Recently, while surfing the Internet, I saw a CNN interview of Mike Rowe.  He’s an actor and reality series host.  He characterizes a normal Joe blow who wears a T-shirt and jeans, adorning a worn-out baseball cap, on those infamous Ford commercials.  When asked if he ever considered running for Congress his reply was: “I prefer doing something that you can get the dirt off at the end of the day.  I’ll never say never, but if there isn’t term limits I doubt it.”

Later that day, I had a conversation about finance with a young man in his 20s, and I believe I learned far more than he ever did from our discussion.  He said he had some medical bills and had made some poor decisions.  When he told me he was contemplating filing bankruptcy I said he had other options.  I could tell by his facial expressions he was tuning me out and he eventually said: “What can I say … I’m lazy … that’s just how I roll.”

Unfortunately, that type of attitude seems to be a trend in society anymore.

I spent the rest of the day contemplating about our talk and milled it over in the back of my mind.  I then formulated an analogy about something that happened to my wife and I a few years back.  That CNN interview only furthered my mind play over that analogy I’d been mulling over.

Some years ago, our family was on vacation and driving back home late at night up the East Coast through North Carolina.  We stopped at a Circle K convenience store to fill up with gas and a homeless man was sitting out in front of the store.  When I passed him, he held up a pair of pliers and asked if I’d like to buy it for two dollars.  He hadn’t shaved for what appeared to be days.  His face was filthy, his clothes tattered and torn, and there was a shopping cart full of junk nearby.  I was close enough to smell he reeked of alcohol.

I knew what he wanted the two dollars for, so I declined his request by saying: “No, thanks.”

That didn’t seem to satisfy him though, so he followed me into the store and asked twice more.  He eventually gave up when he noticed the eyes of several other customers peering at him inside that establishment – who knows what his desperation may have driven him to do if we were alone.

I love analogies and will use this opportunity to characterize one.

That man sitting outside the convenience store had a problem.  There was help scattered amid society, at his disposal, if only he were to seek it in this compassionate country.  He had a tool in his hand – if only he’d realized he could use that to fix an engine, alleviate an electrical problem, or be a handy man to further better his life, but he hadn’t.

In life we have choices, and no one can convince me he had none.

In a capitalistic society you can be anything you want – the sky’s the limit.  Unfortunately, in today’s society we’re plagued by a mindset that determination and hard work are dirty words.

If you want a comfortable life you have to work for it, unless you’re fortunate enough to have inherited it.

The despicable part of it all is our present government has been corrupted by a less than desirable ideology that thinks work is a four-letter word and government assistance isn’t really all that bad.

The founding fathers would no doubt be appalled by what our government has become.  They wanted to distance themselves from the model England had adopted.  The British Royals always lived well, but the country peasants barely scraped by.  If you think about it government assistance isn’t a prosperous way of life at all, it’s dependence on the Elite.

Those in positions of power take the hard-earned money of those trying to live and enrich themselves, but only spread a little around in hopes those less fortunate will think dependence on government isn’t really so bad and eventually throw reason to: “What can I say … I’m lazy … that’s just how I roll.”

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at

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