The problem with this country is that nobody takes personal responsibility for anything anymore. Everybody wants to blame their problems on “society.” People who take personal responsibility for solving their own problems aren’t rewarded for taking initiative. As a matter of fact, they’re punished.
I know because it happened to me. I tried to take personal responsibility for improving my own life and I was shit on for doing it. One of the things that has always bugged the hell out of me is that I can’t get into my local butcher shop. There’s a big old step on the front door. So I am reduced to window shopping, staring longingly at the sausage chains and carcasses on display within. The owner is an Italian guy named Luigi. He’s round and wears a blood-spattered white apron. I called his shop and tried to convince him to build a ramp. I said, “You are required by law to provide reasonable accommodation so customers like me can access your store. But more importantly, providing access is the right thing to do. And it’s good for business! You’ll mine a rich, untapped vein of new customers!” But Luigi just said, “It’s a notta my problem.” And he hung up.
For months I sat home and seethed over Luigi’s callous indifference. When I sit home and seethe, I watch a lot of TV. And when I watch a lot of TV I see a lot of those scolding, personal responsibility pundits who tell us to stop acting like whiny little victims. This is America! You’ve got to seize the bull by the bootstraps!
I was finally convinced! Luigi was right! If I can’t get into his store, it’s not his problem. It’s up to ME to deal with my situation without bothering him about it.
So I took personal responsibility. I happen to have a couple buddies who are really into amateur carpentry. So we gathered up some wood and hammers and nails and went to the butcher shop to build a ramp on the entrance. Well we barely got the first plank in place before Luigi appeared.
“What the hell are you doing?” he snarled.
“Don’t worry, Luigi,” I said. “I’m taking personal responsibility for getting into your store. You don’t have to do anything. I realize this is my problem, not yours.”
“Get away from my store or I kill you!” Luigi raised a cleaver and my amateur carpenter buddies scattered like cockroaches. Some friends they are!
So much for the butcher shop. But I didn’t give up. Another thing that always bugged the hell out of me is this big curb on the corner down the block. The curbs all around it are ramped but not that one. I’ve complained to city hall a million and one times. So I decided to take personal responsibility.
I happen to have another buddy who owns a jackhammer. I didn’t think it was legal for a private citizen to own a jackhammer but apparently it’s protected by the 2nd Amendment, according to my buddy who owns a jackhammer. So one fine summer afternoon we went to that corner and commenced to making our own curb ramp. My buddy was happily jackhammering away at the curb for only about two minutes when a police wagon to showed up. The cops cuffed my buddy, threw him in the wagon and confiscated his jackhammer. “Hey,” I said, “you’re violating his 2nd Amendment rights!” But did the cops care about that? No!
So I’m sitting home seething again. Whatever happened to the good old days when taking personal responsibility solved every problem?
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