Class Is A Very Corrosive Social Issue

by Shelt Garner

It’s very interesting how in America we’re so busy talking about racism that we are pretty oblivious to another prejudice: class. I can usually fake a similar class as the smug asshole Twitter liberals who want to sell me MeUndies on their podcast. That is, until, of course, my natural bonkers kookiness comes out and they dismiss me.

Also, I’m just too poor — at the moment — for smug Blue Check liberals to accept me in any real way, no matter how much they probably would like me if they got to know me.

And that, my friend, is why class sucks.

I could win the $1.1 billion Mega Millions jackpot and it wouldn’t change how old I am and it wouldn’t change my class background. I have a relative who is far more successful than I am who acts like he’s some salt of the earth red neck when, in fact, if we both went to a cocktail party with snooty wealthy people they would definitely gravitate towards him in the end.

I would, however, probably get drunk in such a situation and have very loud, very interesting conversations with the best looking woman at the party. That’s just sort of my thing.

Anyway, the older I get the more I understand the invisible power of class. When I was an expat in South Korea, there was a regular communist utopia going on because everyone was getting paid about the same amount and everyone was doing pretty much the same thing for a living. The only real differences were one of origin, which is why you often get asked, “Where you from?” when you saddle up to a bar and find yourself talking to someone new.

As I approach my 50th birthday, I’m feeling a lot of existential angst because no matter what happens to me there are some things I just can’t change because of my dissipated, squandered youth.

Strangers With Fate

by Shelt Garner

Reading the new U.S. Grant biography really resonates with me. For much of the 1850s, Grant was a big old nobody. He was a loser and a drunk. It was so bad that he didn’t even mention it in his landmark autobiography published soon after his death.

Or, more accurately, these days, I feel like the protagonist of Strangers With Candy (above). Or, at least, that how I fear people perceive me. I don’t really have a ready answer for that perception, either. If your metric is the traditional ones of mainstream success, then, well, I guess you got me figured out.

And, in all honesty, the point of life is to be the hero of your own story. That’s it. The moment you let others define you, you’ve give up. And, yet, I would take things one step further — Grant’s experiences in the 1850s prove that, as they say in Terminator II, “No fate but what we make.”

In less than 20 years, Grant went from a beaten down loser to President of the United States. This is something that literally happened. All he needed, of course, was, well, to win a civil war.

I don’t expect to win a civil war anytime soon, but I do know that I do have a unique skillset. I’m good at abstract thought. I’m good a strategic thought. I’m good in a crisis. Really, it’s just an issue of having an opportunity to use it at this point.

But I honestly can’t see how even if there was some earth shattering event how the roughly 100 million other people who would be in my way would part so I could have a fateful moment in the sun. Regardless, I have a novel to work on. I’m quite pleased with it. It’s a pretty good yarn. I just hope the planet doesn’t go tits up before I can try to sell it.