Luxuries harder to come by

Ipanema is a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, the seacoast located capitol of Brazil. I have never been to Ipanema, nor to Rio.

Astrid Gilberto, the Latina jazz singer who made that area famous in her 1964 bossa nova classic, “The Girl From Ipanema,”is now 71 years old.

That is hard to imagine, when one listens to her voice, in that particular song, frozen in time.

She still tours and presumably is asked to sing that song, but possibly sings it differently.

Johnny Depp, as male lead in “The Tourist,” plays a character who is in Paris, then Venice. I will not reveal the plot to you, in case you have not yet seen that movie, but it is the Venice and Paris part that is important to this column.

It is also the opening part, about the images conjured by that song, that is important to this column.

You see, I am writing this column about entitlement. The Johnny Depp movie lit the spark, and the jazz classic, or rather the images it inspires, fueled it.

This writer has admittedly railed, and will no doubt rail again, about how irritated I get when someone displays a sense of entitlement. I use the word admittedly because I confess, here and now in public, that I am presently afflicted with a huge case of entitlement.

I do not feel that I should be entitled to a free ride through life — I am willing to, and do, work hard. I do not feel that I should be entitled to a tremendous number of things, material possessions, bank accounts, etc. I frankly don’t care to live in and maintain a Tudor mansion, nor drive a BMW.

My entitlement covetousness has solely to do with experiences, and since the economy reflects, as far as I am concerned, a dull picture, my entitlement illness grows. It takes the form of resenting the fact that some are growing rich, even by quitting their jobs and being paid millions to “go away,” while increasingly, middle class U.S. citizens cannot afford what are, admittedly, luxuries.

For me, that would be, first last and foremost, chances to travel and experience, not own and possess.

So I watch “The Tourist” and think, irrelevantly, “I will never see Venice.”

I listen to Astrud Gilberto and think, again irrelevantly, “I will never snorkel off Rio.”

I turn on my homepage and think “Why show me a picture of the Great

Barrier Reef? I will never get to dive there.”

It really stinks to admit this, because for years I have used, in making fun of entitlement, the story about an Ohio family who felt deprived because they did not get their Christmas ski vacation in Aspen. How selfish, I thought, to believe that one “deserved” that annual holiday.

The irony there, I suppose, is that, (living where I do now), if I want to sacrifice a little, I can go to Aspen,at least for a day or two, it being relatively close. I cannot, however, afford the cruise that “Love Boat” led me to believe I am entitled to.

I am not complaining; the bills are paid and the car has gas. Nor am I saying that we are truly entitled to any of those luxuries. What I guess I am saying, only partially in jest, is that we who are the middle class need to take a stand, before our necessities, not our luxuries, are on the chopping block. Do we really think the ones lining their pockets at our expense, have our good at heart?