If about four months ago you were slowly making your tired way home from work stuck in traffic on Central Expressway, you may have seen this guy standing on top of the Monticello overpass looking down at the traffic. He was wearing dirty:; cutoffs and no shirt and hadn’t shaved that day. He was laughing and jumping up and down like a crazy man. He had no job, and no job in sight.

Poor guy.

Mind you, the poor have been with us always. There are whole families who were poor for generation after generation. There are millions of people who for years believed that their ; grandparents were poor-then discovered an undisclosed inheritance of large amounts of bric-a-brac and Centennial memorabilia. These lucky millions went on to corner the flea market. An equal number of people have taken a mediocre talent, and, through sheer average intelligence and a lifetime of boring labor, turned it into an unremarkable income.

But we’re not talking about the Great Unwealthed now. We’re talking about the economy’s kamikazes, those calm, casual casual ties of self-inflicted negative cash flow who opted for being broke before being broke was cool. We’re talking Druppies. Dropped-out Urban Professionals. Some people call them unemployed. They generally call themselves ’’freelancers.”

You can divide the working world into three camps. Your Yuppies, for whom an honest day’s work means an honest day’s small fortune. Then there are the hipsters, artistes, and congenital freelancers. And then there are those for whom the world is not so clearly divided. These are the guys who went to school and got a good education and a good job not because they wanted to. but because they thought they were supposed to want to.

If this kind of person makes the mistake of thinking about his plight for long, he enters that intermediate stage between Yuppie and Druppie: he becomes a Fed-uppie. The Fed-uppie will gaze out the window and see the sun shining and realize that he’s stuck in an office building with God knows how much asbestos floating around doing something he’s not particularly interested in. And if the feeling gets strong enough, he quits. Gives himself the rest of every day off. Steps out to eternal lunch. Goes freelance.

So corners must be cut: cut the ones you care about least. It’s trial and error. One freelancer, in order to save his food money for beer, decided to make “real pit barbecue” himself rather than send out for it. He dug a hole in the courtyard of his apartment complex, threw in some charcoal and a ten-pound roast, covered the whole thing up with dirt, and started inviting friends over. The results, eight hours later, were neither pretty nor edible, but creative, and evidence of the freelance spirit.

To find out if you’re ready to become a freelance Druppie, see if you agree with the following statements:

Work’s not supposed to be fun.

Without a regular job, I’d have no sense of belonging.

I’d starve in a month.

If you agree with the above, you are not a freelance Druppie kind o’ guy. Congratulations. Life will be dull and easy. If you wrinkled your nose at the above, however, just save up a few bucks and then do it.

If you’ve been involuntarily pushed-sucked dry by the Dracu-laconomy, de-energized by the energy bidness, laid low by high-tech, and then finally laid off-don’t worry. Something will inevitably come along for you to do: this is your golden opportunity to make sure that, this time, it’s something you like doing.

Hold it, you say. Who’s this clown with a typewriter to be passing out all this free advice? Where does he get off, anyway?

About four months ago is where. For the record, I was the guy on the Monticello Bridge, the poor guy in the cutoffs. That was a nice afternoon. So was yesterday. So were all the ones in between. Yeah, I might have looked a little deranged up there on that bridge. But I sure didn’t look stuck in traffic.


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