Friends in low places

I remember when ice sculptures were a sign of class. Before they became luges for sickly sweet drinks drunk by Pi Phis and Thetas.

And when galas were grand. Before they became the bastion of lawyers and accountants.

When you are young, you don’t see the ugly. Just the gleam as it shines off the polished brass.

When did these things become charades for the vulgar and the tepid? At what age do children leave behind curiosity and begin to enjoy warm Chardonnay in a plastic cup and an 80’s cover band? Cummerbunds and bugle beads. Lit up limousines and a photo booth?

I can’t love the cold chaos we’ve plunged into. But I don’t mind the respite from the unending cycle of mediocre wealth signaling the upper middle class indulge in. How the hallowed halls of hoteliers in every mid-sized city must reek of mothballs these days. Stale rooms with dividers tucked away. Used in daytime for continuing professional education. Used at night for continuing professional charitizing.

Christmas cards of the beautiful wife and family. Blonde and blue-eyed. Everything you were promised for going to that expensive school you don’t call by name to strangers, lest you seem boastful. Gawdy Art Deco engagement rings you bought retail, meant to symbolize unending love, but really to make the other girls jealous.

How do you one-up the Joneses in a pandemic, I wonder? They must be writhing with pent up needs left unmet. Virtue signaling while secretly wishing they could be on a ski slope somewhere, taking a selfie.

Classy is my least favorite word.

Oh Tucson, how I don’t miss you.

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