Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

Time for lunch.
Cheesesticks, anyone?

Few groups hide their education levels better than Digital Slobs. Whether we ended our formal studies with a Ph.D, a GED or a DUI, society at large tends to low-ball our pedigrees.

We probably feed this perception, in part, with our slapdash wardrobes (typically, every suit a Slob owns was bought 24 to 48 hours after the death of a close relative).

Knowing this, I recently pitched a TV show for Bravo called "Slob Eye for Another Slob Guy," where four friends and I run another Digital Slob out of his apartment and, after eight hours, he returns to find we did nothing except install a 61-inch plasma TV and fill his cupboards with Hostess treats. "It's the same tears of joy without the hefty clothing and furniture allowances of certain other shows with names that rhyme," I told the TV execs. I'm expecting a callback any day now.

My penchant for unkempt couture might explain why every time I tell someone I have a master's degree, I get a look that tells me, "Oh, I thought professional pie eating was more of a vocational, rather than an academic, pursuit."

So I overcompensate, contorting my small talk to work in my advanced degree, as in, "Well, before I got my MASTER'S DEGREE, my favorite color was green, but since I graduated with my MASTER'S DEGREE, my favorite color is purple."

And for Slobs who got a TUITION-PAID ASSISTANTSHIP (did I mention I got one of those?) grad school can be a free-time embarrassment of riches, like an Oreo cookie for an anthill.

Still, no matter how late you sleep, some academe will rub off on you. It was only after enrolling in 500-level courses, for example, that I learned this tidbit: The time needed to agree on a lunch spot multiplies exponentially with the number of hungry students within earshot. Never mind partial-birth abortion or civil rights, the most intractable debate I heard on campus went along the lines of "I don't care if you've got a thing for the waitress, I hate TGI Friday's!"

This long-standing mealtime equation held true until I debunked it with my Nobel-Prize-pending thesis, "Menus and Cheesesticks: Finishing Lunch In a College Town In Time For Happy Hour."

The paper was 138 pages, so I'll spare you the details. Actually, the summary was 32 pages, so I'll spare you the summary as well. But if you find yourself in "where do we eat?" limbo, you might find it helpful to ask your group these two key questions: 1) Do you want menus, or not?, and 2) If you want menus, do you want cheesesticks, or not?

The logic is flawless for paring down choices. If you get a consensus on no menus, that leaves you with McDonald's, Taco Bell, or the hot plate in your room at the YMCA. If you want menus and cheesesticks, you've got Bennigan's or Applebee's. If you want menus and no cheesesticks, well, I think that only leaves Thai food.

So, as I've clearly illustrated, there's no limit to what you can achieve with a good education. I'm so sold on this, I may pursue my doctorate by doing a content analysis of the spam pouring into my e-mail. Most universities give you years to complete a doctoral dissertation, but I'm pretty sure I'll have mine wrapped up in time for next week's column.

Until then, anybody want to go to lunch?

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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


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