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Whiting column: Take advantage of this gut-check opportunity to reboot

Bryan Whiting
Personal Responsibility
Bryan Whiting

When things are going bad, the key is to keep going.

With the virus putting a target on those of advanced age, at least we would be a moving target. A productive component of going is to focus on the other side of the equation: the aspects of our lives for which we should be thankful.

We should be thankful that Noah took those two coffee beans on the Ark. That every day has a happy hour. It’s called a nap.

We should be thankful to have learned to pick our battles. A bulldog can whip a skunk, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. We shouldn’t criticize someone before we have walked a mile in their shoes. If they subsequently get mad, they’re a mile away and don’t have any shoes. We realize statistics can be misleading. A recent survey reported that 30% of people suffer from hemorrhoids; the other 70% enjoy them?

We have accepted that a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do; which led to our realizing we need a good woman to do what we can’t. We have ascertained many people don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s like when men buy beer, a car or lingerie. We don’t know anything about it; we just buy it to get what’s inside.

We have learned it doesn’t pay to be a smart alec. At one point in middle school, Dad became more frustrated with me than usual. “When Lincoln was your age, he was working eight hours, walking to school 3 miles and reading two books every day.” My response, “Dad, when Lincoln was your age he was president.” Not a smart response on my part.

We have recognized an education can come in many forms. We comprehended social distancing at middle school dances when the boys were on one side and girls the other. When we did dance, Mrs. Trask would reinforce social distancing with her flashlight if we tried to reduce the distance to zero.

We didn’t have sex education. We had James Bond movies. He also taught us the definition of middle school cool. At least in our own mind.

We learned physics through real world application. Our high school principal was a negative person; not one to support any activities our student council wished to undertake.

After one particularly frustrating meeting, we learned about motion. When we put the principal’s rear axle up on blocks, no matter how much gas he applied motion didn’t occur. We subsequently learned about traction and acceleration when he pushed the car enough it came off the blocks. We learned about momentum and the Pauli Exclusion principle when he hit the light pole in front of him.

It’s more productive to focus on new opportunities that will arise. We should be the opportunist. That way we can drink the water while the optimist and the pessimist are arguing about how full the glass is.

There would be an opportunity to open a restaurant called “Karma.” A menu wouldn’t be necessary. Customers would only get what they deserved. The emergence of “recycling” means our clothes are now back in style.

If we listen, life will tell us the direction we should take. As a young man, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Experiences were showing me it was a difficult way to make a living. The final straw was when the Steinway people asked me to tell the audience I was using a Baldwin piano.

There’s an opportunity for those younger to learn. Your iPhone will either hold 5,000 songs or one voice mail from your mother. Want some fun? Buy a new iPhone and hit redial. You will see your phone having a nervous breakdown.

We should be thankful to function within the American Economic System. When things head back toward normal, economically we will recover more quickly because of its inherent principles. They facilitate the rewards necessary to incentivize the motivation for both individuals and businesses to willingly undertake the extra work and effort necessary.

Under socialism, countries will tend to return to “same old, same old” and without motivation to do that quickly. Recovery will be directed by government officials who have a vested interest to only return to the prior status quo where their power base presides. New opportunities aren’t sought let alone developed.

The strategies to combat COVID-19 are a personal responsibility gut check. It reinforces that, lack of personal responsibility, in any circumstance, not only negatively affects us individually, but others. In many circumstances it also requires someone else to make up for our failing.

The positive is, as this situation ends, we will be provided an opportunity for a reboot, both individually and as a country. If we felt stuck in our prior situation, if it wasn’t what we desired, if we acted in a manner we regretted, a calamitous occurrence provides an opportunity to not only wipe the slate clean, but get a new one. What was done or said in the past is relatively unimportant. It’s a new day. It is our personal responsibility to take advantage of this opportunity.

Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: bwpersonalresponsibility@gmail.com.


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