The Young and Disenchanted

Posts Tagged ‘Money

It’s that time in April when jaded and exhausted college seniors are slowly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The sun is (generally) shining, we’re more or less certain of our future plans (more the latter than the former, to be fair) and there are tons of activities planned for the next month or so intended to strengthen our bonds of friendship and fill us with nostalgia for our days as wide-eyed and optimistic freshmen drunk off the joy of living in New York City (and by that, I mean drunk off free Natty Light at frat parties). On this list which defines the life of a graduating senior, the “future plans” segment has become more and more prominent in conversations on my campus. It’s kind of like the “What were your SAT scores/what are you majoring in” of our first year (ugh, I HATED those questions). Suddenly folks you haven’t spoken to since a couple of awkward encounters during sophomore year in a dorm elevator are curious about what you’ve been doing for the past four years and how you plan to apply the skills you have supposedly gained in the “real world.” Now, being the disenchanted young woman that I am, I tend to view these questions when fielded by anyone I don’t consider a close friend avec – how do you say? – le side-eye. My cynicism seems somewhat justified by a recent document I was made privy to in which, essentially, my classmates entered information about their post-graduation contact details, summer plans, starting salary, potential spousal requirements… you know, the standard things one frets about in the “real world.” Personally, I believe that if you want to know what I’m doing after graduation, we should be good enough friends that I’ve been telling you about my plans in person since last summer, not entering these myriad details into a form as a means of keeping in touch. Perhaps I’m just being idealistic, but this somewhat depersonalised approach makes me uncomfortable.

This is not to say that such an activity is entirely driven by base motives: if one has a large social circle, perhaps it’s easier to have everyone’s information in one easily-accessible place as opposed to struggling with lingering memories of half-forgotten conversations a year later. However, I think more people are concerned with the “networking” aspect of such an enterprise – knowing where your classmates will be working may help you to make connections and plan your ascent up the corporate ladder accordingly. I’m sure anyone reading this must be thinking: “Um, no shit, Sherlock – what the fuck else did you think you were going to college for?” Well, pardon me for my unconventional thought, but I had hoped that I would leave college with an expanded mind and drive to change the world. I guess I fucked up… which is why I don’t have a job with Merrill Lynch. Epic fail.

Or so it would seem. You see, there is an underlying assumption on this dear campus of mine that pretty much everyone wants to follow the same path to fame and glory: that all of us would like a penthouse in Manhattan, a red Ferrari (personally I prefer a black Mustang) and a name – you know, that recognition amongst an elite group of people that you are the unequivocal shit, an outlier, da best (shout out to Drake). After all, this is what the American dream was built on (although back in the day, this was probably closer to a townhouse in Chicago, a tricked-out horse and buggy and a shiny plaque at the Episcopalian church down the road with your surname on it). However, mes petits chou-fleurs, not all of us had the good fortune to be born and raised in this wonderful country known as the USA. Some of us who are attending college here were raised in the hot and sweaty tropics, deep in the heart of darkness, as far away from the shining citadel as you can get. Where I come from, it is a precious few of us who have the luxury of being individuals in the sense that your personal success reflects back on you and you alone. Oh, no – if I am successful (which the meaning of my name promises me I shall be), it is a success for my family, my village, my tribe and each and every Nigerian boy and girl who hopes to one day go to America and also become a success. In the words of Lagbaja, it’s always “we before me.” Sure I can go ahead and get that Mustang, but I had better make sure my mother isn’t struggling through the streets of Lagos in a broken-down Kia before I drive off the lot. Before I do well for my own sake, I have to be aware of the duties that I have to fulfil to those who came before me and those who will come after (i.e. the ungrateful brats adorable offspring I shall one day give birth to).  Of course I want to be successful, but where I come from one’s individual achievements aren’t just about you and how you compare to others: it’s also about improving the conditions of those who aren’t as fortunate as you are and helping those who helped you get where you are, no matter how indirectly.

Now I realise that this is somewhat tangential to my original train of thought, but one thing that has struck me in my four years of college is the extent to which the mantra of “American exceptionalism” has shaped the atmosphere on my campus. There’s a certain “we’re the shit (up in this bitch)” swagger that I guess I’m supposed to adopt because of the fact that I’m going to hold a diploma with this university’s name on it and because I got the chance to rub shoulders and share dining hall meals with the future leaders of tomorrow (or some other such eulogistic language that may be bestowed on us at graduation). And that’s wonderful – after all, this is the country that brought us the car, modern democracy and the atomic bomb. All my country has apparently done is introduced the term “419” into popular lexicon. However, I worry that all of this individualism is breeding – again, what words to pick? – self-obsessed twat-heads who only see other people as stepping-stones to a bigger house and a brand new iPad. This is not to say that all Americans in any way, shape or form are all like this, or that my country is full of people who care about each other and who want to lead us down a path of peace, prosperity and progress – there’s a whole rack of military thieves who disprove that claim time and time again. But even they hook up their brother’s child, their grandmother’s maid and their old school buddy in the name of family and community. And those connections are, for me, far more important than the ones that make me money. It is important to me that I remain humble about my achievements and take nothing for granted because, in the end, I’m not that special, and there is so much in the world that is bigger than me and my egotistical existence.

