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Class: Inherited or Earned?

15 October 2012, 08:08

As someone who has standards, I have at times been one that discriminated in some ways on a level of class. I have always been fascinated by the way in which some neighborhoods are well-kept and others are seemingly unmaintained. I myself don’t claim to be from the top level of human breeding, although I don’t look down on my origins. I have certain points to my character that I am completely happy with, and some that I am somewhat dissatisfied with, but all in all I feel that I command a level of respect from those that have dealt with me, be it in my personal relationships or in business. I do also realize that there will always be those that do not like me, and I really have little feeling for those people.

And so it came to pass that I became very close with somebody that was a stickler for class, saying that she would be fine in any situation because she had access to trust-funds and all sorts of family investment income.  This is all great to know, but not of any importance in my “perfect world” plan where things work themselves out. It was often mentioned that class cannot be bought, and that certain people belonged in their class designations by birth or inheritance, where others actually had earned their status. Well, after today I may just have to stand up to the next person that claims these points to be fact. My question is this… if you have earned you claim to be in a high class, does that not mean that you have bought it? And if you inherited it, what stops you from losing it?

There is a saying in Afrikaans that goes “meng jou met die semels en die varke vreet jou op”. Today I am convinced that this is the more accurate statement when commenting on class. Somehow all that wealth that had been amassed out of hard work and sensible investment, and passed on through inheritance, had gone to the head of the very person that claimed to have worked at getting herself recognized as a hard worker and a responsible debt-free member of the community, and she had mixed her good upbringing with some lower-class people, getting mentally buried in weird ways of dealing with conflict and pain.

So when a minor dispute turned nasty, the true colours that emerged were those of the pig-fodder of the past, attacking every level of inter-personal confidence, and even going so far as to expose private communication from the same pig-fodder, as some form of reference point for a misguided definition of what is acceptable. No holds barred, the pigs consumed that poor being, who had until that point still held a position of value in my small grouping of respectable friends. When you have given all you can give, to get repaid with a little dignity would not be too much to ask. To be hit below the belt by the force of the giant pig charging between your legs might just be a little extreme, but that is the approach that comes from association with pigs.

Behind the veil of my memory, the fairytale that existed had already been corrupted by depressed ogres, and has now wilted into its grave, sadly (or thankfully) never to emerge again. A little restraint is all that was required to maintain some dignity and keep some hope, but I guess that would have been out of her class.

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