I was fifteen at the time, working out at The Weight Room, a health club in Hayward, California, that flourished in the 1970s. Oakland Raiders defense lineman John Matuszak and linebacker Phil Villapiano sometimes trained with me. On that afternoon, I was on the bench press with an erudite power lifter, a 300-pound man in his late twenties, long scraggly hair, thick unkempt beard, a pallor so extreme he seemed to spend most of his time in a cave. As I told him my bodybuilding goals, which included opening a gym in the Bahamas after I won Mr. Universe, he sat on the bench press and stared at me like I was a pathetic fool. He then told me to start saving my money and to learn about real estate. And then before reclining on the bench and repping 400 pounds off his saggy power lifter pecs, he scowled at me and said, "There are only two kinds of people in the world, homeowners and renters. Without a house, you don't have shit."
I was reminded of his words recently when several neighbors of mine were outside my house and a black and white kitten ran toward my driveway. "Whose cat is that?" I asked and one of my neighbors said in a loud voice that the kitten belongs to the "renters" across the street. Her tone suggested that these non-homeowning neighbors were of a cut of fabric of lower quality than those of us who stood on my driveway, for we were obviously smart people who had prioritized our resources in such a way that gave evidence to our superior smarts and values. And to reinforce our superiority over the renters, it is they who clutter are once pristine street with their half dozen SUVs and oversized trucks and to add to our misery these renters think it tasteful to adorn their gas-guzzling behemoths with 22-inch chrome wheels.
So I have to confess part of me does have contempt for these "renters," not because they don't own a home, but because they have bad taste.
Perhaps the two types of people in this world are those who embrace chrome gaucherie and those who don't.