I think I’m a mouse potato. Not a mouse, not a potato, but a mouse potato.
I’d like to think this is a cut above a couch potato, but perhaps it isn’t. It’s just swapping one screen for another: instead of being stuck in front of the TV screen, I’m stuck in front of the computer screen, constantly using that little ol’ mouse.
But let’s back up just a minute. Where did the phrase "couch potato" come from? Obviously, the couch part is because folks who sit for long periods of time in front of their TV sets are typically lounging on couches. But why potato?
A quick search of the Internet turned up the following background info in Wikipedia:
The actual term "couch potato" was first coined in 1976 by a friend of American underground comics artist Robert Armstrong. In the early-1980s, he registered the term as a trademark with the U.S. government….The term eventually entered common American vocabulary, generally defining one who unceasingly watches television as a form of "Transcendental Vegetation (TV for short)." … [Author Jack] Mingo, the Minister of Information and Propaganda for the official Couch Potatoes organization, explained why the potato was chosen as a vegetable role model: "We're an underground movement, we're all eyes when planted in front of the TV, vegetation is an important part of our existence, and we're Tubers. Get it?" The potato was also chosen because of the potato chips that couch potatoes ate while watching television.
So, what about a mouse potato? This is much worse than being a computer geek or computer nerd. Those types are smart!
I know very little about computers (so I’m not a geek) but I certainly seem to be addicted to mine. It’s one of the first things I reach for each morning. I get a cold diet Coke out of the refrigerator (I’m not a coffee drinker but must have my caffeine some way!) and then I plop down in front of the computer.
The little laptop allows me to stay in touch with family and friends; I keep my calendar of appointments, meetings, birthdays and special events on the computer; I pay bills online; I buy and sell on eBay and on Craig’s List. I maintain two blogs (this one and “A is for Anecdotes”); I keep contact information for friends and business associates and even find long-lost friends.
Sometimes I play Buzztime Trivia and Scrabulous. I test my skills with other games as well. I receive pictures of family members and, of course, the endless forwards from various people. Sometimes I read them and sometimes I just have to delete them.
The computer accompanies me when I go out of town, whether for pleasure or for business.
I keep up with news; sometimes I do in-depth research.
And now, I’ve found some really good news while sitting at the computer with my diet Coke. It has to do with couch potatoes AND mice. Researchers have developed an exercise pill! Look at this from Associated Press:
Here's a couch potato's dream: What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat? Scientists reported Thursday that there is such a drug - if you happen to be a mouse.
Sedentary mice that took the drug for four weeks burned more calories and had less fat than untreated mice. And when tested on a treadmill, they could run about 44 percent farther and 23 percent longer than untreated mice…. [S]omeday, researchers say, such a drug might help treat obesity, diabetes and people with medical conditions that keep them from exercising.
"We have exercise in a pill," said Ron Evans, an author of the study. "With no exercise, you can take a drug and chemically mimic it."
Thanks to oddsock at Flickr for picture of couch potato and to greencolander at Flickr for the photo of the pills.