The depiction of rural Sudanese life in Tayeb Salih’s novel Season of Migration to the North always underlines this for me: despite the foreign education that the narrator receives and the turmoil that the Western world has brought him, the caravan of life continues to go on regardless of his angsty musings. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, but as long as I’m able to build meaningful relationships with the people who are taking this ride with me, I’m actually pretty okay with being average i.e. realising that I’ll never be the CEO of a company (although I will not be telling my parents that those are not my future plans – trust and believe). The people I admire the most are always the ones that are seemingly simple, who don’t treasure outward appearances but rather possess the kind of self-knowledge that would make even this last stressful semester of college easy to bear, and who recognise that it’s not the job you have or the money you make that determine your real legacy.

P.S. I was originally going to go with Erykah for this post, but then this Mya joint randomly popped into my head… damn, memories. Shout out to Sisqo.


“Get Money”

So, the other day I was watching “Boiler Room,” a movie about shady stockbrokers who sell people shares that don’t exist. In the current climate, that story sounds like a Madoff scheme. A quote from the movie boiler room got me and my friends pretty excited. The quote went like this:

“They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby. Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.”

I am a lover of money. Who isn’t? If you are not, something is wrong with you. I digress. As a young lover of money you are definitely going to see kids with the latest cars who travel all over the world first class, who call Donald Trump Uncle Donnie and all that good (or not so good) stuff: enter the world of the Trust Fund Baby (TFB). While we’re trying to get money like the 50 Cent song says, they’ve got it, spent it, played with it and are bored of it.

Who is the TFB? We often have a love/hate relationship with them. On one side, the media paints the picture of a spoiled brat who has everything that the masses envy, and on the other side (weighing two thousand pounds and in red trunks) is the image of the kid who has all this money but is sad on the inside, and therefore does coke and all sorts of drugs to get the illusion of the happiness that money does not bring.

Because unhappiness is when you can say, “Ooh I’m sad because my dad bought me a Mercedes instead of a Maybach.”

Once again I’ll reiterate: don’t that sound like some crap spewed by some Freudian misfit who thinks everything is linked to a crappy childhood? That’s just my opinion. If you disagree, write yours below.

This is what I think of the TFB:

1) They are the kids at every party in college. They have fun, and all they need to do is get a passing grade to claim their wealth (A certain Yale graduate with the middle initial W comes to mind). It doesn’t matter if it is a frat party or a party they host at a club. They buy people drinks and come with a large entourage, even though everyone wonders how such an asshole has so many friends. I say this with no saltiness implied: some TFBs are indeed very nice people, but those are mostly the ones who aren’t too ostentatious. These are the kids that also think up of ideas like an all-naked party or a swingers party in college when clearly they could get into a lot of trouble if found out. No worries for them though: Daddy will pay for a new building to smooth things over with the administration.

2) The really really wealthy TFBs try to keep it on the down low. Yes, they might hang out with regular kids, but we all know that some of these kids might have their own islands and stuff. Believe me, they are purposefully trying to sell themselves short. This comes with the Freudian hullabaloo I was talking about earlier: the exceedingly wealthy kid who was wealthy from a younger age looking for genuine friends and validation. But then again, I might be making gross generalizations. Maybe the wealthiest dude at your school has the Rolex on, rides a big ass car with 32 inch rims that rotate counterclockwise and the sweet ass DVD players on the seats.

3) In most cases they have no comprehension of struggle and can have their parents bail them out of anything. This point though applies to any spoilt brat out there. In some sense, the Trust Fund Baby is dependent and independent at the same time: independent because they got all this money and they can experiment with ideas and can use their money and influence to get what they want, but dependent because this money is not theirs.

From my experience, I noticed that my parents interfered in my life a lot less when I started doing some work at school and didn’t ask them for money that much. Even though the difference was minimal, I was able to do what I wanted: take trips to Vegas if I wanted to without asking anyone because it was my money. In this sense, the TFB is dependent on the source of money because they do not – or cannot – typically do this.

So what gives me the right to write about the TFB when from all indications I am not one? Well, there is the right to free speech. AND I am of the inclination that my hustle as a young and upcoming person is for the sole purpose that my kids become TFBs in the future and have that dynastic wealth. Of course, many of my opinions are somewhat stereotypical, but every stereotype has an element of truth to it. You are partly a product of nurture. Some TFBs vary from this general outline: the above discussion doesn’t completely apply to them.

In my mind’s eye, the Trust Fund Baby is invincible. For all intents and purposes, I will say that for the young and disenchanted, money DOES buy happiness and if it is the root of evil, we all like evil and are naughty so its nothing but a g thang.

I am trying to get money and you know you are too.

Since I tried so hard to embed the youtube video to the 50 song but couldn’t, I will put the link. Not that I am a 50 cent fan – I think he is a schmuck and should have his minoris (balls) cut off. Hip Hop Murderer!

Here is the link:


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June 2018
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