We are the 99%.
Well, you are anyway, for the most part. I, on the other hand, am stonkers with cash, positively rolling in it.
My father was the second son of the Baron Capel of Tewkesbury, although there were always rumors that there was something a little, shall we say, Edwardian about his genetics, particularly given that the old Baron had, ten years earlier, had both testicles shot off by Ayub Khan in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Let’s just say that Daddy could do an impression of George V that would fool the king’s mother. He served in the Navy during the Great War, doing very secret and nefarious things. He was a great man, and I loved him very much.
Anyway, Great Grandfather had made money in Jamaican tobacco, which his son then invested in ironworks, making even more money. My father invested his share in ammunition factories a few years before the war kicked off. When daddy died, he left everything to me (well, that which wasn’t swallowed up in death duties), and I immediately began to carefully invest it in Dior, cocaine and Krug, along with the odd share of Ford or Apple over the years.
Daddy, my mother and I lived in a big house, packed with more servants than anyone knew what to do with, usually retired sailors. It was like Downton Abbey except with worse dentistry and more rum, sodomy and tattoos.
Now, Daddy was a powerful and ruthless business man. His first lesson to me was that, in business and in love, both your enemies and friends were fair game, and if you could steal someone’s business or their wife or their damn chair from under them it was your honor-bound duty to do so.
However, he also said that you should always be kind and generous to to your servants, not least because, as he put it, you never knew when one of the bastards was going to dunk his syphilitic tackle in your breakfast martini. I suspect that Daddy’s reasons were slightly deeper than just the fear of someone’s dick in his drink. Daddy’s servants were always the happiest and fattest and best dressed in the neighborhood, and so our silver was always the shiniest, our sheets were so well starched you could do yourself an injury on them, and there were never any nasty surprises in the soup. He applied the same rule to the workers in his factories, and there were never strikes because everyone had more than enough to feed and clothe their family and at least one day off a month.
My father also told me that it was your duty to pay the full amount of tax on every dollar that you earned, because otherwise how was the government going to buy all those things it desperately needed, like bullets and iron and tobacco?
Daddy was not a good man. He may have been ruthless. He may, in fact, have been a nasty son-of-a-bitch who’d sell his mother’s ashes to a soap factory or push a business rival under a tram (only once though, and it really might have been an accident).
However, he always said that if the revolution came, he knew that he wouldn’t be one of the ones putting on a blindfold and lining up against a wall. He, unlike our captains of industry of today, knew who buttered his bread and washed his car and shaved his face every morning with four inches of sharpened steel and made his bullets and built the roads that his delivery trucks drove on.
He, unlike much of the 1% today, wasn’t a fucking idiot.
Let’s call this a Balloon Jobs Thread, as well as an Open Thread. I know Mr Levenson has already done one this week, but another can’t hurt.
Image: A Hunt Servant – Ben Marshall (1767-1835)