Gold means so much to us rich folks. I can’t even really pinpoint why, but it’s just so important to us and so naturally we’re always looking for creative ways to incorporate gold into our daily lives. We rich people horde this gold and might even say something like “hands off my gold!” in a bizarrely antagonistic tone if someone who shouldn’t have our gold wants our gold. Gold is one of rich people’s main responsibilities and a major source of stress. I mean we didn’t ask for this gold, we simply bought it. So now you’re telling me I have to worry about this gold around the clock? Come on.
Anyway, the other night I’m at the Philharmonic. Charity event. Wife’s home with the kids and gold. Calls me up. Says the gold is rusting. The gold is rusting? I scream into the phone. Gold shouldn’t rust. It can’t rust. I keep screaming and then, suddenly, I’m sprinting. I’m sprinting home to my family to make sure the gold is okay. Kids shouldn’t have to see gold rust, especially rich kids.
I get home and see it’s my son’s gold-painted bike. Figures. He left it out in the rain. I take my son aside and we chat about gold. I show him my gold watch and I tell him to feel it. Feel the gold, son. I’m screaming again. I’m crying and shrieking. Feel the gold, feel the gold. If my son doesn’t understand the value of gold and the central role it plays in the rich person’s lifestyle, how will he ever be a rich person? How will he ever run the family business? Wal-Mart isn’t gonna run itself.
I begin to tell my son about the Gold Bed Principle. This was something championed by Carnegie but cut from The Gospel of Wealth because editors found it utterly appalling. It’s a pretty simple principle: “rich people should sleep in gold beds every night as a sort of symbol of their excessive lifestyle.” Gold bed, eh? Sounds uncomfortable, right? Wrong. That bed makes me feel powerful and there’s a certain comfort to be found in being crazily powerful.
My son can have the gold bed if he wants it. I don’t want it, he says. He’s the one screaming now. He never learns, does he? I unbutton my shirt, revealing the back brace I have to wear at all times because my spine is all mangled from my rock of a bed. I lecture my son about sacrifice. I realize we’ve been talking out in the rain for hours now. It’s almost morning and now the sun is rising. The golden sunshine hits my solid gold back brace, the glare bathing the son and me in a horrifying gold filter. Now he understands.