Stuff rolls downhill.

How many times have we heard that old axiom? (Hint: When you heard it, they probably didn’t say “stuff.”)

Whoever coined the phrase likely was talking about how whatever people are doing at the top of wherever is going to roll downhill to where the rest of us reside. If the ones at the top are making a mess, those of us near the bottom get to wade in it.

As old as I am, I have absolutely zero explanation for whatever’s going on with our nation’s leaders. I really don’t. I can offer some meager theories, but even they defy explanation.

Greed? Yeah, I’d say that’s a contributing factor. Greed for more power. More money. They’re cannibalizing one another in a never-ending effort to have more.

More of what? We have yet in world history to appoint a King of the World. I haven’t seen too many truly happy billionaires or trillionaires. Whatever they’ve got is never enough, it seems. How many houses does one need? What in the world costs so much that a person can’t simply feel satisfied with whatever he or she already has?

Here in Texas, we have fire ants. They’re vicious little creatures for sure. I once dropped a piece of chicken on a fire ant bed while I was grilling, and I watched in morbid curiosity as the ants climbed all over each other trying to get more than their share. Upon closer viewing, I even saw some of the greedy little freaks eating each other.

Thankfully, people like those aren’t the norm. They’re not what anyone would consider “average Americans.”

I happen to be an average American, and if it’s all the same to the greedy-guts in charge of stuff, I’d like to keep my average life.

I’ll go to work every day, and I’ll work hard. I’ll pay all my taxes; it’s fair rent for living in this country. I’m more than willing to ensure our first responders, military members and everyone else who takes care of us gets compensated for their efforts. In my unsolicited opinion, they don’t get paid enough. They, too, are just average Americans.

I’ll pay for my family’s health insurance, but should one of my loved ones grow seriously ill, I don’t want to hear that the cure they need is too expensive. You’re telling me their lives are only worth whatever’s in our bank account? That only the wealthy are worthy of living longer and healthier lives? I don’t know who came up with that idea, but I bet it wasn’t an average American.

I’ll obey our laws. They’re fair, and I know without them we’d be living in outright anarchy. Sort of like what we see in our national and state capitals.

I’ll try my best to make my community better in whatever small way I can contribute. I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do and not because it’s going to benefit me financially.

Since I’m an average American, they won’t be naming any streets after me, nor will anyone be erecting statues of me, but I’m cool with that. Hey, somebody’s gotta sit on the curb and clap as the parade goes by.

I’ll try my hardest to be a good citizen. I won’t cause trouble. I’ll try to make life better for those around me.

What do I ask in return from those of you living way upstairs from me?

Get your own act together, and leave me and mine alone.

It’s a fair trade. You can suck up all the money and power you want. Build a few extra mansions, buy some islands, live on a yacht the size of an aircraft carrier. None of that appeals to the average American. We know we can’t be in any more than one room at a time, and we can’t fish from a yacht. In fact, from down here it looks as if you people up there aren’t particularly happy with having all those things you have. I can sit on my back porch with my wife for an hour in the evenings, and I bet I’m a whole lot more content than the guy who’s trying to figure out how to screw someone else out of a few million more dollars. I’ll keep my favorite cap. You can have the crown. That sucker doesn’t look comfortable at all.

So go ahead, greed-mongers. Grab what you can get, as long as it’s not from us average Americans. We may not have as much as you do materially, but we’re fiercely protective of — and very happy with — what we do have. Don’t believe me? Try stepping on my back porch and trying to take my grill. I’ll feed you to the fire ants.

I really don’t care what they’re doing to one another upstairs. They can roll in all the sleaze they want.

But when that sleaze starts oozing its way down to the rest of us, I’d like to remind those loft-dwellers of something.

An election year is on its way.

And that’s when the stuff will finally start rolling uphill.

Gary Stallard is a regular contributor to the Opinion page of The Lufkin Daily News. His email address is

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