Listen here ….
There is an old word to do with behaviour and it is called style. It was usually attached to people of social stature and then migrated as a monica to the moneyed nuveaux riche post industrial revolution. Class was another such adjectival noun that in the first instance defined the social, and thereby financial/political devide, strata and then as a quality based upon uplifting values. They are linked, Style and Class but in our egalitarian Australia I put it to you that Style now usurps Class and even that has been stolen and refers to our fashionistas. The point is there are some people you meet to whom you instinctively have a more than courteous attitude, they have that certain je ne sait quois than commands a little reverence, a predisposition to respect. Then there are those who don’t. This week I have met both.
Both have achieved a more than an average level of financial of financial success. One is so anti a broad spectrum of socio political issues you can imagine them in another time and another place of supporting some our most lethal political regimes and in todays currency kissing the coat tails of the wannabe Trump. The central ethic of this individual is ‘anti’. Anti Muslim, though try suggesting the word Racists and prepare your ears for a tirade of the weirdest collection of rationales. Anti Labour, anti Unions, anti Left and we had only been acquainted for the shortest of periods. The ‘Anti’ was a furnace of intellectual bile feeding a life and blaming the world for personal outcomes. People don’t work, , Unions kill enterprise, the smart car stays at home so the riffraff don’t point and laugh or cut him off so he drives a ute and loves the mateship of tradies nodding in appreciation when going off to work. The central anger, the I-am-better-cos-I-made-a-quid and people need to respect me was the Omega to the Alpha person I met. Female, of immigrant class stock, worked hard with her working class but highly admired husband who died too soon. His workforce loved him, would do anything willingly for him, never complained about meeting his tax liabilities, employed refugees of all persuasions. His and her values we noticed and admired. A Doggies supporter for ever, she became a ‘den-mother’ and is now the VP. She surmounted the pain of his loss and did it again when her own daughter died next to her on a plane trip from America from a heart attack caused by her diabetes. She had the spur to expand her philanthropy with support for finding a cure for the disease. She co-founded the push for girls to play footy in memory of her daughter’s passion to kick the Sherrin. In all the time I spent with her there was not one single reference to being anti anything or anyone. There was a calmness, a control and perhaps most of all a wisdom. She didn’t blame her God for her woes, she and her husband flourished their business because of recognising that their workers were people, able to make mistakes and take advantage but they didn’t out of respect.
Two different experiences of two individuals that could be classified as achievers. But when you look through the lens of Style and Class they are as opposed as Communism and Fascism, north pole to south pole. I have had more than my fair share of meeting Omegas in my life for they are in every walk of life, all political persuasions, every financial strata. But the Alpha, they are so rare. The ones that try to do something on the positive side of the social ledger and do not seek adoration or attention for their good deeds. Thinkers with heart and soul, some rich some poor; it doesn’t take wealth to earn respect, it takes wisdom and that is why there are the Cans and the Cants.
My grandfather drove trucks when he closed his business he set up a trust so all his employees’ children could get a private education. I was a beneficiary. I was an army brat in an era when the Indian Raj ethic was alive and well. My father became a General but he never forgot his father’s approach to his workers or his customers; respect and the promotion and search for the best in people. Army pay never made you rich so his philanthropy was not the gift of millions but the gift of help, of kindness to all peoples.
Such is life. Until the next time, this is Brodie Goozée.