Young people, particularly the troubled ones, are receptive to an advice such as ‘Material success is shallow. This society has become “result-oriented” when the most important thing in life is to be real you.’ Young people do not check if the adviser has had success at some time in his/her life, but if you think about it, only the successful ones can know if all the efforts they had made was in fact futile or not. Otherwise, you’d better suspect if this ‘adviser of life’ could be a mega case of ‘sour grapes.’ The one I have actually encountered was this ‘would-have-been a successive musician’. The man whose hair had gone half grey was supporting himself by giving private English lessons to foreign students. His apartment door was always open and I could hear him repeat the phrase mentioned at the beginning of this post. And yet, his pride was hurting too seeing many immigrants buying houses while he was still renting. How did I suspect it? He was always banging the front door on his Asian neighbours’ faces while holding the door for his people with smile.
But I much prefer the open racism than those who approach me in excessively sweet manner, somewhat curly persistent, until they found out I would not purchase their products, or just that I was not as rich as they had expected me to be. They don’t even try to hide their true colour. And yet they are the ones who preaches morality, surreptitiously insinuating criticism against American materialistic success that supposed to have turned Americans superficial. Well, it appears you don’t need a material success to turn money-oriented either. At least I have not yet heard American men dreaming of marrying rich as they prefer to earn their wealth themselves, but among the perpetual runner-ups are men who expect to marry rich and do not even try to hide it.
I am aware that being overshadowed by more successful neighbours can be soul-eroding, but I have also witnessed other types of runner-ups who are indeed respected, even by the winners. To be continued.
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