Chris Johnson: Announcing the 2013 lazy Americans awards

April 28, 2013 

Announcing the 2013 lazy Americans awards

While in Louisville, Ky., last week, I was treated to one of the best lunches I've had in a long time -- well, actually two of the best lunches I've had in a long time. And they were served to me by homeless folks. And they were cooked by homeless folks.

The place is called Hotel Louisville. Its restaurant and hotel are run by homeless people who earn a little money and gain valuable work experience. Many of the hotel rooms are occupied by the homeless who work there, while most of the rooms are rented by the night to the general public just like any other hotel.

Not only was the food good and cheap ($6 for a buffet), but the staff was clean, friendly, efficient and hard-working. Fact is, if you didn't know the story behind Hotel Louisville, you would have no idea anyone there had been down and out. You instead might think they were busy moms trying to make ends meet or students paying their way through law school.

I'm afraid I had a stereotype in my head about homeless folks. But unlike many folks today, my mind can be changed by a brush with the truth. And the truth is that, yes, there are lazy homeless folks and lazy welfare queens -- although corporate welfare queens are far more damaging to the American economy. But laziness appears to be equally spread out across economic levels, race, gender and geographical circumstances.

Perhaps we would understand laziness a little better if we recognized it instead of just nursing some comfortable misconception about the lazy. That's why I think the lazy should have some kind of awards show where we honor them in front of everyone. I mean, country music has an awards show about every four hours, so certainly we can give the lazy one day a year to be recognized.

So, to get us started, here are the nominees for Lazy Americans of the Year:

Randy Butts, Dead Oak, Ala.: Randy hasn't properly disposed of a used cigarette in 13 years now. At the beach, they go in the sand. At the park, they go on the ground. When he's in the car, they go on the street. They're too filthy to keep in his truck's ashtray, after all. His trash is your problem, not his.

Janice Middleton, Storksville, N.J.: Janice stands on the moving sidewalk at the airport and gets passed by people walking beside the thing. And she's content to stand in the middle so that folks who want to utilize the moving sidewalk for faster walking are instead delayed. Where you've got to go is your problem, not hers.

Lester Leftwich, Swampnutt, Fla.: Lester refuses to return his shopping cart to the proper spot at the Swampnutt Plaza Shopping Center. If it's just two spaces over, he still can't muster the energy to roll it that far even after carousing every aisle of the Publix. He leaves it in the middle of the space where you hoped to park because where you have to park is your problem, not his.

Wanda Hale, Swampnutt, Fla.: This an exciting double-nomination for Swampnutt. Wanda circles the parking lot for 20 minutes, spewing carbon monoxide into the air while desperately seeking a parking spot one space closer to -- what else -- the gym. Because pollution-clogged air is your breathing problem, not hers.

Bertha Bumpers, Tater, Idaho: You know Bertha. She's that lady who crossed the street in front of you without looking today and then scowled and got even slower when you politely stopped, smiled and waved her own. How dare you interfere with her daily jaywalk? Where you've got to be is your problem, not hers … well, unless you don't mind getting a dent in the front of your truck.

I think if you're honest with yourself, you have to admit that you have pegged some segment of society as lazier than others. And, if you were truly honest with yourself, you'll find you forgive the laziness of those in your segment of society over the laziness of others. If your spouse discards cigarettes in the street, you'd probably overlook that even as you scream at Bertha as she crosses the street. In America, our outrage is awfully selective.

Perhaps if most Americans weren't too lazy to lend a helping hand to the hard-working stereotype-busting folks at places like Hotel Louisville, we'd all have to be a little less generalizing while labeling the lazy -- which in itself is a bit lazy-minded.

Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent. Connect with him at or

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