Super #SJW Man Chapter 11
SUPER #SJW MAN GOES BACK TO BEING MARSHALL B. RICH, III
[These Super #SJW Man posts are chapters from a book originally published in 2019. For the table of contents and introduction, click here. Previous Entry: Chapter 10, in which Team Woke Goes up in Flames]
To all appearances, Super #SJW Man had suffered a psychotic break. In reality, his nervous breakdown was the first step in his recovery from youthful idealism.
When he checked into Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, he insisted that his proper name really was “Super #SJW Man,” but by his second day in the psych ward, he had started calling himself “Marshall” again. After all, where had being an ultra-woke superhero gotten him, except into unimaginable embarrassment and trouble?
After he had been hospitalized for two weeks, his family brought him back to Alabama and placed him in a very expensive residential treatment center, where he continued his recovery for the next three months.
His treatment was very effective. A combination of psychiatric drugs and intensive therapy helped him to realize how foolish he had been.
His visits with his family became friendlier and friendlier, and before long, he was avidly reading Bloomberg Markets and The Wall Street Journal and beginning to take an interest in his family’s investments.
Finally, the day came for him to go home. His father came alone to pick him up, driving his shiny, new Audi R8 Spyder, sporting an “I’m Still with Her” bumper sticker to let everyone know his disdain for Trump and, more importantly, his contempt for the proles of his state who had voted for Trump in the last election.
Marshall was watching Mad Money on one of the oversized televisions in the lobby, when he spotted his father through the window. As his dad walked through the front door, Marshall rose joyously to greet him. They embraced, and Marshall’s father began picking up his son’s bags to take them to the car.
Marshall grimaced, shook his head, and said, “Please don’t. Let me get one of the porters to get these. I don’t want you to hurt your back.”
Marshall’s father nodded and set down the bags. Marshall stepped over to the receptionist and said, firmly, “Hey Lisa, call Stan and have him come get these bags for us. Thanks!”
The receptionist nodded and picked up the phone to call the porter.
A moment later, Stan, the elderly porter, hobbled towards them. Stan had dark, wrinkled skin and shock white hair. His face was deeply lined with age, and his thin body looked frail and stooped. Despite his sickly appearance, he wore a beaming smile and affected a radiant mood.
“Hi there, Mister Marshall,” said Stan, with a polite nod. Then, turning to Marshall’s father, Stan bowed slightly and said, “Good morning, sir, my name is Stan.”
“Hi, Stan, I’m Marshall’s father.”
Marshall’s father was ordinarily given to showing Southern charm and hospitality and would usually greet people warmly and offer to shake their hands. However, when dealing with people like porters, he never initiated a handshake. He wasn’t aware that he did this, and if anyone had pointed this habitual contempt and snobbery out to him, he would have sincerely denied it.
Stan, for his part, intuitively understood the unwritten rule that as a porter – and especially as a black porter – it was never appropriate for him to initiate a handshake with a man of Mr. Rich’s standing.
Stan smiled graciously and said, “Pleasure to meet you, sir.” He picked up the bags and followed the two men outside.
After Stan heaved the bags into the Audi’s small trunk and carefully nestled them inside, Marshall’s dad held out a $5 bill and said, “Thanks for your help, Stan.”
Stan bowed obsequiously and replied, “Thank you, sirs! Hope you both have a wonderful day.”
Marshall and his father got into the car. Gesturing towards Stan, who was hobbling back inside, Marshall’s father said, “That work ethic is getting harder to find. Used to be, people would work for you and just do their job with professionalism and a smile. Now, everybody wants to complain all the time and get special treatment. It’s so hard to find good workers these days.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” replied Marshall.
His father’s expression turned suddenly serious, as he said, “No rush – I know you’re still recovering, and I don’t want to rush you into anything before your ready – but have you thought about what your plans are?”
Marshall turned to face his father and replied, “I’m thinking that I want to take a more active role with my investments.”
His dad nodded and exclaimed “That’s good!”
Marshall turned his face forward and scratched his chin. “I’m thinking about pursuing an M.B.A.,” he added. “Maybe from Pennsylvania. Maybe from Harvard. Maybe even from Alabama.”
“I really enjoyed my M.B.A. program at Alabama,” his father replied. “I believe it has put me in good stead. But in today’s global economy, maybe you would benefit from going to an Ivy League business school. You know, if the United States ever loses its standing in the world, it’ll be good to have a global network. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your portfolio today means having nest eggs throughout the world, so if the U.S.A. starts to sink, we got plenty of other places we can go. We don’t want to tie our fortunes to any one country.”
“I think you’re right,” agreed Marshall. “I registered to take the G.M.A.T. in six weeks.”
“Do you need an updated diagnosis to get extra time in the test, or can you use the same one you had when you took the S.A.T?”
“I’m good,” replied Marshall. “I already got special accommodations set up for when I take the test.”
His father smiled. “Good boy! It’s getting harder and harder to stay on top in this world. We have to use all the shortcuts and loopholes our money can buy.”
“Yeah,” murmured Marshall, with a look of acceptance on his face. “We got to stay on top.”
“I assume you got a tutor also?”
Marshall nodded. “Yep, got a tutor lined up.”
His father’s smile widened. He glanced over at Marshall and winked. “Looks like you’re back and better than ever, son!”
“Yep!” replied Marshall, in a cheerful tone. “Back and better than ever!”
His father paused and patted him on the shoulder. He took a deep breath and, in a measured tone, said, “Son, about your political activism – I understand wanting to change the world. I worked for the McGovern campaign back in ’72. But you have to be realistic. The world is the way it is. People are the way they are. There’s only so much you can do. You work pragmatically, within the establishment, to change the world a little at a time. Bill Clinton understood that, and he got a lot accomplished. Barack Obama understood that, and he got a lot done. George McGovern did not understand that, and he never even made it to the White House. You understand what I’m saying?”
Marshall nodded. “Yeah, I get it now.”
[Up Next: Chapter 12, in which Marshall B. Rich, III Lives Happily Ever After. Or return to the Table of Contents.]
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