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#92 - Equestrian

#92 – Equestrian

Equestrian
Price: Saddle sores/horsemeat scandals

If you are serious about being wealthy, one of life’s great pleasures is developing a sense of class that is far beyond that of the common man. This means enjoying activities like polo, croquet and collecting ascots. While nearly everyone has donned a cowboy hat and straddled a petting zoo pony or mounted a dude ranch work horse better named Gluestick than Silver, the truly wealthy do not consider these representative of a true equine aficionado. In fact, the rich consider anyone that wears blue jeans and a straw hat more likely to be proficient with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow than a saddle and a bridle. Instead, one simply must own a proper collection of riding boots, flared riding pants and a helmet reminiscent of Marvin the Martian, if Marvin owned a Bentley.

While a trusted steed may elicit images of John Wayne, the Lone Ranger or Clint Eastwood, rich people know that only and elite few can exhibit the grace and elegance of an equestrian rider. The majesty of rider taming a well-papered beast and becoming one as they gracefully vault over obstacles in a race against time is akin to watching a an Italian mechanic tune a classic Ferrari…while it is moving. Equestrian may at first blush appear a frivolous pastime but one must move beyond the literal interpretation and realize it is in fact a metaphor for success as many wealthy patrons believe they have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps overcoming humble beginnings as trust fund children who did not see a penny until they turned 21 or until they narrowly graduated from an Ivy League college at a campus littered with buildings named after their forefathers.

As always, the challenge is not how to mock the frivolities of the wealthy but to embrace them as a means to gallop into the inner circle. Naturally, as with other stuff rich people love, there is a vocabulary to learn. Understanding that the obstacles are called verticals or fences and that the horse and rider are called jumpers is table stakes, so the ability to discuss the finer points of the sport becomes critical. I recommend intimating a knowledge of dressage or perhaps the cultural importance of the fox hunt as light-hearted means to inspire your host to wax poetic on their thoughts about warmblood and thoroughbred breeding or their leaning towards Badminton versus Burghley as the pinnacle of success. Some may suggest that sincerity and genuine interest are keys to winning friends and gaining influence. Others believe that rich people are much more inclined to appreciate a sycophant that feigns interest rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue. Perhaps it is why horses make such great team mates.

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#67 - Honorary Degrees

#67 - Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees
Price: “Donations”

Honorary degrees are the academic equivalent of a blowjob after an expensive meal. In exchange for the celebrity and notoriety that a public visit brings to a university campus, the Dean will present framed parchment to the wealthy guest which is certainly more appropriate than dropping to their knees out of gratitude for the visit and the national media attention it brings. For the rich, honorary degrees represent bragging rights and provide the opportunity to showcase how far up the social ladder they have climbed.

Just as there is status and hierarchy associated with one’s alma mater, there is a pecking order among universities and their faculties which the wealthy instinctively know. This means that receiving an honorary doctorate in literature from Montana State University is a little like receiving the award for Miss Congeniality at the State Fair and doesn’t carry the same weight as an honorary doctorate of astrophysics from MIT. All the same, there are two schools of thought among the wealthy when amassing honorary accolades; accept only high quality, Ivy League honors or become an unapologetic degree whore. Naturally, if they are able to combine the two, they will have achieved the equivalent of walking on the moon.

Keep in mind, these pseudo-academic plaudits are an outstanding cornerstone for developing a relationship with the rich. Remember, rich people like to be doted upon so take advantage of their vanity. Compile a list of notable honorary recipients from impressive institutions then parlay this knowledge into a compliment regardless of how transparent your attempts at flattery are. For example, mention that Nelson Mandela, Al Gore and Quincy Jones have received honorary degrees so your rich friend is in good company. They will burst with pride at the comparisons and will be happy to engage in conversation. Importantly, do not under any circumstances ask about the size of donation they may have provided because despite the motto at Victoria University of Wellington, Sapientia magis auro desideranda, when it comes to honorary degrees, gold is actually preferable to wisdom!

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