A BILLIONAIRE'S BIRTHDAY

Time to take another peek [Lifestyle Theme] into the "Lifestyles of the Rich... and Cranky."

Time to take another peek [Lifestyle Theme] into the “Lifestyles of the Rich… and Cranky.”

It’s tough being rich. I’m not talking here about mere millionaires – it’s the pain of billionaires I’m asking you to feel.

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The pressure to perform is constant, for other rich people are always trying to outdo you. Take birthdays. When you’re totally turbo-rich, you can’t just celebrate with a quiet dinner at the Ritz. No, your birthday must be a gaudy celebration of yourself, a social splash with diamond-studded WOW-factor that shouts: “I’m richer than you!”

So, with his birthday coming up, what was Wall Street billionaire Steve Schwarzman to do? Charter jets to fly a crowd of friends and cronies to Las Vegas for an all-expenses-paid weekend? Already been done! You can literally sense the pain he was experiencing, can’t you?

But Stevie came through. He turned a cavernous 35,000-square-foot armory in Manhattan into palatial splendor, festooning the hanger-like space with a Milky Way’s worth of glittering stars, suspended above a grand chandelier the size of most people’s houses. Orchids were tossed about like cheap confetti, wine flowed like a river, a gourmet feast was laid out, and Rod Stewart was paid a million dollars to perform on Steve’s special night.

Then they came – 1,500 of Schwarzman’s best friends arrived in stretch limos and Escalades to hail His Steveness. Several barrel-chested men in black berets were posted as sentries, after bomb-sniffing dogs had swept the place. The paparazzi flashed as Barbara Walters, Cardinal Egan, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and a host of Wall Street barons were waved in. And look – was that Donnie Trump or just his wig? Yes, it was The Donald himself. With wig.

This is Jim Hightower saying… It was a triumphant night. But, God, the pressure! Thank you for sharing Steve Schwarzman’s birthday pain. Now, go about your own insignificant life.

Sources:
“Inside Stephen Schwarzman’s Birthday Bash,” New York Times, February 14, 2007.
“$3M Party Fit For a Buyout King,” New York Post, February 14, 2007.
“Turning 60, and Doing So in Style,” New York Times, January 27, 2007.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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