In the course of reviewing books about Warren Buffett, "the business of life," money, and success In The New York Review of Books last month, Sue Halpern writes: "Buffett, it is safe to say, has a different relationship to money than you and me. For us it's a means to an end. For him, it's a vocation. He is called to it. If it's for anything, it's for getting more of. The man is a collector. He just happens to collect dollars."
Well, I don't know. It's "safe to say" -- a locution implying that saying the wrong thing will get you punched -- that the famous exchange between Fitzgerald ("the rich are different from you and me") and Hemingway ("yes, they have more money") floats behind the "different. . .than you and me" in the first sentence above. But I still have trouble figuring out who "we" are. Do you know anyone, even among the poor, for whom money is simply "a means to an end"? Doesn't money almost always stand for something besides money? Status, for example, or achievement. Or security: there's nothing like a million buck in treasuries to give you a warm sense of security. Or shit (see Norman O. Brown). Or manners (see Proust). Seems to me that money is not only Buffett's vocation but his vacation as well. Then there's the idea of collecting. What is the difference between collecting dollars and collecting stamps, art, coins, fedoras, ashtrays? Aesthetics?
Finish this sentence: If the crash of last September has taught us anything, it's --