If you're gonna eat fried chicken, you've gotta get greasy

Accepting responsibility for someone or something is no small matter.

Join The Movement

You’re invited to join the beta version of the new CEO.com community platform.

CEO.com is a curated community of leaders. We exist to surround leaders with peers to expand their network, knowledge, resources, and opportunities.

Get The App

The power of responsibility

I remember the first time I felt the weight of responsibility. I was young, recently married, making $7.25/hour managing a Gandolfo’s Deli in my hometown.

One night, my wife and I were out doing what poor newlyweds do in sleepy Spanish Fork, Utah. We went to the dollar store. To get wild, we bought a $1 pregnancy test.

We took home a box of Milk Duds and the test, hoping to make a night of it. When we returned home, riding high on Dr. Pepper and sugar beads, she took the test into the bathroom laughing.

She didn’t come out laughing. It was positive. No need for alarm, I thought. It’s just a cheap dollar-store test. We got back in the car and bought a real one. Then it was back to the bathroom — this time with a nervous laugh — while I paced in the hallway.

Another positive result. We repeated this process several times, achieving the same result each try. I quickly calculated how much money we’d wasted on all those expensive tests. Then reality set in.


Holding one of the positive tests, I sat on the bathtub’s edge. It was there, facing an uncertain future, that I felt responsibility’s weight for the first time. It was heavier than I expected it to feel.

There was no point in asking how it happened. As the old sayin’ goes, if a man’s gonna eat fried chicken, he’s gotta get greasy. The time had come to grow up and take responsibility; it didn’t matter we were kids ourselves.

That positive test led to my son. He’ll turn 18 in a couple of weeks. On Tuesday, we discovered he was cancer-free after enduring a gauntlet of chemotherapy these past few months. I left that room feeling lighter — knowing my most cherished responsibility was sticking around.

To accept responsibility for someone or something is no small matter. At times, the weight can feel unbearable, unfair, and unnecessary. Why must we pay a mental and physical toll to live a life?

Keep going. A little grease is worth it.