The Only Difference Between a Derelict and a Man Is a Job
Have you ever seen the 1936 film My Man Godfrey, starring William Powell as Godfrey and his real life ex-wife Carole Lombard as Irene Bullock? If not, I suggest that you find it and watch it. It’s a glorious film.
One of the best lines in the flick occurs when Godfrey gives his old chum Tommy a tour of the city dump he lived in before Irene took him under her wing and gave him the job as the Bullock family’s butler. While Godfrey and Tommy sat among the piles of rubbish, Godfrey said, “The only difference between a derelict and a man is a job.”
There is a lot of wisdom in those twelve little words. Think about it. To this day some of us see a person living on the streets in tattered clothes and automatically assume they’re a bum, someone who is less than a respectable human being. But if we take that “bum” off the streets, clean him up and give him a job, suddenly he is a real man with opinions that matter.
My Man Godfrey was a charming screwball comedy, but it was also able to expose the differences between the lowest class of people and the highest class. It also showed that a homeless person isn’t necessarily an uneducated bum, and a rich person isn’t necessarily unfeeling and heartless.
There has always been a class war in the US. Admit it. Someone somewhere decided that it was a good idea to pit the impoverished and the wealthy against each other, and it worked. There is a certain animosity on both sides. And the only real difference between the rich and poor is money. That’s it. Other than that, they are exactly the same. Both classes are human; both classes have thoughts and emotions, and both classes are born and eventually die.