I've worked with small business owners for more than 40 years and, in that time, as you might imagine, I've seen and heard a lot.

It does not astonish me, then, that the seemingly elite and so-called upper class among us view business owners in some stereotypically unflattering ways.

Bourgeois, uncreative, unsophisticated, greedy, there for the buck and only the buck, dull witted - it goes on and on.

Of course, there is that in many of those business guys I've met over the years.

But, interestingly, there is something else that wakes you up when you get down on the street with them, these supposed business dolts.

To them, business is liberty, the ribald freedom to punch it out on their own.

Business to them is America, the quintessential good play in a world of bad plays, in a world in which the elite, the upper class, the stone-headed intellectuals haven't a clue.

And there's something righteous to be said about all that, the liberty to make it on your own, to pick your best shot and then to risk everything - yes, everything! - simply because you've got the stones to risk everything, whether or not anyone else, all the supposed smart guys, think it's worth the risk, your little hot dog stand, your little cigar and cigarette shop, your little coaching gig, or training gig, or legal shop. You know what I mean?

So when I think about all those who keep themselves safe from the storm on the streets, like those professors in their ivory towers of academe or those long-term employees contentedly, invisibly, settled amongst the rows of numbingly identical cubicles, I've got to say this:

Hooray for my heroes, these business owners, these guys on the street.

Because it's only right down on the street, so to speak, where the true lessons of life, at least the economic ones, at least the free choice ones, at least the in-your-face ones, are encountered.

And it's only on the street where you can face the one life only you can choose to live, telling the one story, the one and only story each and every one of us is here to tell. The story called, "I AM."

That's the wow of it, this thing we're each here to pursue.

To me, this is what the act of business is all about. It's about taking it on the chin, while stretching your imagination, while challenging the impossible, while trying to remember in an increasingly inhuman world that you are human, the very apex of the word.

Anything you choose to do, on your own, by yourself, risking at the very same time the seeming sanctity of guaranteed employ, is the most honorable way, the most heroic way, the most unreasonable way to get on with your life.

Which is to make it on your own.

Which is to challenge yourself in this cruel and crueler world to go beyond yourself, continuously, to go beyond your need for someone else to make it for you.

So, all you hangers on, all you noise makers and job seekers and punters and elites, take stock of the world of commerce all around you. If it weren't there, you wouldn't be either.

It takes somebody with the guts of a storm trooper, like all those guys who open their doors every day, to keep you all employed.

Thank God for the Storm Troopers!  Huzzah!