Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

Save the Earth, share
files at the same time

If you were about to meet someone for the first time who was described as "kind of a Digital Slob," chances are a picture would pop into your head.

Less symmetrical, more asymmetrical. Less Calvin Klein, more Picasso. Less Charlize Theron in "The Italian Job," more Charlize Theron in "Monster."

Fair enough. But Americans in general have too many chunky lumps in hidden places (and too many hidden places for that matter). Still, Slobs do our part adding some bulky bottoms to that bottom line.

Some of us, however, are sacrificing ourselves for the greater online good.

Someone has to beta test all these browsers. Someone has to backward-engineer digital photos and snail-mail them to our analog ancestors. Who else is going to do it? Not hyper-vain Respectable People, who wear so much makeup to spinning class they come out looking like glazed donuts. They want us sitting on that broadband connection. They NEED us sitting on that broadband connection.

And as if fatsos got a free ride up to now, the Centers for Disease Control reported recently that obesity costs taxpayers almost $40 million a year.

I'm sure that's true, but it seems a bit unfair, and even lazy science, to pick on the plump. We hardly ever move, so how hard could it be to catch, tag and release us back into the wild?

And it's not like living healthy is without risk. Who has the guts to choke down a tofu burger without someone nearby to do the Heimlich maneuver?

Not that I'm going easy on myself or my fellow over-ample Slobs. In fact, I fear our girth may be causing global warming. The CDC says 60 percent of America is overweight or obese. Since that represents about 175 million people, it looks like America is 13 billion to 17 billion pounds overweight -- a little past just switching to the light salad dressing at this point.

Now, I'm no astrophysicist (that's for us to know, and the hiring committee at MIT to discover through its normal vetting process) but if the solar system works anything like most state fair thrill rides, heavy things spiral closer to a center of gravity than lighter things.

That's right: I think fat Americans may be pulling the planet closer to the sun. Certainly, that would explain all the nasty looks we're getting at the U.N.

Think about that the next time you finish off a box of Twinkies and you see another chunk of ice break off the Antarctic on CNN.

And these hefty trends are tough to reverse. When compared to an oak tree, many Digital Slobs have about the same metabolic rate, and can post only slightly better times in the 50-yard dash.

But I have an idea. Let's start running all computers on pedal power. It worked for my grandmother on her sewing machine. She kept my sister in Shirley Temple knock-offs all through the 1950s, and her cardiovascular system ran like a Swiss watch. She was still out raking leaves well into her 80s while I sat inside as a boy getting winded just trying to build a Lego firehouse according to the specs on the box.

I know a few Slobs who haven't seen their toes since 1982 who'd pedal for days if that was the only way they could get a pirated copy of "Return of the King" off Kazaa. Get them on a wireless network and they could win the Tour de France.

Greed and delinquency may not do much for intellectual property rights, but deftly directed, they might just save the planet.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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


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