I feel bad for the folks in Detroit right now because it already sucks to live there, plus the Lions are usually bad, and with this new bankruptcy filing, it's just another blow to the hometown spirit.
At this point, residents have two options: move or make lemonade.
The decline of Motor City over the years has already prompted the less optimistic half of its population to pack up their bags and get the hell out of dodge (Dodge!). Only 700,000 remain, but in all likelihood, there could have been an evacuation this weekend.
Apparently, Detroit owes nearly $20 billion to creditors. One report I read said the city would be able to pay off its bills if it simply cut out more services. Yet in 2013, 40 percent of streetlights didn't work; police took almost an hour respond to emergencies; and 78,000 city structures were abandoned. The only thing left to take away is the power and the post office.
Plus, if nothing works and no one lives there, what exactly did the city spend all that money on anyway?!
Detroit's biggest issue now is that no one is going to loan it money to pay off debts.
Vice President Joe Biden said he didn't know whether Washington would help, though Biden seems to be in the dark about most things.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing admitted he's pretty much out of ideas too.
"I'm not sure exactly what to ask for," he said. "I mean, money is going (to) help, no doubt about that, but how much?"
Maybe Mayor Bing should ask for an accountant?
Kevyn Orr, the guy in charge of bailing the city out of this pickle, added that any outside assistance would be "great," but he wasn't banking on it.
If I were Orr, I'd call up New York and see about wedging what's left of Detroit into some part of the Bronx.
All these guys are overlooking a golden opportunity sitting right on their own poorly lit streets, however, something I found while doing research on my own failures.
Several months ago, I wrote a story about underachieving in my 20s. A few people said they connected with me. A bunch of people told me I sucked. This must be how Detroit feels.
One person wrote, "Your life is the way it is because of choices you made."
Another reader commented that she a) disliked my piece in general, and b) took major issue with the fact I made fun of Nick Cannon.
"Jesus, what a whiner!" she wrote. "Nick Cannon has his hands in several successful businesses -- some of which started up when he was in his 20s -- and HE SLEEPS WITH MARIAH CAREY!!!"
Most of these people shouldn't be reading articles on the comedy page, but anyhow, I take full responsibility for where I'm at in life just as I'm sure Detroit does. I also recognize Cannon's entrepreneurial and personal accomplishments.
After writing that story, nevertheless, I decided to start soliciting advice from successful people who were younger than me, and the first person I talked to was 10-year-old Joshua Smith from Detroit.
Last year, Josh heard his city was broke, and decided it was his duty to help. Also, he realized he wasn't going anywhere so it was basically sink or swim.
Accordingly, he set up a lemonade stand, and in five days raised nearly $4,000. That sounds more like a monthly salary to me, which means I will be hitting the fruit stands ASAP.
Josh worked with other kids in his neighborhood to consolidate their efforts, and charged two dollars per glass of juice, a sincere price hike since my days on the block.
Thirty-six hundred dollars later, Josh proved he could make it rain like Fat Joe.
Afterwards, Mayor Bing told Josh he should keep the money for college instead of giving it away, but Josh insisted the mayor take it for the city. Evidently, Josh understood Detroit's dire fiscal circumstances better than his elected official.
All in all, Josh loves his city and stuck by it through the worst of times; he also pulls for the Lions.
His story, albeit modest, suggests the right attitude could lead to a solution for both Detroit's problems and my own. Making the best out of bad situation involves loyalism, determinism, tapping into unique reserves, thinking outside the box, and seriously overcharging for commodities.
Also, people will pay anything if you're cute.
Look at this way Detroit: you still have Josh, and you still have Eminem. Slim Shady's got an album out this year too, so there's some tax money you can bank on.
Seriously. Don't blow that one.
In the meantime, set up a few lemonade stands and commence to some squeezing.
You can catch my interview with Josh here.
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