Income isn't considered polite conversation for most Americans. We'll talk about our jobs, our families, the weather, the couple down the street who is obviously hiding something in that garage ... but not how much we earn.
In our culture, the more off limits a topic is, the more it intrigues us. Unlike other taboo subjects, your neighbor's income isn't likely to keep you up at night with burning questions you must hear answered before you die.
Still, curiosity gets the best of us. Sometimes you hear somebody's occupation and wonder, "How in the world can you survive on that salary?" Or you hear another job title and daydream about running through fields of money.