Friday, March 22, 2013

Take the 'A' train to Elite-town

Hey!  I’m elite!  Who says I’m not elite?! 

I’m elite, I tell ya!  By definition.  And I don’t mean MerriamWebster’s middle-of-the-road, everybody-gets-it definition.  I’m talking about the big time, high falootin’, scientific, cultural definition.  You know - the one from American Enterprise Institution’s Fellow, Charles Murray.  That’s right. 

According to Mr. Murray, even someone like me can live in can “elitist bubble” if she cannot identify the NASCAR driver pictured in his quiz about the culture gap in the United States.  Those NASCAR guys all look the same to me (Sorry, Danica!); so that’s a step on the elitist staircase. 

Ever see “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”  Me neither!  Step two!  I’m ascending toward elite-osity!   

Step 3:  I don’t hang out with people who smoke (unless they’re my friends and the patch just doesn’t work for them).  It turns out being a non-smoker is elite! 

Step 4:  All my friends made good grades, or at least they could have if they hadn’t gone anti-establishment and failed deliberately to get back at “the man.” 

This is so exciting!  After all those anxious years of yearning to be in, only to be sadly, awkwardly, gawkily out.  Painful memories linger!  So I was jazzed to stumble across Mr. Murray and his quiz.  

His measure of one’s residence in the “elite bubble” encompasses 25 questions to help determine a quizzee’s status by examining her activities.  He does this rather than calculating her earnings as do more traditional gauges of social status or preeminent elite-ness.   

For example Murray wants to know if you ever worked in a job where a part of your body hurt at the end of the day.  Duh!  I was a high school principal!  My brain hurt constantly!  That’s a pretty important body part.  AND my feet hurt too!   

But oops.  Pain in the anatomy gets chalked up on the non-elite side of the ledger. 

Evidently, the upper crust doesn’t relate to physical pain from work…hmmm. 

But I never worked on a factory floor, so I have that goin’ for me on the elite bubble point scale.   

What’s this?  Uh oh.  I’ve been fishing in the last five years.  Darn it!  I used bait, too!  A worm on a hook!  Yikes.  You can take the Okie out of the state, but she’ll never shake that hankerin’ for catfish.  Catch ‘em and skin ‘em; fry ‘em up with hushpuppies; add a red beer!  Now we’re talkin’! 

No fancy schmancy flies.  Catch and release?!  What’s the point? 

Oh…Methinks I doth digress too much.  I’ve wandered afield from the posh confines to which I aspire to become accustomed. 

Returning to Mr. Murray’s questionnaire, he wants to know if you have a close friend who’s an evangelical Christian, or a close friend with whom you have strong and wide-ranging political disagreements.  

Do I have to count family?  

‘Cause there’s my crazy “Uncle Earl” (name changed to protect the guilty).  When he learned how I voted in the 2012 election he called me a “sympathizer.”  And the last time I went to church with his family, the sermon was entitled “Satan Wants You Dead.”  

Decidedly non-elite.  

I don’t like this stupid survey anymore.  

I scored 12.  Middle of the pack.  Foot in both worlds kind of a deal.  Neither mainstream American nor elite American.  

Oh well.  Doesn’t matter.  I can hang out with the whoopti dos.  I can fit in.  I can blend.  I even get a little cocky with my adroit schmoozing.  

But inevitably I expose my non-elite side by lifting my Diet Coke when everyone else is ready to tilt stems on their Pinot. 

When I’m at the other end of the spectrum, family picnics can get a little icy.  My cousins don’t like it when I correct their grammar.  I guess elite people know how to keep their mouths shut.  You don’t see them rolling their eyes when someone shows up with a baby stroller and a six-pack of Bud Lite. 

So to heck with the elite bubble!  I’m happy here in my Lake Woebegone bubble, where all the women are strong; all the men are good looking; and all the children are above average.  No one to look down on and no snob left behind.
That’s my kind of elite.