Some people care about appearances --- and sometimes they care a lot. They need the showcase home, the shiny new car, the big desk in the bigger office, and the job title that indicates their importance to all beneath. Other people are virtually colorblind to such marks of distinction. They're happy to work anonymously and drive an old but functional wreck. They get satisfaction not from recognition but from secret wellsprings that are hard to identify.
A retired colleague (PD) told me of this contrast between his wife and himself. He speculated that the "status gene" she exhibits might have come from a mutation: when she was young, her family's business failed and they went from well-to-do circumstances to near-poverty. He grew up poor and never paid it much attention. His focus today is on function, not form.
Is there a metaphorical "status gene"? If so, is it dominant or recessive? Does it skip generations? What external events trigger its display?
Wednesday, May 24, 2000 at 20:36:05 (EDT) = Datetag20000524