The Red Mercedes
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 13:28:52 -0700 (PDT)
There was a part of the Red Mercedes story that I left off as not relevant, but 
it's another view and an interesting New York experience.

I had been hired by New York City to do a career and education planning study 
with employees whose jobs were about to be eliminated. One little man was young 
and slight, a Hasidic Jew who wore the traditional black cotton suit with a 
black hat and long curls hanging from each temple. The curls are are never cut, 
and for some reason seem to be preponderantly red. 

Very traditional, the young man had to separate himself from unrelated women. 
10-15 feet is the prescribed distance and professors had to have a large office 
in order to work with the opposite sex. The young man rarely spoke and never 
lifted his hand higher than the bottom of his ear when he had a question but I 
could see that he was enjoying the class and would laugh silently at jokes.

After the class had worked through our Bitch and Switch exercise, this time the 
anguish and longing of a man whose job was about to be eliminated felt for a 
Red Mercedes he would probably never have and not enjoy if he did — a theft 
hazard and expensive to maintain. After he relaxed into being happily satisfied 
with the idea of just renting a nice car on weekends, I said, "I don't think 
Mercedes come in red anyway."

The little man in the back raised his hand a little less tentatively than usual 
and waited for me to call on him. 

"Yes, they do." he said. "And I still want one." Then he chuckled almost 

The juxtaposition of modesty and wealth in the Hasidic community was to me 
foreign because traditional conservative Christians I know also took vows of 
poverty. Hassids are often poor, as well, but In New York, they also control 
the diamond district.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
"Reality is something you rise above." Liza Minnelli

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.