book if he wasn't properly recognized. Christian behavior at its finest. So was this guy a jerk to begin with, or did he grow into it, along with his fame?
Maybe I’m naive, but I like to think that no matter how important I became, I'd still treat everyone the same way I do now. Which to be fair, isn't spectacular because I'm actually pretty introverted and small talk kills me. Still, I can't imagine I could talk down to anyone, or lash out if someone dropped the ball where my identity is concerned.
And then there’s money. Does money change everyone? Is it a given? Maybe it depends on when you become rich. If I had millions of dollars fall into my lap at this point in my life, I really doubt that it would change who I am at the core. I’d buy a shore house immediately, but I’d invite
everyone who likes this post all my friends and maybe even discount the rental fee. I'm generous like that. And I don’t think I’d suddenly be okay with $200 jeans or $500 haircuts. I’m pretty sure I’d still clip coupons and shop at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and BJ’s. And I’d probably drive my minivan into the ground before picking out my dream convertible. If I were wealthy, I’d still nag my husband to use the dozen-plus brewery growlers he keeps in the basement instead of always getting a new one. And I’d remain pissed off at the way the dog has ruined the couch by treating it as her personal jungle gym.
If I were rich, I know I’d increase my tithing at church, give to those in need, and buy my dad a bigger boat, but I probably wouldn’t start paying for all my friends every time we went out for dinner (that could become awkward). I would go out for dinner much more often, however, because there are few things I dislike as much as cooking. Maybe I’d hire an in-house chef. I’d still eat peanut butter sandwiches because I don’t like anything “good,” but Rob and the kids could eat better.
Speaking of the kids, they wouldn’t find themselves living on easy street. No big handouts coming from mom (dad might be a different story). I’d still make them drive the crappy, seriously-used cars they have waiting for them now. And they’d still be responsible for filling them with gas, bought with the money they earned from their jobs. I think nothing is more dangerous than a free ride. Pun intended.
So how about you? Would fame and fortune go straight to your head or would you remain the individual we know and love? Have you experienced a change in title or wealth that tempted you to become someone else? What would others say about you?