Social work amongst the idle rich

I always hoped I’d end up doing social work amongst the idle rich.  – The Mick

I don’t particularly know what this means.

The Mick spends most of his waking hours in the pursuit of money. Six days a week, he wakes up early and goes to the office well before 8:00 a.m. Now, it’s not that The Mick is the hardest working man I have ever known. He seems morally opposed to manual labour, and he has little concern for looking ‘busy’. But the thrill of closing a sale, of making a deal, keeps him going to the office every day. He likes to walk into a room and say good morning to everyone he passes. He likes to chat around the water cooler.  He likes to check his voice mail, even.

His social life revolves around his work. He does not golf, and he hasn’t played tennis in years. He no longer even drinks with any great enthusiasm:

 ‘Lisha, I’ve spilled more than you’ll drink in your whole lifetime. – The Mick

but he likes to accept invitations to lunch by colleagues and acquaintances looking to pick his brain for an hour or two. Sometimes these lunches turn into business for him, and sometimes they help with the businesses of others. He’d be happy to, over some dim sum or a sandwich, tell you how to monetize whatever your current situation may be.

I never wear a watch that's worth more than my wrist. - The Mick
I never wear a watch that’s worth more than my wrist. – The Mick

I find it interesting that a man so focused on the acquiring of wealth is not particularly enticed by its trappings. He doesn’t live in an opulent home, drive a fancy car, or buy expensive clothes. He’s more likely to brag about how little he spent on something as opposed to how much it cost. His favourite finds are cheap dress shirts in discount bins, pre-monogrammed with someone else’s initials. He finds particular delight in spending as much (little) on a shirt as it would cost him to send an old one to the cleaners.

We were speaking, he and I, about what it takes to amass wealth. I suggested that hard work and savings were the way to build a fortune. He was aghast. Hard work, sure, but more importantly, leverage. If I have to hear one more time about how he borrowed from the bank at x% to invest in something that was paying off at y%, well, I might just right a blog about it.

Which way to the Carr?

It’s not that the Mick lives a spartan existence. He travels frequently, eats out constantly, and is a member at almost every gallery he’s ever walked through. It’s just that he gets as much joy out of finding a deal as he does from making a deal. He’s been known to send me gifts with the price tags still attached, just to show off how little something cost (Christmas 2012 – grey silk shawl, $17.00, I’m looking at you).

I often ask him when he plans on retiring. He’s nearing 80 years old. His work environment isn’t what it used to be, and he doesn’t seem to be having as much fun as he once did, but he’s told me that he can’t really imagine retiring. Fine (stubborn old man). What does he want to do NEXT?

“Social work amongst the idle rich” is always his reply.

I don’t even know what that means.


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