The Opposite of Self-Pity: Neil Alan Smith

A reader in Dallas sent this note:

TPM this morning led me to this obituary of a man who is near the other end of the wealth bell curve from the University of Chicago Prof recently discussed at length.

I'm generally too old and cynical to tear up. But the obituary moved me quite considerably. I understand that it is not a complete picture of the life depicted, just as the Professor's comments about his personal finances are probably (hopefully) not a fair window into his worldview. But I find it of immense spiritual benefit to set these two portraits against one another.

I agree. This case has been discussed many other places, for example by David Gura at the NPR site, but seemed worth mentioning for those who might be interested. As the reader points out, it's not as pat as "well-paid person greedy; poor person virtuous." But the juxtaposition of two contemporaneous American stories is striking. The deceased, Neil Alan Smith at work as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack, from Tampa Bay Online, below.


Also, this interesting note from a commenter at the St. Petersburg Times site:
This story is a poignant example of why we as a society continue to need solid daily newspaper journalism. It's a reminder that we all have value, and that low pay and a humble way of living are not at all incompatible with kindness, decency and self-respect. This piece is a respectful tribute to a proud working man. Well done, Andrew Meacham and the St. Petersburg Times.