fat dumb happy


I drew this cartoon this morning, while thinking about a conversation I had a couple of years ago:

I was on the phone to an old friend of mine, a guy in his late for­ties, who was born and bred in Michi­gan, and is living there now. He was telling me about his uncle, who, about four deca­des ago, got his highschool sweetheart preg­nant. So ins­tead of going off to college, he found him­self with a new wife, a child on the way, and an assembly-line job at Gene­ral Motors. But even though this situa­tion clip­ped his wings con­si­de­rably, he still ended up having a nice life in the end, with a home, a big yard, two cars, a steady paycheck, wee­kends fishing or hun­ting deer, and vaca­tions in Hawaii every year or so. “The days where a blue collar guy like my uncle could have a nice life without doing much,” my friend said, “those days are gone. Gone fore­ver.”

And in the back of my mind, I’m thin­king the same is star­ting to hap­pen to white collar guys more and more, as well. But it’s not quite out in the open yet. Society’s not quite ready to have that con­ver­sa­tion.

I also heard a statistic a couple of weeks ago that there are at least thirty million children in China currently taking piano lessons. Thirty. Million.

We live in interesting times…

[Update: ]“Thousandists”: My long-time Spanish blog buddy, Nia left an interesting comment below:

That con­ver­sa­tion about white-collar jobs is four years old in Spain.

This is the short ver­sion: The peo­ple who were in their 20-30s in the 1970s saw that a Uni­ver­sity degree made a big dif­fe­rence in your job and salary. They made their kids (anyone born 1970?–?1985) study, and that young gene­ra­tion belie­ved for a while that we could do the same trick as our parents. Get a degree. The job will follow.

We now have a word for peo­ple of my gene­ra­tion with a hand­ful of degrees: mileu­ris­tas. Thou­san­dists. As in, someone who makes around 1,000 euros a month. There’s so many of us, no one’s willing to pay us more than a (barely) living wage.

[Backs­tory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Twit­ter. Limi­ted Edi­tion Prints. Car­toon Archive. News­let­ter. Book. Inter­viewEssen­tial Rea­ding:Everything You Always Wan­ted To Know About ‘Cube Gre­na­des’ But Were Afraid To Ask.”]


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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark