Friday, September 13, 2013

The Guru Of Beverly Hills



(continued from Spy On Spy)

- Have you seen Freddy?
- Last night at Ralphs.
- His mother sent me to look for him. She's worried.
- That he'll give away all his money?
- He's not answering his phone.
- Probably avoiding calls of his friends asking to be paid back. I wrote him a message this morning.
- He borrows money from you?
- Yes. You too?
- Yes. He never pays back.
- And because you're camped out in a corner of his living room you can't insist.
- I'm trying to move out. How much does he owe you?
- Only a little. I've written stories arguing debts don't have to be repaid.
- Then why do you ask?
- Debts don't have to be paid between friends. I think I see Freddy now as an enemy.
- Why? He wants to help you.
- He's beginning to disgust me.
- Why?
- He's the model of vicious wealth.
- He's not vicious. Every day his mother gives him money, and every day he gives it away.
- What is his relation to the people he gives money to? The day I met him a couple months ago I asked him to sum up the wisdom he claimed to have achieved studying Jewish texts, and do you know what he said?
- What?
- He'd learned that the only people he should care about were his family.
- Then why does he continue to give away fifty or a hundred dollars everyday to strangers?
- Yes, Why? What is he up to? He goes from one desperate wanderer of the streets to another, gives a dollar, two dollars, five, and moves on. He is careful not to know them, not to establish obligation. There is no past and no future to the multitude of transactions he repeats all through the night. It is a perfect market economy, exchanges that are nothing but a succession of relations between enemies.
- But he's giving away money! What is he getting in exchange?
- A sense of power, of importance. He's getting people to listen to him lay down the rules of religion, only god is real, lust is an illusion, everything is lust. He gets distraction in his own battle against the illusion of lust, gets delay of his inevitable going to strip clubs with you and your other friends.
- But he really tries to help people.
- Paying a dollar or two each before he goes back to his million dollar Beverly Hills apartment to sleep through the day, rest for his next hard night's work giving away money and going to strip clubs.
- You'll never change him.
- I don't want to. I'm developing contempt for him. His money comes from the family business, a Hollywood tour bus operator driving thousands of tourists around L.A. Imagine an extension of the business where the buses take the new class of American super rich around to the haunts of the dispossessed and desperate, deboarding briefly at select corners so they can hand out dollar and five dollar bills, along with their few well chosen words of advice and encouragement, then reboarding the bus and on to the next corner. The future of our country.
- The people won't allow it.
- You won't allow it? Living in the corner of this guy's living room?
- It won't be long.
- Meanwhile, in Hollywood, where they used to sell movie star maps they've updated to selling maps marked with corner stops of the charity tours so the great American people can wait there to receive their hand outs.