From time to time, something utterly ridiculous comes to light that needs to be shared with the general populace. The Ig Noble Awards independently celebrate such ludicrous achievements as measuring the amount of methane a cow produces to calculate the potential effect dairy farms have on the world atmosphere quality. (Never mind all the cars out there, now.)
However, I believe that in the grand scheme of things, this particular story takes the cake.
According to a myfoxny.com report, a 290-pound man is suing White Castle for failing to increase the size of its booths to accommodate people of a larger size.
This story illustrates a general trend that our American society has been taking in the past decade or so. Rather than claim responsibility for your own actions, decisions, mistakes, etc., why not sue someone instead?
I will concede that fast food chains have taken command of our food supply and tailored it to fit their needs. Prior to fast food chains, there were very few hormones used in chicken and beef. Frozen dinners and flash frozen food was the exception rather than the rule.
However, no one forces anyone to eat this stuff. People are by and large responsible for their own choices and behavior. No one tells you to eat your peas or go to bed on time after you move out of mom and dad’s house.
This fact of life has been subverted to say that since no one is telling me I shouldn’t do it, it’s not my fault if negative consequences result from poor choices. This belief has led America to become one of the most litigious nations in the world.
Spilled some coffee on yourself? Don’t worry, it’s not your fault you got burned because you were clumsy. It was McDonald’s fault for serving you coffee that was too hot. (Doesn’t everyone enjoy a lukewarm cup of joe in the morning?)
Slipped on the floor that you just saw the guy mop? It’s not your fault that you didn’t walk around it. It’s the business’ fault for not warning you the floor was wet.
The list of outright ludicrousness could go on for miles. The bottom line is that somewhere along the line, we traded our sense of responsibility for a lawyer in a thousand dollar suit.
Lack of responsibility has even found its way into the upper echelons of government. What, the country’s almost hit its borrowing cap? I know! Let’s find six people to pin the decision-making process on. If it fails, no one else can be blamed but these people. Certainly a win-win for everyone except the six who skirted responsibility.
Responsibility is something we wer taught by our parents and our teachers. It is something that we were forced to endure every day as we grew to adults. Why is it that we forget these lessons when a stroke of poor luck or a lack of good judgment befalls us?
We as Americans must take responsibility for our own actions if our country is to have any kind of future. We must decide to face the music if we make a mistake that costs us more than we would like it to or suffer from a lapse of judgment for several years which results in less than desirable consequences.
Finger-pointing and shirking responsibility creates a vicious circle in which an entire society can get caught. The only place that it will take us is straight down the drain, and then there will be no one to blame except ourselves.