It is no wonder we have become a country that has no idea what it means to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” As a child, this was a common thing heard in my home.
The “official” explanation of the phrase is:
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps
Improve your situation by your own efforts.
The origin of this descriptive phrase isn’t known. It refers of course to boots and their straps (laces) and to the imagined feat of a lifting oneself off the ground by pulling on one’s bootstraps. This impossible task is supposed to exemplify the achievement in getting out of a difficult situation by one’s own efforts.
It was known by the early 20th century. James Joyce alluded to it in Ulysses, 1922:
“There were others who had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps.”
A more explicit use of the phrase comes a little later, from Kunitz & Haycraft’s British Authors of the 19th Century:
“A poet who lifted himself by his own boot-straps from an obscure versifier to the ranks of real poetry.”
Some early computers used a process called bootstrapping which alludes to this phrase. This involved loading a small amount of code which was then used to progressively load more complex code until the machine was ready for use. This has led to use of the term ‘booting’ to mean starting up a computer.
Paula Deen is a woman who knows exactly what “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” means. She has done it, and has become a huge success in the process. This seems to be a problem for some people.
Paula’s life has not always been the success that it is now. Though she started out living “the American Dream” in Georgia, in 1989 her dream world shattered. Not long after the death of her parents, her marriage to her high school sweetheart failing, she ended up in a divorce. When she left her husband, she had $200 in her pocket and two teenage sons to provide for.
Paula is one of us True GRITS (for those of you above the Mason-Dixon line that’s “Girls Raised In The South), and it has a meaning that is just as tough as true grit! True GRITS are raised to understand that life is tough, but it is what you make it. You can choose to wallow around in your situation, or you can choose to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and get to gettin’!
While Paula Deen is now the perky bundle of grandmotherly giggles that she is now, during the years right after her divorce, life, tragedy and hardships took their toll on her. Her outlook wasn’t quite as bright as it is now- in fact, it was quite a bit more dim. She battled agoraphobia, and eventually, she and her boys were nearly homeless.
Back to those bootstraps.
Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside and started “The Bag Lady,” a home-based meal delivery service that marked the start of Paula’s professional cooking. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering “lunch-and-love-in-a-bag,” beginning in June 1989, Paula turned around her life by using what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.
Paula is a true American success story. She
has overcome “poverty, doubt and agoraphobia to achieve success and acclaim she could never have imagined.”
Paula’s success has not changed who she is. She is still the “genuine” person she always was, “full of love” and just as real as she was before she become the American icon she is today.
Sadly, there are some who do not admire her True GRIT tenacity.
In a recent TV Guide interview, fellow chef Anthony Bourdain criticized Paula, saying Deen
“revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is ******* bad for you … plus, her food sucks.” He also called her the “worst, most dangerous person in America.”
So much for professional courtesy!
In True GRIT fashion, when interviewed on FOX News, Paula responded by saying she was “shocked”, wondering if it’s a “publicity thing” or
maybe ”“somebody had just peed in his bowl of cereal that morning.”
Gotta love that True GRITS attitude!
Truth be known, that True GRITS attitude is what is missing in society today! So much of our society has come to depend on the government when they fall on hard times, rather than the God-given strength that we are all given.
I’m not sure how Mr. Bourdain comes to the conclusion that Paula is the “most danger person in America”, but one could very well call into question his mental capacity if he truly sees things that way. With our society in the shambles it is currently in, a lady who has not depended on the government to get her out of hard times, but rather has made something of herself in spite of her circumstances, most certainly should be admired and used as an example rather than condemned.
On second thought- Paula Deen may very well be the most dangerous person in America- for the government! If she is the example to follow, big government will fail!