Brother, can you spare a dime*?

“Can ye spare some cutter me brother?”

In comments Shawn wonders whether we accept donations here at Ye Olde Chuckle Hut.

The short answer is “No.”

I’ve thought on it for the better part of quite some time, because everyone likes to get paid for work, especially if they are me. And a blog, even a dime-store model like this one, is work.

Also, there are expenses. They’re not massive, but still, yeah, money goes out. None comes in.

Nevertheless, I’ve resisted setting up a subscription model, or a tip jar, for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost: The blog and its various side projects constitute a hobby, not a job. I’ve had jobs, and frankly I can’t recommend them. They suck all the joy out of work. And for what? A little bit of money.

Since 1991, when I left the newspaper game and opened my own little free-range rumormongery, I have cashed checks more or less regularly and outlived a number of publications that wrote them. 

Over the years editors and publishers occasionally proved irksome, as they will, because they are running what they believe to be businesses, not open-mic’ nights in some dank basement.

Thus the blog, which commenced sometime in the Nineties, I guess, possibly at AOL. A window to shout out of. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

At the blog I got to be not just a cartoonist, writer, or editor, but all of these things, plus photographer, videographer, podcaster, and publisher. The last four involved something of a learning curve (and still do), and a student really shouldn’t expect to get paid.

As The Patrón told Doc with a shrug in “Sweet Thursday,” “You have to pay to learn things.”

But not here. If you learn anything here, which seems highly unlikely, take it with my compliments (and a grain of salt).  The bike magazines, God love ’em — the ones that survive, anyway — haven’t caught on yet; they’re still paying me. And so is Uncle Sammy, until he gets the camps built. Direct your extra pennies to some worthy cause.

* The sharp-eyed may notice that the coin changing hands above is a quarter, not a dime. That’s inflation for you.

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13 Responses to “Brother, can you spare a dime*?”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I imagine getting paid for this would make it, as you say, a job rather than a hobby. Few people combine the two. Prof. John Sinton, who I worked with back in geochemistry at the U of H, once quipped that he was one of the luckiest men in the world because he got paid (well) to do what he wanted to do anyway. Most of us ain’t that lucky. When I abandoned my own ashram at academia to go to the dark side, John looked at me funny and said…”Los Alamos…isn’t that the little town up the road from the cool place where they parade low riders?”

    Point taken.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      When I was going great guns as a freelancer with a couple regular clients it was nuts. Everything I did for money was about cycling, at least marginally.

      Bicycle Retailer and VeloNews were both at 21 issues a year for a spell, plus special editions, and I was doing at least one cartoon per issue in each mag, plus writing the “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in BRAIN, which also did a Show Daily at Interbike (still more cartoons plus some writing). I was also doing some copy editing for BRAIN, VN, and Inside Triathlon at one point, a thankless chore that could suck all the joy out of a summer day.

      Then there was the VN website (lots of editing and the weekly “Friday’s Foaming Rant”). And Live Update Guy (at its peak, nine weeks per year of daily updates from the grand tours).

      Some days it all felt a lot like work, and frankly it caused me to lose interest in cycling for pleasure. Adventure Cyclist came along just in time, as the VN/BRAIN double-ended candle started burning down, and man, was that ever refreshing. Something new and different. No editing, no cartoons, no columning — just riding bikes and writing about them.

      Anyway, I made a living at it, kinda, sorta, and it’s probably time that I stopped doing that. There are plenty of other people who need the work, same as I did when I fled The New Mexican back in 1991.

      Herself is making the fat stacks now, plus I’m on Social Security, and we don’t need whatever money I could get from turning the blog into a paying concern, which I don’t wanna do anyway. I surfed this wave right to the damn beach and now I want to kick back in the hammock.

  2. carl duellman Says:

    i’d like to see you do a tour and write it up for adventure cyclist. i doubt it pays much but your reviews for them are usually entertaining and informative.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, Patrick, if you ever come down here to ride, whether we ride together is still an open question, you have three hots and a cot (futon, queen size no less) at Casa O’Be for the same price as you charge to entertain and enlighten my sorry ass. I hope you like Bob’s Red Mill thick rolled oats, fresh berries, and maple syraple. The invite certainly includes Herself!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. We’re sticking close to home with The Bug® on the rise again, but if we ever get free of that sonofabitch we’ll be looking long and hard at Arizona. And who doesn’t like Bob’s Red Mill?

  4. Shawn Says:

    Well my question wasn’t so much “where is the payment link” as you likely know. It was more of a real thank you for allowing me to converse with a bunch of patient (because you allow me to post gibberish (jibberish?) in your O’Grady-dom) fellow adventurers that I believe have craniums that contain more than just a few marbles.

    Thank you again and the offer of fine southwest cuisine still stands.



  5. B Lester Says:

    Yup. This all flies in the face of “you get what you pay for”. I ain’t expending jack shit, but getting some of the better parts of my day for free.

    Well, when this lets up and we can commiserate, I’ll bring Colby Longhorn cheddar, Monroe County emmentaler, New Glarus Fat Squirrel ale and Wollerscheim Prairie Fume.

    Yeah, I know, you don’t drink anymore.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    For anyone who has been a card-carrying ACLU member as long as I, this podcast interview with former ACLU Exec. Director Ira Glasser will be interesting.

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