How Much is Esteem Worth to You?

Bracelets MeThe boyfriend and I got into an interesting discussion the other night. He posed the question, “If you had to trade the esteem of everyone you will ever meet for an extraordinary amount of money, would you do it?” Naturally, I wanted some clarification before answering (because I’m a pain in the ass like that). I wanted to know the numbers: how much money? He picked a number: 100 billion dollars.

Now, that’s a lot of money.

My initial reaction was to agree to it. I don’t tend to get wrapped up in what strangers think of me, and I could do a hell of a lot of good with $100,000,000,000 (look at all those pretty zeros). I understand under the rules of this game that no one would ever sincerely thank me for the work done with that money, but it would still get done. Plus, I’m entirely serious when I say that living an isolated life on an island sounds like an exceptionally good plan. And I could do that with that kind of money.

It’s not like every person in the world would hate me—they just wouldn’t respect me. I don’t know that they necessarily respect me now, so really not having the respect of strangers and being ridiculously wealthy sounds like a better deal than not being respected and broke.

But in the end, I realized that I probably couldn’t take that deal. While I don’t worry about the respect of strangers (or people I don’t respect), I do want it from people close to me. I can’t imagine how it would feel to lose the respect of my parents. I think that would be devastating. That kind of isolation is something I don’t think I could handle.

While I’m sure friends question my choices, I believe, fundamentally, that I have their respect. Similarly, I’ve been lucky enough to have been well-regarded by partners. Having a boyfriend who didn’t respect me would be an impossible situation. I wouldn’t enter into that arrangement, but to be already involved with someone and lose their respect? To never be able to get it back? In my present situation, I think it would be crushing.

Alas, it turns out that to lose the esteem of those close to me (and never be well-regarded in the future by anyone) is a price I’m unwilling to pay. It’s a shame, too, because I really think I could spend $100,000,000,000 wisely and with great aplomb.

How about you? Could you take the money knowing that you would be sneered at for the rest of your life? And if so, would you send me some?

3 comments on “How Much is Esteem Worth to You?”

  1. Dee Murray

    Well, the Grammar Geek in me reads his question to mean anyone IN THE FUTURE that you Will Ever Meet, negating those that you already know. If disecting the sentence so precisely in this way, I think that perhaps I could take the money, becuase I already know everyone I want to know. 🙂 If this question means instant pariah in totality, then no, of course not. It is unrealistic to think that everyone one meets should like one, however, to not have the respect of ANYONE would be a crushing blow. And at the end of one’s days, you will have a magnificently ostentatious funeral…with no one in attendance. Nope. I wouldn’t sleep with Robert Redford for a million bucks (and yep, I’ve just dated myself!) 🙂

  2. KateDating

    No, he was quite draconian in his set-up. No esteem from anyone, ever– past, present or future. Evil.

  3. Dee Murray

    Wow!! LOL! New Love hurts my head!! We have conversations like “How is it possible that Tickle got a spin off show?” or “How can American Idol be starting it’s 17th season if it’s been on for only 12 years?” or if “Here Comes Honey BooBoo” is on The Learning Channel, what are we supposed to be learning?” and most importantly, “Why did Ginger pack so much for only a three-hour tour??”

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