Asked to create a cartoon for
The Connection, Scott Adams
whipped up this one—all too
familiar for Costco members.
THE COSTCO CONNECTION: Hey, wait, how do we
know this is the real Scott Adams and not Alice or
SCOTT ADAMS: Alice would be too busy, Wally
would be too lazy and Catbert doesn’t care if you
live or die, much less that you get your questions
CC: Wow, 20 years! Did you ever think the comic strip
would last this long, even in your wildest dreams?
SA: I have pretty wild dreams. I wake up every day
disappointed that things haven’t worked out as well
as I hoped. But I suppose that’s what makes me
In the tiny and somewhat unimportant rational
part of my mind, I have believed for the past 20
years that newspapers would be extinct in the next
five. That’s why I try to avoid being rational.
CC: Certainly Dilbert would have something cryptic
to say on this anniversary. What would it be?
SA: He’d say that celebrating an arbitrarily round
number in a base- 10 counting system is irrational.
CC: You obviously hit a nerve with Dilbert ... sometimes like when the dentist hits a tooth nerve. What
has surprised you most about the huge popularity of
the comic strip?
SA: I was most surprised that people wanted comics
about the workplace at all. Dilbert started out more
generic. He was always an engineer, but he spent
little time at the office in the first three years or so.
When my incoming e-mail convinced me the office
comics were the most popular, I shifted gears and
made it about work.
CC: Of your two original main characters, you have
revealed that Dogbert is loosely based on your old
family dog, Lucy. Who’s Dilbert based on?
SA: Dilbert is partly me and partly a blend of engineers I have worked with. His physical appearance is
modeled after one person, and I have never revealed
his identity. In fact, the human prototype of Dilbert
is unaware of his role.
CC: I have to ask this: If you were a tree, which one
would you be? And, hey, that last message was sent
via BlackBerry. You are not driving, are you?
SA: I’d like to be a bonsai tree, preferably in someone’s
family room so I can watch TV. I’m not outdoorsy.
CC: On a serious note, what’s the biggest challenge
facing workers in today’s workplace?
SA: It used to be that employees were relatively
mobile and companies stayed in one place. Now the
company can outsource to India faster than an
employee can sell his house. The risk is getting
stranded with a huge mortgage, in a bad housing
market, when your company breaks up with you.
The Dilbert cast: Back row, Alice,
Dilbert and the Pointy-Haired Boss;
front row, Wally, Ratbert, Dogbert,
Catbert and Asok the intern.