Lutz was inspired to write it by his 18-year-old son, Cody, who decided to take a year off before starting college, and seemed content to spend his time lying on Lutz's couch watching TV. Lutz found that his son's behavior angered him, and this anger troubled him, because in his own youth he had spent a fair number of years engaged in countercultural activities not widely considered productive....Both were bullshitting, Lutz tells us.
And so Lutz set out to trace the history of society's attitudes toward working and slacking. He begins with two 18th-century giants who professed opposite views. On one side stands Benjamin Franklin, creator of the archetypal workaholic, Poor Richard, who believes man has a moral duty to waste not a single moment in the relentless effort to accumulate wealth. On the other side stands Samuel Johnson, creator of the "Idler," who believes the only value of work is to enable leisure, and the highest calling is to do as little as possible....
Lutz concludes that most of us are both workaholic and slacker — "we all tend to embody a bit of both ends of the spectrum." We feel we work too hard, but also that we fritter away much of our time. We scorn the lazy and unproductive, but we long to win the lottery so we can hit the hammock ourselves. We criticize our kids for doing exactly what we did when we were their age.I put a lot of mental energy into thinking about whether I'm working too hard and about whether I'm goofing off all the time. Then there's that strange intermediate idea -- Barry talks about it -- where you think about how the seeming goofing off is really part of the work -- warming up, somehow, or gestating material. This blog is the very essence of all that.
One of the benefits of being single -- a topic we were just talking about -- is that there's no one keeping an eye on you, passing judgment on you for working too hard and goofing off too much -- which you know you are. You're probably doing both, right? You're surely doing at least one. And shouldn't your goofing off time be more active and pleasurable, more dynamic and outdoorsy? And shouldn't your work be more productive, more efficient, more beneficial to all mankind? More importantly, what's on TV?