Shark Tank – Make Enough Money to Act Like an Asshole

           So I’m at the gym enjoying the rowing machine.  Shark Tank is on and I’m drawn to the show, squinting at the closed captioned dialogue.  I’m interested in the inventions but more fascinated by the sharks.  They are a bunch of assholes who think money makes them somehow better or smarter. 040116Sharks

            I don’t know the professional background of any of the sharks outside of Mark Cuban.  I like him and he’s respectful for the most part. I assume they have all conquered some part of the business world and made major bucks to be on the show.  I don’t assume they are all intelligent or deserving.  They seem to think they are entitled and free to act however they like.  More annoying is they seem to think they are leaders.  Mark Cuban is the only one I put in a leadership category because he blazed his own trail but it’s my opinion, I can have it.  My bank account isn’t large enough to convince you to follow my lead.

My economic ignorance is evident.  But the idea that the size of a bank account defines a leader is preposterous.  Money is not even real anymore.  The monetary system is no longer based on gold.  So money isn’t real to me other than it’s something I need, everyone needs, to survive.  It’s our wonderful exchange system: I pay money (cotton fiber bills backed by nothing real) for goods (food, furniture, clothing) and services (A/C repair, cell phone, priority mail) that without, I cannot otherwise create in my life.  I’m using something synthetic to buy things I need to survive such as food and medical care.  I’m paying nothing for something yet I never have enough nothing!

            It bothers me that a billionaire can hire laborers to build his house without being humbled by the fact that he is incapable of building his own house.  Instead, he is seen as the one with power because he can pay people who know how to build a house to build not only a house but a mansion.  There is an imbalance in the system. 040116Sharks1

            The recent election circus is another example of false attribution of leadership skills based on financial status.  Donald Trump is not a leader nor has he proven to be anything but a moron.  His dad gave him a million dollars so he’s been comfortable for a long time.  What skills does he have?  Based on his comments and the ignorance therein, I don’t see any skills or dignity; I can’t stand to watch him or listen to him.  He is his bank balance which is really sad.  People are so impressed that he can pay for his own campaign.  Can he fix his car, teach a class and empathize or even relate to people as equals?  Most people see him as separate because few people are in the same financial zip code as Trump.  If we were tribal we’d separate from him because he has no interest in anything but his own interest, he is a bully i.e. anti-community and he offers nothing but money to the situation.  If we were tribal, money wouldn’t matter.  I’m going tribal.  040116Sharks3<—- This is me.

            On Shark Tank, one of the sharks told an inventor, who was not only shot down but insulted by all, that he’d be wise not to criticize those he’s asking for money.  Why can’t he retaliate if he feels attacked?  Because he’s not rich enough and the sharks have more money?  Yes, the inventor asked for money, that’s the premise of the show, but he didn’t ask to be belittled and insulted.  He didn’t start out cocky or disrespectful and he really didn’t end disrespectful.  He basically expressed that the sharks couldn’t see the promise in his project.  He apparently wasn’t rich enough to say such a thing.

The message is that the sharks insults are valid because they can pull one hundred dollar bills from their wallets. Who cares?  I have a lot of Monopoly money that I can show you.

Money has given so many people a false sense of power and most of these people are delusional.  And why does this bravado lead them to bully?   Because they have nothing outside of their bank accounts?

I think of these song lyrics when I hear about these fools who have too much money and use their financial security to support their personal insecurity:

“Sorry is the fool who trades his love for high rise rent, thinks he’ll get the girl he’ll only get the mechanic.”

“Counts his money every morning, the only thing that makes him horny, locked in a giant house that’s alarming, the town’s folk they all laugh.”

“He’s lying dead clutching benjamins, never put the money down, he’s stiffening

We’re all whistling, a man we’ll soon forget.”

Soon Forget by Pearl Jam

            It’s not to say I don’t want money.  Everyone wants money.  It promises comfort and luxury and represents success and achievement.  But it’s a tool, nothing more.  We shouldn’t be able to pay people for their dignity; it shouldn’t excuse our racism or extreme and violent behavior; it shouldn’t protect us from the idea that we are part of a system, not better or above it.  We should all be accountable if we act like assholes and leadership skills should not be confused with bank balance.  The sharks gain ratings and Donald Trump, somehow, gains followers. I wish this is where the imbalance from bank balance stopped.

“…she knew perfectly well that upper class children were not magically protected just because they were somehow born safer, with hardier metabolisms and charmed genes.” “…superficially it often looked true.  There was something special about the aristocratic children of those families: their hair seemed to stay in place, their skin did not break out. Perhaps they did not appear to be under any stress because there was nothing they wanted.”

John Irving – The World According to Garp

            Is that was drives people with money to act without boundaries?  They have everything and want nothing?  It seems if this was so, they would enjoy and express peace and harmony, like a Buddha who returned to his wealth.  And I know not everyone with a ton of money lives outside of reality, acting like a maniac.  But too many do and too many not rich people not only accept it but like this behavior!  “Oh, it’s little Donnie, he’s acting up again.  But he’s so rich and he makes me laugh.”  Applause.



           Where is the laugh track?  It’s not funny, however.  It’s a bit sad.  The protective shield money creates for criminals and idiots isn’t new, it’s so old it makes me sick.  Aren’t we beyond this?  The sharks on Shark Tank would be more impressive if they responded to all contestants with grace and respect, proving that they are indeed leaders who know how to be kind.  Hey, bald shark guy who looks like a weasel – I mean Kevin O’Leary (I had to look him up?). Keep your money, simply engage in some kindness.

Who’d want his money anyhow?  I’d never let him have a piece of my dream or put his name on my product.  Not ever.  I wouldn’t want my success associated with his behavior or image.   As Happy Gilmore says, “I’d have to kick my own ass” in that scenario.

I’m tired of Shark Tank and Trump and the collective assumption that bank balance has anything to do with integrity, leadership or intelligence.  Luckily, I live in a time and place where I can make my own money and speak my own mind without listening to false leaders while standing in awe of their financial glory.  I can close my eyes when I’m on the rowing machine during Shark Tank.


Jeri Schott

I'm an unpublished writer.

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I’m an unpublished writer.

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