Measure of Success

(*Since I was way too busy this week to write something new, here's something old)

My left wing idealist university educated friend argued that there is a false sense of success in North America. We live in a consumerist state that finds solace in material things, and apparently that’s wrong. According to my anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist, one political affiliation away from being a communist and “I get all my clothes at thrift shops” comrade, there is a serious lack of substance in North American’s lives. To suggest that my matching eclectic furniture and six figure earning potential somehow wasn’t enough to fill a spiritual void that subsequently I didn’t even know existed, is so absurd that it makes George W’s war against Iraq seem justified by God himself (herself? Itself?). Didn’t she notice that the couches in my living room were made out of Corinthian leather?

The conversation began when I was out for dinner and drinks with the a fore mentioned friend and she said:

“Lorenzo take a look at your life, does it have substance? Would you consider yourself successful? Are you really content?”

Of course I am. I’m spiritual. I’ve got substance. I’m successful. Not to mention I’ve got a killer wardrobe. I’ve realistically achieved a standard of North American success that few ever reach. I’m 24 years old. I own a downtown condo. I’m a year away from attending arguably one of the best law schools in the country and working at a high end wealth management firm on Bay St. Bay St., just to clarify, for my across the border people and my ignorant Canadian friends, is the Canadian equivalent of Wall St. Anyways, enough shameless self promotion and on to my point. I’m young, rich and if I do say so myself, easy on the eyes. But for some reason she had the audacity to ask me these questions. Didn’t she see my Mont Blanc wallet that I nonchalantly placed on the table in plain sight for her to be impressed with? By now my success should have hit her like a mid morning coffee break but instead this neo hippie, Maya Angelou reading, Kensington shopping, righteous cause picketing social worker sat across from me questioning the measurement of success in the western world. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. I guess under a different light, one, such as herself, could argue that all I really am is an under achieving, I.Q. wasting, parents relying, excess wardrobe spending, trend spotting, club posing, commitment fearing, sleep lacking, cubical monkey. But nah, I don’t see it.

So I spend my weekdays injecting myself with ludicrous amounts of caffeine that I practically piss Columbian coffee beans. So I get up early everyday from less than 4 hours of sleep a night and highlight my mornings with staring endlessly at myself in the mirror while I dress myself in the latest in designer attire that I saw in last months issue of GQ while I was sitting on the toilet defecating. So I rush for the subway daily and find joy in stealing seats from the elderly and handicapped due to my obvious advantage in motor skills. You snooze, you lose grandma. So I suck dick all day, saying yes to any task my boss assigns me faster than Kunta Kinte on his first day on the job. My boss, who makes Carrot Top seem like Dave Chappelle, tells jokes on an hourly basis and there I am pseudo laughing my ass off constantly saying, “Good one sir”. So a big part of my job is being fake. So I workout five days a week to try to satisfy Calvin Klein’s definition of a human male specimen, believing underwear billboard ads to be an accurate mirror portrayal of an average North American male, flawless. So every chance I get I pump my lats, I push my pecs, or at least that’s what my personal trainer on a power trip screams at me while I workout with a perma-constipated look on my face while I validate my self with a false sense of self improvement. More muscles equals a better life right? That’s what sold me on an 16 week “Burn Fat-Build confidence” package put together by Arnold-esque trainer who’s neck is as visible as Rosie O'Donnell’s sex appeal. Who ever said self improvement was masturbation obviously didn’t know the joys of working out daily to a point past exhaustion and consuming nothing but lean chicken breast and protein shakes. Do I find substance in my life? Psshhhhh, obviously, duuh.

If that brief moment of self reflection wasn’t enough to convince her, here are some statistics:
• White collar workers are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than blue collar workers.
• A1960s study noted that dentists, attorneys and/or physicians had 2½ to 5½ times the overall suicide rate of other white-collar workers.
• A recent JADA report speculated that white collar personality traits emphasize control of emotional expression, compulsive attention to details, conscientiousness and deferral of gratification. All factors thought to have played an integral role with suicides.
• Dr. Herbert Hendin, a New York psychiatrist and medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, noted that "educated people have a higher suicide rate than the general population."
• In addition, he said, "the rate of men to women is 4 to 1. White men have a higher rate than non-whites and men over 65 have the highest rate."

Business men didn’t even make the top 10! WTF? Because there isn’t a month that goes by without some sad, salary dependant suit fresh out of a meeting about his “quarterly financial report” doesn’t throw himself in front of the on coming train. Ok I’ll admit, even with my oh so great and obviously successful lifestyle, there are days I’ve wanted to hang myself with the very designer tie I’m wearing but I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t want to. Why waste a perfectly good black $100 DKNY tie, blood stains. If I was to die I would want to be prepared, put my affairs in order. I mean, could you imagine dying at just any random day? What if it was a bad hair day, or worse yet a “dry cleaner day”? A day where all your prime gear is being dry cleaned. I could just imagine the headline, “Bay St. consultant found dead in cheap, out dated, unfitted, no name gray suit a fixated by pink Hilfiger tie. So embarrassing. Hilfiger? Who wears that these days? Pink? So last year…

My life meaningless? North America a shallow narcissistic consumerist state? In the words of Paris Hilton or which ever overly tanned blonde pop-culture “it” girl of the moment whose lives we praise and follow more attentively than our very own, “like whatever”….

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