Damien on… The Poverty Gap
I am not rich – but I live in a low-economy country – thus am an economic migrant in reverse.
And as such, I have occasionally felt slightly guilty, when taking delivery of an item from workers I KNOW could never afford the “luxuries” I possess.
Like my big, flatscreen TV – with a 250W 6-channel sound system – upon which I can view movies on DVD, in the living room, without the inconvenience of actually going to the movies.
Although in the land of my birth, the system would hardly be thought of as the height of opulence.
And like my sauna.
For me, this item is an essential and this being a hot country, is only single-skin – and thus only set me back five hundred pounds.
And as I keep it in good order, it has so far lasted me about nine years – and with continued attention, it should go on to last me for the rest of my life (on paper, about another twenty years).
Therefore, by World standards, I consider myself to be a middle-income individual. And as such, I am content. I do not envy ANYONE.
But when I recently saw GoldVish’s million-dollar diamond-encrusted MOBILE PHONE – steam came from my EARS. It had obviously been created for a Trump, Hilton or drug baron – and I wanted to reach out, seize the obscenity, dash it to the ground and jump repeatedly on it until it was SMASHED TO BITS.
“ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?” I yelled.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – I do not envy rich folks their YACHTS. If I had the bread, I might get one too. But that is different. A yacht GOES places. It houses you. The ultimate mobile home. Although if it had gold-plated taps…
The thing is, there is rich, ostentatious – and just plain SICK.
This World still has millions of people in it who cannot get enough to EAT – and then someone goes and makes a thing like THAT.
Inevitably, it reminded me of a Rolex watch I once bought. It cost me eight pounds, in Bangkok.
When I returned (THAT time) to England, I compared it with the “genuine” article, in a posh jeweller’s window. The two were identical – except theirs cost over TWO THOUSAND pounds.
It kept perfect time, however it looked a bit CAMP to me, so I GAVE IT AWAY – to a LADY.
But it got me thinking. What was the DIFFERENCE between those two watches? Well, mine probably didn’t have a thermocompensated movement – thus instead of being accurate to a second a month, it might wander off by as much as TEN seconds a month.
But then if THAT bothered me, I could always get a “radio” watch. They are accurate to GOD standard, being corrected every hour by a broadcast time-signal – yet can still be purchased for less than fifty pounds.
The thing is, in The Good Old Days, watches made by the likes of Rolex, Longines and TAG Heuer had a POINT.
While cheap and cheerful timepieces like the ubiquitous Timex would be accurate to the minute – provided you corrected them by “the pips” every night and remembered to wind them – if you wanted a serious watch – one that would wind ITSELF and kept time to within fifteen seconds a MONTH – you had to part with serious CASH for it. Fair enough.
But when “tuning fork” watches and then far cheaper and even more accurate QUARTZ ones entered the personal timekeeping arena – high-tech MECHANICAL watches had had their DAY.
Or thus it SHOULD have been, except Rolex discovered that – against all logic – there were still pseuds with more money than sense who were willing to part with shedfulls of dosh for a “classic” STATUS SYMBOL.
Okay, like P.T. Barnham once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute” – and long before that, the idiom, “A fool and his money are soon parted” was being quoted. So f*** ’em – right?
Right. But the thing that boils my onions is when, every couple of years, some SE Asian uniformed prat puts on their regular display (for The West) of a strip of seized “fake” (but perfectly serviceable) Rolex watches – and proceeds to drive a STEAM-ROLLER over them.
If I Ruled The World, I would lay down a strip of PEOPLE who had purchased “genuine” Rolex watches – and drive a steam-roller over THEM.