At an Atlantic City restaurant, a businessman asked a waitress to recommend a bottle for him and his colleagues. She pointed to one on the menu and said it was 'thirty-seven fifty', which he presumed meant $37.50.
They drank the wine, which wasn't anything spectacular although it was enjoyable. But when presented with the bill for their meal, our intrepid diner was stunned to discover he was required to pay more than $4,000 and the wine he had supped with his pals was in fact a 2011 Screaming Eagle.
A spokesman for the steakhouse defended the conduct of his staff and said the waitress and the sommelier had verified the choice of wine with the guest. I'll bet the servers didn't say, “This is one of our more expensive wine. Please look at the price on the menu before we open it for you.”
Well, there's no way I would order wine without verifying the price—or anything else for that matter. I'm surprised the businessman could afford to pay the bill.
This is another example of inequality. You might argue that the man had earned the money with his effort at convincing other men to buy into his dream. But I have a dream too, and it hasn't resulted in an abundance of funds.
We are all born with different skills and life tests. An entrepreneur would say … well, read a short excerpt from my recently released Shattered Shells.
"What about," Harry asked, "when the sons of God mated with the daughters of man?"
Georg cut in. "That was a fragment taken from a myth. All nonsense. We're in charge of our own life. Here's what I think." His rugged face pinched up. "The creator is a computer programmer. He's set mankind up as avatars and let us loose to see who works out the best. There are no rules."
"I agree," Liliha said. "Each person is free to choose good or bad."
"What if the programmer," Harry said, "is the leader of the little gray men?"
"I like to think of the programmer as God," Liliha said, although neither man took notice.
"Let me make my point," Georg said. "We avatars run around grabbing as much as we can get away with. The one who acquires the most is the winner."
Liliha asked, "Well, how come the programmer didn't create all his avatars the same? Why are some weak and some strong—mentally and physically? That's just not fair. How could the weak win?"
"It's up to them to rise," Georg said, "any way they can."
Harry leaned forward with a frown. "The little gray men could have just left us to breed and interbreed, obeying all the laws of nature." He glared at Georg. "In nature, the strongest survive."
"My point exactly." Georg's voice rose. "The strongest make off with the goods."
Liliha glanced from one to the other. "I don't think life's about personal wealth."
They both turned on her.
"What is life about, then?" Georg asked, maintaining a stern expression.
"Making the right decisions," she said. "Putting the needs and desires of others on the same level as your own."
"We're not ants," Harry said, "working for the colony."
"Or bees," Georg said, "gathering honey."
"We're people," Liliha said, lips a little looser than usual. Probably the alcohol. "We should help each other."
"Are you okay with this discussion, Liliha?" Harry asked.
She nodded. Not exactly. But at least the debate made her think.
"Do you share everything you have?" A strange light shone from Georg's eyes.
Liliha gulped the rest of her drink. "Not everything. I need to keep enough to survive."