Grown-ups don't whine

ASSOCIATED PRESS Kobe shoots - but Ronnie blocks his shot.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Kobe shoots - but Ronnie blocks his shot.
Posted: June 16, 2013

IT'S BEEN ONE of those weeks where I read the news and can't stop yelling, "Where's your accountability? Stop whining!"

Exhibit A: Kobe Bryant.

For years, the 34-year-old former Lower Merion basketball phenom and current NBA star stored his crap at his parents' house here. Maybe there wasn't enough room in his $4 million California mansion for his sweaty old high-school jerseys, trophies, jockstraps and whatever else athletes are reluctant to part with, let alone launder.

Instead, Kobe left it to mom Pamela Bryant to keep track of his memorabilia. She eventually put it all in storage, at a cost of $1,500 a month for five years. Only when she made plans to auction it off, potentially netting herself a $1.5 million windfall, did it occur to Kobe that he should've kept track of it himself.

My folks had a different method of forcing their nine adult kids to get our crap out of the house. They put it on the front lawn and said, "You want it? Come get it or it goes out with the trash on Friday."

Bottom line is, Kobe Bryant's a grown man. And he's so stinkin' rich he could've hired a Lakers fan to safeguard his mementos 24/7 for the next 10 years and it still would've cost less than the legal fees it took to resolve, this week, the Pamela vs. Kobe fiasco.

Exhibit B: Those unpaid interns on the set of "Black Swan."

This week, a federal judge sided with unpaid interns who worked on the Oscar-nabbing "Black Swan," and then complained that they should've been paid.


You know why companies don't pay interns? Because interns aren't qualified to be paid money to work there. That doesn't mean they're not talented and bright. But most workplaces need you to be experienced, too.

So interns are paid with mentoring, instruction, advice and connections. And by the time the internships end, they'll have real-life work experience that could lead to paid employment somewhere else.

It worked for me. Thirty years ago, I worked two days a week as an unpaid intern at Philadelphia magazine while juggling a full course load at Temple University and working 20 hours a week as a hospital clerk.

It was exhausting but that's what hard work is about. And - surprise! - I wound up with paid work as a result. Maybe that's why it never occurred to me to go to court about it.

Why can't the "Black Swan" interns accept that they were young and inexperienced before they got on the set? And that, thanks to their high-profile internships, that's no longer the case? In fact, having "Black Swan" on their resumes will get them job interviews they'd never get without that cred.

Grown-ups don't sue their mentors. They say "thank you."

Exhibit C: The Market Street building collapse.

Never has there been so much blame to share in a Philadelphia catastrophe and never have so few people been willing to acknowledge the possibility that they own any part of it.

Good luck getting an admission of culpability out of despicable slumlord millionaire Richard Basciano, who owns the death site and has remained sequestered in his posh digs in Symphony House.

Don't wait for accountability from contractor Griffin Campbell, who said, through his lawyer, that he never instructed pothead demo operator Sean Benschop to use an excavator to take down the building.

Heads are in the sand at Licenses & Inspections, where everyone stands by the myth that everything looked fine before the collapse.

Mayor Nutter apologized to the public for the collapse but didn't specify where or how he believed his city had done wrong.

The only player who acknowledged his part in the tragedy was L&I inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer. He took his life Wednesday night after saying, in a video sent to family, that he'd never even gotten out of his truck on the day he "inspected" the site.

Suicide is a harsh punishment, and my heart goes out to Wagenhoffer's family. I wish he hadn't taken his life, because blame for the catastrophe does not belong to him alone. Yet he has been the only one willing to accept - without excuses, explanations or dissembling - any accountability for his part in it.

Could this thing get any worse?


Phone: 215-854-2217

On Twitter: @RonniePhilly



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