The Best Thing You’ll See Today

My blog is only two and a half months old and I’ve been trying to establish a rhythm.  I’ve been putting out my main posts on Tuesdays which tend to be longer content, with an additional post on Fridays.  The Friday posts have been mostly Turnip FIRE! posts till now, but I’m going to start switching them between Turnip FIRE! posts and other content.

If you’re not familiar with Turnip FIRE!, please check it out if you have a second.  They’re very short “satirical financial news” pieces written in the style of a certain famous website I’m sure you’re familiar with.  I think we need more humor in life, and although I may not be that funny, I’m trying.  Help me make money funny.

For the Friday pieces that will not be Turnip FIRE!, I will post about something cool or perhaps ridiculous that I’ve found on the web related to money, finances, or retirement.  The mainstream media gives me plenty of fodder for the “ridiculous” category, so I think I’ll have options.

Today’s post however, is definitely about something cool.  This is actually beyond cool, to me it’s an amazing piece of art:

*Do yourself a favor and watch this very short video from an artist named Steve Cutts.*

Yeah, that was pretty amazing wasn’t it?  In four minutes he beautifully and hilariously illustrates what so many (most?) Americans are doing with their lives. 


This Will Make Me Feel Better

They’re on a treadmill to nowhere of instant gratification, magic elixirs, new stuff, and medication.  And they’re chained to their desks like mice caught in a trap working in jobs they hate to make the money necessary to get those things. 

All in the desperate, fruitless pursuit of something called “happiness”.  And the vicious cycle goes round and round.

As the video points out, society has assaulted us with the dogma that happiness can be bought.  Be it coke, hot dogs, TVs, cars, pills, or liquor.

Once the “treadmill of stuff acquisition” is hopped on, it’s really hard to get off.  Like George Jetson screaming to Jane for help, we’re stuck and we don’t know how to get off this crazy thing.

Sports car

Modern Happiness

A good artist conveys a strong message in his or her art, and this guy hit a home run on this video.  I had to watch it a few times to see all the funny stuff.  Go slow through the escalator scene and take note of all the funny signs in the mall about buying happiness.  This guy’s good.

Then there’s the kid spray painting the male-parts on the sports car when he’s stuck in traffic.  I’m from Baltimore, I can totally see that happening in my hometown and it probably has.

The message is, your stupid sports car doesn’t matter.  You’ll be happy for maybe a few months tops then you’ll probably be back to normal.  And oh yeah, someone will ding the bumper parallel parking in the city and then kids will spray paint boy-parts on it.  Just don’t bother.

I was glad to stumble upon this video and I hope you enjoy it too.  It’s a perfect piece of art that illustrates the message we’re trying to send here in the financial independence community.  Send it to your friends, family, or co-workers and let’s spread the FIRE!

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35 Responses

  1. Team CF says:

    Man that video is good! Thanks for the share.

  2. i really want this movie to get made! i’ve been thinking along the same lines of needing to have some yucks and guffaws while building our golden stairways. you’ll live longer if you laugh, mark it down.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing that video today. The trap at the end really sends it home and why I had to take my chances with early retirement this year. Enough was enough, although I do find it hard sometimes not buying a few of the things I really want. That being said it’s about retraining ourselves to focus on the things that we really need instead

    • Accidental Fire says:

      We’re both really into outdoor sports so yeah, that’s a gear nirvana! I commiserate, it is hard to resist the temptation of that new hardshell or those new Salomon hikers. And I know you review gear on your site, that’s something I’m not sure I could do as I’d probably start buying everything for review. My basement already resembles a mini REI as it is.

      I went all of last year without buying any outdoor gear, including outdoor sports performance clothing. Most of my stuff is still holding up nicely but I might need to make a few small purchases this year.

      Thanks for the comment and the Facebook share!

  4. Cary says:

    Thanks for sharing! Those prostitute rats with the 6-bit covering bikini tops might have been my favorite part. It’s well worth taking a slow stroll through that video to catch all the awesomeness. And the artist has some other great videos well worth the watch.

    My life has improved so much since learning how to internalize goals and stop comparing every aspect of my life to people around me. Life can be so much easier if you just allow it to be.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      The multi-kini is hilarious, I didn’t catch that till the second time. It’s so good….

      Comparison is the devil. It’s natural though, so we have to fight evolution to stop it. A never ending battle.

