The famous quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me” that is usually truncated as “The rich are different from you and me”, captures the fascination that people have with trying to define what makes someone rich and in what way they differ from those who are not.
We now have the spectacle of members of the oligarchy saying that earning $250,000 per year does not make you rich while simultaneously suggesting that people can live on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which works out to about $15,000 per year for a 40-hour work week.
I think that I have found the answer to the demarcation line between the rich and the not-rich: the number of bathrooms in their homes. More precisely, it is the ratio of the number of bathrooms to the number of bedrooms. If that number (the ‘bathroom ratio’) is greater than one, then you are rich. (Note that a bathroom ratio of exactly one can be ambiguous since that might refer to a small one-bedroom apartment or an eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion.)
This realization came over me like a flash.
Given that we spend so little time in the bathroom, one would not need that many to meet the needs of a normal household. But I had noticed for some time that real estate ads for upscale homes sometimes featured houses that had more bathrooms than bedrooms, and once wrote about the most extreme example back in 2011 in which a house had five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, and seven half bathrooms, which gives a bathroom ratio of 2.5.
Then just a few days ago, there was an item in the New York Post about a new housing development in the city that, although a single building, had separate entrances for the units for the rich from those of the not-rich, since it would not do for the wealthy to be even close to the hoi polloi in the hallways or elevators. It had his nugget at the very end: “A six-bedroom, eight-bath pad goes for $15.9 million”, giving a bathroom ratio of 1.33.
I think the bathroom ratio is a pretty reliable guide but why rich people need so many bathrooms beats me.