When we hear, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” we likely think of cartoonist Walter Kelly Jr.’s Pogo, the possum.

However, that likely is a derivative of a statement by which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry conveyed word of his 1813 victory over a squadron of Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie to General William Henry Harrison, writing “We have met the enemy and they are ours … .”

It has come down in many forms. Importantly, Friedrich Nietzsche expressed the thought of facing the enemy as “... the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself … .”

Nietzsche, a German classical scholar and philosopher who died in 1900, was a towering figure in the development of modern thought. His ideas strongly influenced the modern enlightenment of the late 19th century and remain potent in philosophy and several other fields yet today.

Pogo’s expression apparently is a transmigration from Nietzsche’s version.

I have long associated Pogo’s quote with Pullman and Moscow business owners.

This winter’s series of snow storms provides many examples, which I’m pleased to share with you.

You would think that business folks would want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find them and enter their stores.

This years’ experience has been exacerbated by exceptional snow depths, and I note some improvement on Main Street in downtown Pullman where sidewalks have been better shoveled than in the past.

However, snow plows and sidewalk shovelers have piled the snow into a berm between the sidewalk and where cars are parked. Shoppers almost need a pole to vault the berm.

Having 83-year-old “senile” legs, there’s no way I can get over, so I just don’t shop in downtown Pullman instead of risking a visit to the hospital, or worse.

Believe it or not, some cities haul those berms off during the night when no cars are parked on the streets.

One day my wife and I decided to have a restaurant lunch. We drove to a restaurant on Pullman’s Grand Avenue and were pleased to find the parking lot well plowed.

However, there was a berm of snow right up against the door! I drove off and phoned the business, telling them that they might have more business if people could get in the restaurant.

We drove around for a few minutes and noticed that one of Pullman’s grocery store parking lots hadn’t even been plowed. Decided not to go there either; but we did double back to the restaurant and found the berm cleared, so went in for lunch.

Later in the day we went to another grocery store. Parking lot was plowed, but shoppers still had to push shopping carts through several inches of snow and the places designated for returning carts were unshoveled.

So, shoppers did what comes naturally. They left the carts for drivers to dodge.

Final example. Handicap parking spaces aren’t a good place to deposit plowed snow. And if they are plowed, pushing the snow into a berm between cars and sidewalks, isn’t exactly helpful.

But businesses sometimes are their own worst enemies in other ways.

Question: Whose brilliant idea was it to plant tall trees on Pullman’s Main Street, trees that block drivers’ views of signs in which business folks have invested thousands of dollars to attract shoppers?

If you slow down because of the obstructed view, you could get rear-ended.

Question: Why do many businesses invest in signs that are so abysmally designed that people trying to find their stores or restaurants can’t read them.

I’ve had the experience of exiting a restaurant and having someone ask me if I knew where the restaurant was.

Behind and above me was the worthless sign.

Day is a retired Washington State faculty member and a Pullmanresident since 1972. Heencourages email — pro and con — to terence@moscow.com.

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