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Arrgo says:

    Awesome video. Loved the message and attention to detail. I’ll have to watch it again to read more of the signs. Liked the 60″ “plasma” tv. A good reminder that you have to keep working to pay for all of the excess in your life. Cut out all the unnecessary things and you can work much less or even not at all. You dont want to have to work till 60 or 65 for the man just to pay off all your ridiculous purchases.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Yeah the Black Friday scene was a favorite, with rat-limbs flying around. Hilarious stuff. But remember a Walmart employee got trampled to death a few years back on Black Friday so unfortunately not too far from the truth. Sad.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Kris says:

    Nice video!! Thanks for sharing it. It’s great message that the happiness of waiting in line for Black Friday sales, driving a cool car, and taking pills are just instant gratification and are wants, not needs. Eliminating such wants can have you leave this rat race earlier than the standard age of 65.

  7. That video is epic! Hilarious and sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m still laughing!

  8. Ha – those are both new things to me.

  9. BusyMom says:

    Really liked that scene where it gets stuck in the trap and starts typing 🙂

    By the way, your words before the signup box says “Join the millions of others
    who want to sign up but haven’t found this URL!” Is that what you wanted to say? Join? Leave?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      That’s my cheeky way of saying millions of people want to sign up but don’t know it yet. Perhaps I need to re-phrase the language 🙂

  10. Perfect video!

    It needs to be shown to every 18 year old who is leaving high school and entering the work force or college. If only we could teach these concepts to the youth in masses at very young ages, then our culture wouldn’t be in the financial state it is.

    Thanks for the share!

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Yeah this would be a great video for high schoolers, but I don’t know if they’d be able to relate to the rat slaving away on the keyboard. You probably have to experience 5-10 years of the working world to understand how it can grind you down.

  11. Very cool piece of animation! I’m not quite so pessimistic about our world as the video but there is something about our society that makes certain people feel trapped in that search for happiness.

  12. susanfiideas says:

    Thank you for a great laugh. I had to watch it a few times to catch some of the details. The prescription drug part and emergency room scene are so true. That and drinking himself silly with the booze. That short video has so much wisdom packed in. I especially enjoyed that the rat trap was also the cubicle desktop!

  13. need2save says:

    As others mentioned, the attention to detail was amazing. It’s unfortunate that so many people are in this rat race, searching for happiness.

  14. Such a funny video, and then you realize it’s actually true which is just so sad.

  15. hey dear,
    this info is very wonderful, thank you so much for sharing….

  16. getagrip says:

    While it was a good video and reminder about the dangers of consumerism, sometimes I wonder if it’s actually accurate for as many people as the media and community make it out to be. Over the holidays I was with family and friends and many of them aren’t trying to conquer the world, aren’t about getting the next new gadget, or following the latest fashion or fad and when I look back most aren’t about that at all. In general, many are and have been just looking to work a decent job, have a decent house, take a vacation once a year, and enjoy their kids and family. It’s not that they haven’t had hardships, it’s just how they have accepted their lives. One summed up his needs with, “I want to be warm in the winter, cool in the summer, have a pot to piss in, a place to shower, and food available.” You know what, despite it, with that minimal mindset, he’ll likely do just fine. Frankly, many of my friends and relatives have done just fine and by the odds will retire sometime in their late 60’s on something that will get them by. So sometimes I wonder if it’s more about hitting a point in life where you feel trapped versus are actually trapped, and if you never actually hit that point or feel that way and are content with what you have, then FI is less important as a primary driver to you. It think many FI folks are planners, look long range, but I see many of my family and friends as short range and living today figuring tomorrow will work itself out and they put little effort into it.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      This is a great comment! I agree, the artist is creating a caricature. And by nature a caricature is an exaggeration. Is everyone like what he depicted? Of course not. Many folks are by all appearances doing fine, taking it day by day, and figuring it out.

      But I would also offer that the average retirement savings for a 50 year old with a family in America (depending on whose numbers you use) is about $110,000. Not even close to what they need. Additionally, the average adults in that family are overweight or obese, and according to reports about 20% of them are on anti-depressants. So have we gotten to the point where the term “they seem to be getting by fine” has been lowered so much to assign that description to folks who haven’t saved adequately for retirement, who have a 20% chance of being on anti-depressants, and who have to work so much to pay for the stuff they don’t need that they don’t have time to take care of their own bodies?

      Just playing devils advocate. 🙂 But yes, I agree with you that the picture in the video is obviously exaggerated.

      I like your remark about felling trapped versus actually being trapped, lots to contemplate there…

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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