You, presumably, are not very literate, at least I hope not, since you would then be able to detect the hidden meanings in Gifthub and I would then probably be fired for breach of confidentiality among the declasse billionaires, I serve as Consigliere, at least in my impoverished dreams, but I assume you see movies and know the moment in Top Gun, when Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, sweating in his flight helmet, yells, "I've got tone! I've got tone," meaning missile-lock, and soon his rocket will blaze up the bogy's tailpipe. Well, Tutor is watching over Audrey's shoulder as she sits on her floor, with a new National Geographic in her lap. Momma has subscribed to it for her, as part of making sure she does not grow up in a bubble. This first issue is about New Delhi, and has a spread of seven pages, "The Dogs of New Delhi." Audrey's got tone! She flips pages forward, she flips them backward. She flip them forward. She studies each page. Then back. Tutor can see where this is going, and it could cause all kinds of trouble. Yet, it is a teachable moment.
Is now the time of teach Audrey about Effective Altruism? I mean, Audrey has saved one dog, Rex, from the shelter. She has found that even one dog, in a Castle in the Sea, is very expensive. Even the direct costs run well over one thousand dollars a year, and Tutor has never even taught her about indirect costs, like the body guards who accompany her and Rex on the helicopter, or in the motor launch, when Rex needs grooming, his shots, or to have his teeth cleaned. The true cost of this mutt (not that Tutor would ever call him that to his face) may be $20,000 a year. Audrey's allowance, grossed up for the direct costs only, is totally gone for small presents for Momma on her birthday and at holidays, and for Rex. So, what if.....? I mean really. What if we were to return Rex to the shelter? He was slated for death several months ago, and has had some good times. What if we were to take that allowance, or the fully loaded indirect and direct costs, and use them to save The Dogs of New Delhi? Do the math, as my boss Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of Wealth Bondage, with a Harvard MBA, likes to say. The numbers would tell a clear moral story. For the sacrifice of one mangy dog, Rex, we could save as many as 1,000 equally worthy dogs in New Delhi. How can we possibly not do it? "All dog's lives are equal," as Gates Foundation says of human lives. We can't be biased in saving dogs! Or do it at random. Rex, meanwhile, has his snout on Audrey's leg, looking up at her with sad soulful eyes. She is his savior. A girl and her dog is a special bond, but should the world's richest girl live in a Castle surrounded by a raging sea, and oblivious to the suffering around the globe?
No, says, Tutor, love is not a zero sum game, and wealth may not be either. Every dog is special, and no dog should be treated like an integer, or bead on an abacus. What we must do is to appeal directly to Momma. Tutor has, as you can see, learned from his recent beatings. Rather than letting things take their course, and Audrey getting in trouble, and then he as Whipping Boy, getting his back flayed bloody, he will go, as His Employer told him he must, to ask permission rather than forgiveness. He will treat Tess as a Momma-in-Charge, because she is.
Tutor now stands upright like a Butler in attendance, ten feet from Momma as she works her iPad, in the drawing room. Sitting on the couch, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, hair as wild as Audrey's but tawny brown, no lipstick or make up, long nervous fingers, going at the iPad's keys as if she were Lizt, with hair flying and eyes flashing, playing a mad cadenza. Is the beautiful?, you might ask. Were you to line up ten men by brainpower, ask each starting with the dimmest, you would find the first indifferent, and that by the time you reached the last, he would be simply smitten, overwhelmed. She is so alive with a lambent force, electric. Say money is the operative life-force, God in Action, naturalized, how much money is she making make per second, per keystroke, or stanza? Inconceivable. More than you or I in a lifetime. Can she spare a glance, even one brain cycle? After his recent fiascos will she even deign to acknowledge Tutor's subaltern presence?
Dear daft Tess is in a flow state, her long nervous fingers making trades and trills, breaking "counter-parties" across the globe. Then, at the climatic moment, where, if she were Lizt, she would fall silent with a crashing flourish, and rise from the piano bench, to a standing ovation, she says, "Yes?," looking up and through Tutor as if at a crowded hall, her global market. "It's Audrey-related, Milady." Tess's eyes come around, focused and intent. "All is well, Miladay, she is safe in her room, but I believe she has acquired a new target." Small smile from Momma. "Flying?," Momma asks. "No, Milady, dog-related." "That National Geographic?" "Yes, Milady." "And?" asks Momma, holding up her hand like a police woman making a stop sign: "Keep it brief, Tutor. Time is money. Restrain yourself!" "Yes, Milady. I am afraid she may stow away on a package boat to India, or try to fly there." "And you are thinking I might fund the saving of hungry dogs in New Delhi?" "Not my call, Milady." Momma devotes one full brain cycle (perhaps worth $10 mm to what are called Family Dynamics, in the professional literature, in a field in which she is a talented amateur). "Three words, Tutor." "Yes, Milady?" "Earn, Rule, Save." Tutor now understands why Momma is in charge. Earn, Rule, Save. "I will consider a reasonable plan," Momma adds, "at market rates. Dismissed." Yes, Milady." "O, and Tutor, you did right to ask." "Yes, Madam." "For a change," she adds back on the iPad." "Yes, Madam."
I know that many of you reading this, are actually quite literate. You would have to be cultured to serve as the Trusted Advisors to the World's Wealthiest Families, just as, if a cook, you would have to be a Four Staff Chef, at least. These wealthy kids are headed to Harvard. What if you, supposedly their mentor, only got into Colby? And some of you are among the creme de la creme, The Most Trusted Advisors. You have multi-disciplinary fluency. You create cross-disciplinary syntheses of a very high order. You are always looking for the best practices of Successful or Happy or Flourishing or Resourceful Dynastic Families, so that those you serve do not, as you say, "get deported back to the Middle Class," and you with them, carrying their luggage to the docks, sweating like a Coolie, glancing around the docks to see if you can pick up a new arrival, some parvenu to The Paradise of Wealth, immigrating from the Old Country of Broken Dreams. As a literate person you are familiar, I am sure, with the conventions of Omniscient Narration. So, for your benefit, please, let me, as The All-Knowing Author, point the moral, the Best Practice that Tutor has had to learn the hard way, his back crisscrossed with scars that may never heal. No matter how wise and virtuous we are, no matter how in touch we may be with Wealth and Will of God: "Ask Momma first." Always ask Momma first when it comes to Wealth in Families, The Compact Across Generations, Wisdom and Wealth, Entrusted Wealth, Lives in Trust, Resourceful Families, or anything of that nature. Seems obvious. But who does? Even if you have no clients for wealth and wisdom, even if you are just an ordinary Middle Class person, and just getting by, you also can learn. Same rule applies in all happy families: Ask Momma first.