Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

Slobism No. 1 is sure
to boost the economy

Every lifestyle, if it is to avoid oblivion, must develop axioms to live by. And since an axiom is little more than an assertion of truth minus the legwork, Digital Slobs are tailor-made to develop an entire tome of baseless principles in-between our daily grinds (computer Solitaire eventually runs its course).

Thus, as part of my training with the renowned study-at-home video series, "10 Steps to Becoming a Believable, Suicidal Cult Guru While Buying Real Estate With No Money Down," I've developed some dictums that I've decided to term "Slobisms."

Therefore, as part of an intermittent series that has no advance warning, no logical order and no structure (the video says creating stress through uncertainty is a pillar of any cult/entrepreneurial program) the first such Slobism, and its explanation, follows:

Slobism No. 1: Creditors live for the chase.

Whether due to layoffs, family needs, or court orders, Digital Slobs change their residences so often that many of us are addicted to the adhesive fumes emanating from the change-of- address stickers on our mail. Given this, even the most conscientious Slob might be forgiven if he skipped town without getting all square with the utilities he employed, whether they were public (water, telephone, electricity) or private (cable TV, ex-girlfriends' CD collections, bookies).

But even if your omissions are a few Britney Spears open-mouth kisses away from innocent, keep in mind your reneging may provide more fuel for the economy than your sure-to-bounce personal check ever would.

In just a few weeks, the anti-telemarketing effort will boot up with a do-not-call list almost 42 million phone numbers strong, and shortly thereafter many suddenly laid-off telemarketers could very well transform into tele-henchmen for collection agencies, making that subtle segue from bothering you on the phone to berating you on it. Despite their mind-control techniques and their warm-ups with the load-bearing elastic lining that is the envy of the Corp of Engineers, these are solid, working-class people who deserve to afford their annual allotment of Cheetos, Pop-Tarts and "Jerry Springer: Too Hot for TV" tapes.

Now, I'm not saying you should willfully fail to live up to the obligations above your signature on various dotted lines just to boost national employment figures (and thus save the country); I'm just asking you to think about whether the other party -- say, your cable company -- was the first to make a contractual breach. Think hard. Did your service work perfectly? Didn't the Discovery Channel for Kids always come in a little bit fuzzy? And where's your reimbursement for that two-hour, eight-minute outage caused by an old lady down the block who tried to prune her trees while wearing glasses prescribed in 1989?

However, before trying to live up to this Slobism, you must ask yourself one vital question: Is this fantasy -- crossing the state line in a convertible unable to control your maniacal giggles with a kidnapped cable box converter riding shotgun as three dozen Smokies ride your tail until you veer off and grab the working end of your converter's electrical chord so you can both pull a "Thelma & Louise" over a nearby cliff to make a statement against the evils of globalization -- worth an extra point-and-a-half interest rate on your first mortgage three to 15 years from now?

Tough call, but first axioms are always the toughest to live up to.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Curt Brandao is the Star-Bulletin's production editor. Reach him at:


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