Behind The Gates With The 1%
by Mike Penney
In this satirical memoir of how the 1% lives behind the gates that keep all “you people” out, a worker bee of the 99% is employed at a World Class Beach Resort in Hawaii. Daily he is charged with representing the Resort in interactions with the rich and happy 1% residents, and with responding to their personal wishes and desires in relation to the Beach Resort.
Initially, this 99%-er is flabbergasted by the world to which he has been permitted entry. In nearly all exchanges, from the often cutthroat business dealings with the Resort to the simple conversations and requests that seem so tangential to the 99% world, he’s forced to admit that he’s come up the rabbit hole into a plush and privileged paradise few have experienced. As the months pass, he begins to comprehend that the ideals and values taught as essential in the 99% worker bee world have no relevance in the world of the sublime and supreme one percent.
Behind the gates with the elite of the 1% – in the mega-mansions, on the five-star golf courses, or at the World Class Beach – there is never any fretting or hand wringing about global warming or climate change. Protestations about civil or women’s rights do not arise, nor are the beach resort residents concerned in the least by what is poverty or the minimum wage – except that the minimum wage is always too high. No, this world of leisure at a Hawaii World Class Beach Resort is as perfect as it gets. The uppermost upper crust here at the tippy-top of the pyramid have thrived and succeeded on competition in a rigidly hierarchal world of dominance and exploitation; behind the gates, they enjoy a welcome respite with those few of their kind.
As time goes by, it dawns on this common hive drone of the ninety-nine percent that a tremendous opportunity has befallen him in being permitted to tread in the shadows of the grand and glorious 1%. He reasons that even if merely a worker bee of the 99%, that shouldn’t deter him from a higher education and enlightenment by means of his association with the 1% rich and happy.
Studying the social behaviors of the gathered 1% in their natural habitat of the World Class Resort, this common drudge worker bee calculates he might prosper as he learns from the crème de la crème, and then applies the knowledge garnered in interactions with other working stiffs of his own stripe. He determines further that in observing and reflecting on how the 1% treat each other, as equals living behind the gates, there might more gems of wisdom to take outside to make his life better, so as to more appropriately treat others.
Eventually, he realizes, that although he obviously doesn’t have the money of the 1%, there was perhaps no reason he couldn’t become one of the de facto 1%– if he could unravel their secrets!
And so, with this personal Quest giving his life new meaning, a worker bee of the 99% passes for years among the rich and happy 1% in a World Class Resort, assimilating, appreciating, and ruminating on what was there for the taking.