Digital Slob

Curt Brandao

There’s a fine line
between them and us

From preparing for their financial futures to watching what they eat, Respectable People do a lot of really Stupid Things to Mess Up the World.

But we've come now to the Big One, from which all other stupid things flow.

No. 1) Slob envying: Though it may stun Digital Slobs, deep inside every Respectable Person is an inner Slob dying to get out. Or rather, after the institutionalized neglect of prolonged incarceration, there is an inner Slob unable to function in society and thus afraid to come out.

Respectable People secretly yearn for the Slob life, but fear the consequences. As children, despite brushing their teeth three times a day, they averaged four cavities every six months, while their Slob schoolmates remained cavity-free (evidently brushing just once a month with crushed Oreo cookies).

Such resentments continue in adulthood, as Respectable People watch Slobs sneak into movies, or get drink refills without paying the requisite 25 cents (as clearly posted), or cruise past police with car tags so old they should be carbon-dated.

Slobs rarely sweat life's small stuff. When you think about it, you're typical Slob lives just like Oprah Winfrey, if Oprah Winfrey's domestic help all went on strike at the same time.

Envious of how comfortable Slobs are in our un-exfoliated skin, Respectable People act out, doing anything to throw off our charmed-life mojo. Once, while I was telling a (admittedly) long story about throwing eight strikes in a row the first time I tried bowling, a Respectable Person interrupted and asked, "Did you know that one of your nostrils is about 10 to 15 percent bigger than the other one?"

I asked for a mirror and, sure enough, my magic was gone.

But Respectable People can't always trip us up with body-image-obliterating observations, so they usually fog our rose-colored glasses with party-pooping axioms: "You should look before you leap;" "You should crawl before you walk;" "You should know each other's names before you get married."

Slobs, however, cling to two sayings that we then merge into one. "Life is short," and, "Life is a gamble," become, "Life is a short gamble."

Once, in college, my girlfriend and I bought tickets to a Little Las Vegas Night fund-raiser, where everyone got $5,000 in pretend chips to play with, later to be cashed out for chances at door prizes.

We didn't want to bet; we came for the comedians. But we had to lose our chips somehow, preferably in one fell swoop. So we went to the ponies (tapes of old horse races viewed on a big-screen TV) and put all $10,000 on an off-white horse to win (easier to follow it around the track). It was a 20-1 shot.

The student volunteer wearing a tux at the betting table said, "Are you crazy?" with a level of seriousness I didn't expect.

"Yeah, we're pretend crazy. Just do it," I said.

Of course, Off-White won by three lengths. We stuffed the door-prize box with a pretend $200,000 in entries. My Goodfella-sounding name was called up for everything, from the free tire rotation certificate to the rubber tree plant. The pretend fix, it seemed, was pretend in. I'm sure some were waiting for the pretend feds to bust in, but there must've been a pretend snag holding up their pretend warrant.

So release your jealousy issues along with your inner Slob, Respectable People. Our secret is simple: Look for laughs, and fortune will follow.

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



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