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Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

Money is the root of all evil in our town. Needless to say, we have deep roots. Money corrupts. It makes people act repulsively. It makes people smug and feel superior. Basically, it makes people act like jerks.

And sometimes money has the same effect on people who have plenty of it, too. You read that right. Money doesn’t only debase people who have it. In fact, in Aspen, I bet more people without big money are negatively influenced by it.

For every pompous jerk with money who jets into town acting like he owns it because he has $20 million invested in property here, there are several bitter working stiffs who also act like they own the town because they have ______ (fill in the blank) years of their life invested here. None is satisfied with what they have here. Each is possessed by an insatiable sense of entitlement. And isn’t that the most unattractive character flaw of all, for anyone?

We don’t need to go into detail here about the myriad problems showy rich people cause in Aspen. What I want to discuss today are all those who seemingly live to complain about the evils of driving Range Rovers and owning but not living in monster homes (not “mansions,” mind you, because this word doesn’t connote enough malice).

We have a nickname for the folks who come to town with the primary goal of making a buck. They’re the greedheads. Without a doubt, they suck the life out of this town by putting the treasure hunt first. Now, I think it’s high time that someone came up with an equally derogatory, yet descriptive, name for the types around here without the financial wherewithal to make us miserable but who more than compensate with sour attitudes.

Please allow me: These other types of malcontent are the “let-us heads,” as in “let us figure out yet another way to be bitter about greedheads” or “let us have some of your money, or we’ll make your Aspen lives miserable.”

Let me reiterate – I am not defending the greedheads. We all get tired of dealing with rich jerks here and everywhere else in the world. What I’m pointing out is that it is an equally chilling rain on our local parade that falls from the clouds following the folks who bitch and complain constantly about other people having too much money and how they spend it.

Remember the infamous Hotel Jerome bat mitzvah incident in January, I think it was? Who could forget? That was all about money. A contingent of local let-us heads went crazy, complaining not only about what an obscene amount of money one guy must have in order to rent out the entire Hotel Jerome for a weekend party but also how he made it.

Was anyone sincerely put out that they couldn’t get into the J-Bar that weekend? Most people wouldn’t have even noticed that it was closed except for the story in the newspapers. News flash: We are a popular tourist town. From time to time, places are going to be so busy that we can’t get in, and at times like that we probably don’t want to anyway. We have the Hickory House for times like that. News flash with spice: It was rented out by a rich guy with a questionable past. Now we can afford to be indignant.

The let-us heads will point out that the world is being destroyed by wasteful rich people, what with their private jets polluting the air, their monster homes spoiling the landscapes and them gorging on medium-rare J-Bar burgers all weekend. And I’m not here to argue against any of this. What I want to point out, though, is that a bitter attitude against this stuff is not making the planet a better place to live, either.

Given the choice between global warming caused by rich people who don’t care and global bitterness caused by the constant harangue from people whose gripe is with not being content with what they have in this gift of a beautiful place, I might have to choose wearing shorts a few weeks earlier in the spring. And yes, I am thinking about the great-grandchildren here, too. I do not want them to become let-us heads. Life is too precious to end up being dressed in vinegar.


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