“Real wealth is never having to spend time with assholes.”
I think about that John Waters line all the time.
Only trouble is, he never said those exact words. He said this (from Make Trouble):
I’m rich! I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich. And not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.
The late Anthony Bourdain also had a “No Asshole” rule:
It is truly a privilege to live by what I call the ‘no asshole’ rule. I don’t do business with assholes. I don’t care how much money they are offering me, or what project. Life is too short. Quality of life is important. I’m fortunate to collaborate with a lot of people who I respect and like, and I’d like to keep it that way.
In an earlier interview, he said it even more succinctly:
I want to keep the assholes in my life to an absolute minimum, if not zero.” That’s worth real, real money — to not have assholes in your life.
Real wealth = no assholes.