Home > News > I Live in Ward 3
116 views 5 min 0 Comment

I Live in Ward 3

- February 4, 2009

I live in Ward 3. Ward 3 is a very important place, in case you haven’t heard. So says David Brooks (who lives in puny little Montgomery County, MD):

bq. For those who don’t know, Ward Three is a section of Northwest Washington, D.C., where many Democratic staffers, regulators, journalists, lawyers, Obama aides and senior civil servants live. Thanks to recent and coming bailouts and interventions, the people in Ward Three run the banks and many major industries. Through this power, they get to insert themselves into the intricacies of upscale life, influencing when private jets can be flown, when friends can lend each other their limousines and at what golf resorts corporate learning retreats can be held.

Okay, so David Brooks doesn’t include “professors” in his list, but my wife is a lawyer and she works with banks sometimes, so clearly we are poised to insert ourselves into the intricacies of upscale life. Hey, John Thain! No Homestead for you!

bq. On any given Saturday, half the people in Ward Three are arranging panel discussions for the other half to participate in. They live in modest homes with recently renovated kitchens and Nordic Track machines crammed into the kids’ play areas downstairs (for some reason, people in Ward Three are only interested in toning the muscles in the lower halves of their bodies).

Well, I’m not scheduled for any panel discussions. Except at the upcoming MPSA meeting. But I don’t think that counts. And we don’t have a Nordic Track. But we do have a kitchen that was renovated in 2007! And we have a play area for the kid downstairs! And carrying the kid up and down the stairs has really toned my legs. Awesome! David Brooks really gets it.

bq. In the first place, many people in Ward Three suffer from Sublimated Liquidity Rage. As lawyers, TV producers and senior civil servants, they make decent salaries, but 60 percent of their disposable income goes to private school tuition and study abroad trips. They have little left over to spend on themselves, which generates deep and unacknowledged self-pity.

Hey, wait. David Brooks, are you making fun of Ward 3? Is this one of your tongue-in-cheek columns? Well, Ethan’s not in school yet, so I really don’t think this description applies. Ha ha! Take that! In any case, I’m sure I CAN DO WITHOUT THAT NORDIC TRACK I REALLY REALLY WANT SO THAT MY SON CAN HAVE A FUN TIME IN BARCELONA THANK YOU VERY MUCH MR. DAVID BROOKS.

bq. Second, they suffer from what has been called Status-Income Disequilibrium. At work they are flattered and feared. But they still have to go home and clean out the gutters because they can’t afford full-time household help.

“Flattered and feared”? DEFINITELY. Hey, Lee, why don’t you come clean my gutters this weekend? Oh, you’re busy? Eating cake? And I’m still untenured? Okay, no problem. I can totally clean those gutters. I mean, normally I wouldn’t climb up on a dangerously tall extension ladder just because of a few silly leaves, but — what’s that? Sorry, Lee. I’ll get out of your office now.

bq. Third, they suffer the status rivalries endemic to the upper-middle class. As law school grads, they resent B-school grads. As Washingtonians, they resent New Yorkers. As policy wonks, they resent people with good bone structure.

I’m sorry, Brooksy, you’re off the mark here. I didn’t graduate from law school. I’ve never lived in New York. And my bone structure, well, it’s fine. I don’t have razor-sharp cheekbones or anything. But that’s okay. I mean, I suppose if I had an MBA’s salary then I could fix that. But who really cares about being *that* good-looking? Certainly not me. No sir. (“Hello, Dr. Khalifeh?”)

bq. In short, people in Ward Three disdain three things: cleavage, hunting and dumb people who are richer than they are. Rich people have to learn to adapt to the new power structure if they hope to survive.

That’s right, rich people! Learn to adapt! Button your shirts and put down your guns. This is the new power structure! Ward 3 is calling the shots now, baby!

My reign starts just as soon as I get off this extension ladder.