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UNEMPLOYED IS THE NEW EMPLOYED

Long before it became hip to shop at thrift stores for second-hand clothing, I’ve been doing it; I remain doing it because it’s hip, but that’s beside the point. It just made sense to me: the same clothes, but cheaper, and for all intensive purposes, I fit in with my other middle-class friends just fine. Yet Sebastian, despite buying his clothing new from Zellers (the Walmart of the North), always managed to look poor. Whether it was awkwardly-colored Camouflage shorts or Looney Tunes t-shirts, it was unmistakable: Lesson III: Poor people intentionally dress shitty. One day, Sebastian’s father arrived unexpectedly, and without as much of a fight, was swept away with his sister to the east coast of Canada (which, for all you Americans, if full of poor people, fishermen and alcoholics), leaving their mother to live alone. Lesson IV: Poor people have shitty families. And are probably drunk, and maybe fishermen. My fifth lesson came not from Sebastian, but from the family which replaced him. Shortly after his mother moved out, a new family arrived, consisting of a single mom and two aggressive twin boys: Lesson V: All poor people are the same.

By no means is this the first time unemployment has been fashionable. In the 70s, England was suffering through a major economic recession. In response, unemployed and dissatisfied youths created the earliest punk scenes. Will punk come back in America from its Bowling For Soup pop coma? Maybe hipster culture will fuse with early 80's punk, and Deerhunter shows will be full of spike nosed, rainbow mohawked freaks. In this economy, anything is possible! Maybe homelessness will become cool. Tin cans, bindles, eating food from the garbage -- all these things will be "in." Remember the homeless fashion show in Zoolander? It'll be like that joke, only when we watch it, we'll be like, "what's so funny? I really wear a safety cone bra." The hippest restaurants will start serving food "A la hobo": half-eaten and with pigeon shit sprinkled in for decoration. The only good thing about this would be if rich people co-opted the trend, and decided to give their money away, so they can become authentically poor. I'll take it! (At that point, I won't be cool enough to be poor.) However, other than that, I'm not looking forward to seeing dirty cardboard box shirts at Urban Outfitters. Not for $48 dollars anyway.

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