James Altucher recently posted a short piece on Quora entitled, How to Break All the Rules and Get Everything You Want.Friend posted this article on my Facebook Timeline. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, thank G-d someone else is calling these smug assholes on their shit. When I googled Sean Aiken and his "I'm going to work one job every week until I find my life's passion (which turns out to be talking about himself - surprise surprise)" bullshit, I found dozens of articles - articles that weren't written by Aiken's PR people - praising him for being white and privileged and totally able to try out jobs to find out which one is the most fun. (or fulfilling)
In this piece, Altucher — whose Wikipedia page contains the phrase “ran a fund of hedge funds” — recounts the tale of taking his daughter out for a fashion show and some ping-pong. When he is not on the list at the fashion show (a friend had promised to add him), he manipulates his way in. When the ping-pong venue is closed due to a private event, he manipulates his way in and plays ping-pong at someone else’s party.
He believes his fun evening provides a lesson for us all: “Don’t break the laws. Don’t kill people. Don’t steal. But most other rules can be bent.”
James Altucher thinks he has written an article about “getting everything you want.” He has actually written an article about white privilege. (And probably class privilege, and male privilege, and maybe some others.)
On the other hand, my blood pressure is rising. The opening anecdote of the post office where the white guy walks in, ignores the 18 people waiting in line and tries to get the postal worker to "do him a favor" and let him cut in line happened to me as well. Only it was a young and attractive woman with a large box, but it was just that one box.
But the guy who was taking up all the time at the counter, just chatting away with the postal worker as if they were old friends and not people engaged in a transaction - blithely ignoring the 20-30 people in line who also had things to mail - actually tried to "graciously" let her go after him.
I wasn't the only one yelling "No! Get the fuck in line!" Actually there might have even been some back and forth as the woman tried to say that she only had that ONE heavy box, but the upshot was that everyone in line had things to mail. The fascinating thing is that in the eyes of the woman trying to cut in line and the guy who was trying to help her, I was the asshole.