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Your guide to falling in and out of love with the bad boy of corporate America 

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY CALEB WALSH
  • Illustration by Caleb Walsh

It has been said that Jeff Bezos has enough money to buy every homeless person on the planet a home and still be a billionaire. Or he could, with his earnings each year, end world hunger (world hunger!) and still be a billionaire. Or he could completely fund bringing clean and safe water to every person in the world and still be the richest person to have ever lived.

click to enlarge Chelsea Martin
  • Chelsea Martin
Imagine holding the kind of power that could truly, unequivocally change the world for the better, at no practical discomfort to yourself, and choosing, instead, just... not to do that. Imagine the kind of sociopath you'd have to be to know that you could single-handedly help millions of people stay alive, who probably wouldn't otherwise, and instead of doing that, not doing it.

Pretty sexy, right?

The bad boy trope has been around a long time. The dark, brooding, slightly mean dude is irresistible to many women. There is, admittedly, a mysterious lure to a man without any trace of empathy. His total lack of redeemable qualities comes off as intelligent, in a way. His lack of emotional engagement somehow makes him seem sensitive. Sensitivity and intelligence are traits I can work with! you think.

At first it might seem like he's opening up. Maybe he tells you how fascinated he was by space as a kid, or you perceive what appears to be sadness in his eyes after telling him about hungry children in the very city he lives in, or he orders you some particular drink you mentioned one time in passing. And you think, See? I knew there was a sweet and sensitive guy hiding under that thick, unpleasant shell.

The next thing you know, you're two years into a relationship and still hearing those same long anecdotes about his childhood interest in space, over what was supposed to be a romantic dinner, with no indication that he remembers it's your birthday.

"What kid wasn't interested in space?" you say, which is a mistake. He sulks for a few days and then gives his half-a-million-plus employees slightly poorer working conditions because he knows it hurts you.

"I was wrong. Not every kid was interested in space," you tell him. "You're a very unique and interesting man."

"One day we'll live out there, you know," he says. "Because of me."

"Of course," you say.

"Well, not all of us," he says. "But you get my point."

You thought you'd be the one to change him. You thought you could find the little nugget of compassion you just knew was in his heart somewhere. You thought you could make him see that he could pay off all private debt in America for the change in his pocket. Easy! Or fix the Flint, Michigan, thing for a dollar amount so small to him that spending it would probably benefit him when it came to tax time.

"What makes you think you know anything about taxes?" he says. And of course you have to admit you know nothing about taxes, even though, in all fairness, you personally paid more federal taxes last year than his entire mega corporation, so.

At some point, it will begin to dawn on you that his selfish arrogance wasn't a sign of a mysterious, brooding sociopath who could someday learn to love and share and care about others, but a sign, rather, of an everyday little bitch. Just a sad, greedy coward who knows the only thing that makes him interesting is money, and who will do anything to keep the benefits of that money all to himself.

It hurts to admit you were wrong. But it must hurt more to know, as Jeff Bezos surely must know, that you're a sad waste of human potential. You're better off without him! ♦

Chelsea Martin is the Spokane-based author of five books, including Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life. Her website is jerkethics.com.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Crushin' on Jeff Bezos"

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