In the “Mansion” section of last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, the cover story described 400 feet of waterfront property in Miami listed for a modest $150 million. The two houses on the property total about 25,000 square feet. Their architectural idiosyncrasies alone could almost justify the asking price. The stories that can be told about each house seal the deal.
Or do they?
The houses–and, frankly, all their owners, past and present–represent extravagance as a way of being. “It’s marvelous to be rich,” one of the former owners, Peggy Hopkins Joyce said. One can imagine her saying it with a sweet sigh as she put another smear of patè on a cracker, diamond tennis bracelet dangling from her wrist. She was shamelessly, joyously, magnificently wealthy. She was not the sort of person who would feel guilty for wearing a floor-length mink coat, or being chauffered through the slums on her way to a gallery opening.
I’m curious: how does your generation view wealth? Do many of you aspire to be as wealthy as Adrienne Arsht or Peggy Hopkins Joyce? Do you view wealth with suspicion? See it as a mere by-product of doing the things you love? Is there such a thing as being too rich? Doesn’t it beat the heck out of being too poor?
If not, remember: the fund for the Thomas Easterling Endowed Chair for the Humanities at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science eagerly awaits your tax-deductible contribution.