Monday, October 25, 2010

Who are the Joneses?

The American Dream.  Two-story house, white picket fence, 2.5 children, 1 dog (less than 10 lbs), 2 cars, and the newest version of the Macbook Air.

And over $16,000 in credit card debt.  Keeping up with the Joneses has debilitated our society since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

So....I wanted to find out who these real "Joneses" were, since they have been apart of our society for decades.  After a little digging I found that the Joneses aren't real at all.....well sort of.  They are not just one set of people but actually represent an entire community.  The phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses" is the title of a comic strip by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand, first published around 1913.

There isn't much to be found about Arthur "Pop" Momand, except he lived to be 101 years old and spent the majority of his life as a portrait painter in Manhattan.  He based his infamous comic off of his experience living in Cedarhurst, NY, a town on Long Island where the average income is one of American's highest.  His comics were published until about 1945 in The New York World.

The famous comic strip "Keeping up with the Joneses" wasn't even about the Joneses.  They were the faceless neighbors of the McGinis family, a typical middle-class family trying just to keep up with their rich neighbors.  The Joneses actually never show up in print once.  It's interesting that the people they are trying to become are faceless.

We as a society are constantly trying to keep up with a faceless entity that we can't even name.  I am constantly asking myself "why?"  Why do I feel I need the latest iPhone 4, when my current cell phone works fine?  Why do I want to purchase new fall shoes when I already have fifteen pairs?  Is it required to get a $100 cable internet package to watch every commercial to remind me of what I need to buy?

So next time I find myself needing some retail therapy I am going to stop and think "Why?"  Maybe I'm just having a bad day, or not feeling confident about myself.  Or maybe I spent time looking at other people's lives and thinking if I only had "THAT" my life would be perfect like theirs.  Trust me the grass is not always greener on the other side.  No, instead I am going stop and just take a moment to think about the real issue, rather than adding another line to my credit card bill.

Staying on my side of the fence,

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