The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Robin L. Quillon

May 29, 2011

You can't please a complainer

JOHNSTOWN — I love this quote by Will Rogers: “People that pay for things never complain. It’s the guy you give something to that you can’t please.”

It’s been many years since I have visited the doughnut shop my late uncle owned and operated in Virginia. It was a busy shop in the early morning hours. It was also a gathering place for many locals; and in particular, a group of seven blue- and white-collared men from various parts of the community. They would meet in the corner, sip coffee and moan and groan about anything and everything the city and/or its leaders were or were not doing.

My cousin and I would bus tables for 25 cents per hour. As I cleaned up, I would overhear their conversations. I can honestly say that I never once heard a single, positive comment uttered by this group of malcontents. I swear, the city could be giving away free gold bars and these people would complain about them being too heavy to lift. They constantly complained about stuff that happened before I was even born.

I was no more than 14 years old, but I knew enough to understand that life in our city could not possibly be that bad – all the time!

Folks, I have come to this conclusion: No one is good for nothing. You can always use them as a bad example.

To be sure, every community has tongue-wagging gadflies like the silly seven at that doughnut shop. They are easily recognizable. They are the ones who love to do nothing but sit back and complain. They know neither victory nor defeat because they are unwilling to risk lifting a finger to make things better or change what it is they are complaining about.

They are the perfect Monday morning quarterbacks. In their minds, they are great athletes. Unfortunately, every muscle in their body, except their tongues, atrophied long ago. They are angry at everything and everyone and believe the world owes them something. They are sad people who die a thousand deaths. I personally find them exhausting to be around.

We can agree to disagree because everyone has the right to his or her opinion – that’s the American way. But why are some people incapable of seeing the good in anything?

This paper recently reported on the Johnstown Area Heritage Association's 3.5 acre Festival Park. It has a new name and soon will have a new look, with planned improvements including restrooms, landscaping and a 600-seat pavilion. Years of planning and hard work on the $3 million project will get under way within weeks.

People’s Natural Gas generously donated $500,000, the final piece of the fundraising effort.

The Johns Street property now will be called Peoples Natural Gas Park.

Improvements on this brownfield location will enable the annual AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival to thrive for years to come. Good news, right?

Not according to some who posted comments on our website relating to this story. You can read them in their entirety online.

One person responded to this report by writing, “'Take away the Point, the convention center, the new park and nothing would change. No one would even notice.

“If you really think these hardly used entertainment venues do anything to help the economy of the region, I suggest you run for council or apply for a seat on the JAHA board. Your delusions make you a great fit.”

Another wrote: “How about PNG using that money to reduce our gas bills?”

And another: “You know what I see? I see senior citizens shivering in the winter because they can't afford natural gas. I see public education facing cuts in many, many areas. I see road after road with pothole after pothole. Then I see a public utility company throwing a half a million bucks down a hole while begging for rate increases.”

And another: “To me, people who insist that these public funds be spent for the benefit of a few while neglecting the many are the selfish ones.”

To the negative, exhausting, community gadflies, I offer these wise words from Proverbs:

“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.”

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at rquillon@tribdem.com.

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