Rich vs. wealthy


By Jamil Matar
In one of his live HBO performances, American comedian Chris Rock explained the difference between being rich and being wealthy. He claimed that wealth is passed down from one generation to the other, while being rich can turn an entire family penniless if one son or daughter gets hooked on crack. He further claimed that if Bill Gates woke up one morning and was informed by his CFO that he was worth as much as Oprah Winfrey was, he would shout, “shoot, I’m broke”, and he would promptly jump off the Empire State building.
Last week, I had no topic to develop, and since I am not a journalist nor a criminalist, I chose not to comment on the recent hoist of the Western Union office on Queen Victoria Avenue, or the incident where the businessperson on Lover’s Lane forgot to lock the shutters of his store and was cleaned out overnight.
One PUP radio personality, however, was not so restrained, and claimed that people did these things because they were desperate and wanted to live comfortably. In trying to justify his ridiculous comment, he went on to further comment that the Briceños and the Cuellos are not rich; they are just “comfortable”. As Albert Einstein once said, everything in life is relative. As a born Orangewalkeño, I can confidently make this observation; if they so wish, any of the Cuello brothers can have you pick out any vehicle by the park and buy it for you without this affecting his “comfort” zone one iota. Relative to me, that is being “rich”; I cannot even buy a blinking bike right now.
I told you that story so I could tell you this one. The Friday prior to our Pan American holiday, I went to the One-Stop Convenience Store to pay my cable and internet. I usually use my local credit card to pay this bill and by the end of the month when my pensioned customers clear me, I clear my bill. This time, however, the card read, “Do not honor transaction”. Since bad luck and trouble always come in pairs, I worried all weekend about what could be wrong with my account at “Our country, your bank”. I was anxious about going to see them Tuesday so I delayed my visit until Wednesday. I have to note this down; the courteous and efficient customer service personnel at our Belize Bank Branch here in OWT instantly assuaged all my worries. It seems there was a systems glitch last week, which has been addressed, and my account was clear and up-to-date, praise God!
In closing, let me share one more comment. I just got news this morning that one of my two surviving uncles is very ill. The last time I saw him, Uncle John offered me some advice concerning the UDP of which he is a staunch supporter. He said, “Jun, I may not be Mr. Barrow’s No. 1 fan, but I recognize that he is the starch that is holding this UDP fabric upright. After he retires, if those two leadership contenders do not sit around a bargaining table and work out an arrangement between them, our Party will go to the gutters and the PUP will return to power. They will steal all that is left in Belize that is not bolted down”. My uncle may not have any of the alphabets behind his name, but I consider him a wise man. Let us think about what he said. Take care.