Willie Wilkerson was a real whiner. He wouldn’t last a day at The Change Companies, where we’ve posted a corporate sign promoting a unique solution to life’s challenges. It says: “Buck up. Eat a banana. Walk around the block.”

This message certainly could have helped my friend Willie. He always felt ignored and underappreciated. He schlepped through life under a dark cloud of self-pity.

I knew Willie back when I hung out at a local bar named Lucky’s. Everyone who wasn’t lucky used to meet there after work to feed on each other’s narcissistic tendencies. Willie’s specialty was being a victim of his boss, his wife, his neighbor and a wide range of local, state and federal government agencies.

Nothing was Willie’s fault. When it came to action, he was always a scheming spectator. Willie could spend two hours and five beers describing why parking meters were constitutionally illegal and how his aging collection of tickets served as a symbol of his patriotism. “Why don’t all of us fill these damned envelopes with cat poop and mail them to the mayor?” Willie shouted to the rest of us sitting on barstools.

Today, I think of how Willie compares to the responsible employees of The Change Companies. Our sign is just a few phrases strung together, but it represents some clear alternatives to life’s choices.

As individuals, we can either buck up or whine.

We can either eat a banana or drink another beer.

We can either walk around the block or twirl dizzily on a barstool.

Whenever I feel like giving up on a worthy challenge, I think of Willie Wilkerson while I’m lacing up my red high-tops.