Have any of you ever actually seen a boot with straps on it? Could you draw me a picture of a bootstrap? If you use the expression “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when you mean “work hard to get out of a bad situation,” you definitely haven’t and can’t.

How could I possibly know that? I’m so glad you asked.

Study this image carefully. See the little loop on the back? That’s a bootstrap. Now imagine you are wearing those boots and you slip and fall into a steaming pile of bullshit. Now try to extract yourself from the bullshit using only your upper body. Pull on that little loop. See if it helps.

It is physically impossible to pull yourself anywhere — let alone up — by your bootstraps.

You might want to remember this the next time you hear a politician saying that hard-working Americans don’t need health insurance or social programs because they can always just pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they fall on hard times.