Make My Day: MIGHT AS WELL BE UNDER A ROCK
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- It's the end of an era. Okay, actually it's just = the end of a year. But what a year it was! It was a year of meeting people,=
having pictures taken of you all the time, and have everyone think you're = either cool or the weirdest person on Earth.
No, I'm not talking about Robert Downey, Jr., I'm talking aboutDotC= omGuy. You remember him, don't you? I didn't think so. I didn't remember hi= m either.
For the 99.9 percent of you who couldn't give a rat's patootie, Dot= ComGuy (or "DCG" as he is known to his friends and people who don't want to= type "DotComGuy" over and over) was the extreme in online observation and = experimentation. The ex-computer systems programmer formerly known as Mitch= Maddox (he even legally changed his name toDotComGuy) agreed to spend one = year in voluntary exile in a house in Dallas. Twenty-five cameras followed = everything he did, including sleeping (only the bathroom offered him privac= y). He couldn't even leave his backyard. Everything was broadcast on his We= b site, www.dotcomguy.com, which is still up, but obviously inactive. =
Armed with only a laptop and an Internet connection, DCG bough tall of= his food, furniture, entertainment, and clothing online. He basically furn= ished a house and stocked his refrigerator with Internet purchases, and liv= ed there for an entire year -- 366 days, to be exact.
Think you couldn't do it? Think again. DCG was supposed to get a sa= lary of $98,000 for his efforts, plus he was allowed to keep everything he = purchased.
Sounds pretty great, huh? No bills to pay, no smog or pollution, no= pesky traffic to sit through, and ninety-eight thousand bucks just for sit= ting around the house in your underwear. If people could get paid for doing= that kind of thing, I know some people who should be millionaires by now.
Think of it! No waiting in lines, no angry crowds at airports, no 4= 5 minute wait times at your favorite restaurant. No human contact whatsoeve= r.
Just the same four walls and backyard, day in and day out, week a= fter week, month after month. The same paint, the same furniture, the same = television. And just you, sitting there all alone, listening to the constan= t drip-drip-drip of the faucet, and answering the same stupid emails from v= isitors day after day.
"Dude, don't you get bored in there?"
No, because I get new, insightful, and refreshing questions like yo= urs every day.
Yep, sounds pretty ... boring. I'm getting bored just thinking abou= t it. I mean, I like a little solitude now and then, but when I'm home alon= e for more than eight hours, I start climbing the walls. I can't imagine 8,= 784 hours by myself.
But it's not just boring. It actually gets a little dramatic. = DotComGuy, Inc. started out with a dream, a laptop, and a house, and not = much else. They didn't have any start-up capital and only 10 sponsors. Some= of the sponsors included UPS, Food.com, and Travelocity, which didn't make= much sense. After all, if DCG couldn't leave his house, why would he need = an online travel service to sponsor him?
And as many of the e-tailers DCG depended on were going out of busi= ness and dotcoms were turning into dotbombs, four of his major sponsors dro= pped out of the program. DCG, Inc. was never able to secure the investment = it needed to expand its business, which may have been a blessing in disguis= e, given the number of e-companies laying off huge numbers of staff, or eve= n closing their doors this year. And even though there were enough viewers = to keep the site from becoming just another flop, they never drew more than= 200,000 visitors per month.
But, in order to keep the dream alive, and to avoid the embarrassme= nt of only being locked up in a house for six months, DCG agreed to forfeit= his salary, but was allowed to keep everything he purchased.
And when January 1, 2001 rolled around, DCG emerged from his volunt= ary house arrest, drove away on a motor scooter, and rode off into the prov= erbial sunset (even though it was 12:01 am). He announced he needed a few d= ays to himself, and headed to Walt Disney World for a vacation (looks like = Travelocity came in handy, after all).
But even though he lost the $98,000, don't feel too bad for DotComG= uy. He did in fact prove that you can find anything you want on the Interne= t. In addition to getting a tuxedo, food, a scooter, clothes, and cooking a= ppliances, DotComGuy found the one thing that every male computer geek drea= ms about: he found a real live woman.
DCG met Crystalyn Anne Holubeck, hopefully to be known as DotComGir= l or DotComWoman, in one of the chat rooms on his Web site. She became his = friend, then his girlfriend, and then on New Year's Day, DotComGuy proposed= to Holubeck. It's a match made in Cyber Heaven.
One can only hope that the happy couple has learned a thing or two = from last year's Rick Rockwell-Darva Conger fracas, and won't rush into any= thing.
But there are several things we can learn from Mitch Maddox's misad= ventures.
First, no one should be holed up in a house for a year, unless you = are, a) there as per the orders of a judge, or, b) prone to writing angry l= etters to the government.
Second, if you do accidentally commit to something like this, make sure = the house is very large, the backyard is huge, and you have access to masse= uses, cable tv, and a decent pizza delivery coverage area.
Three, legally changing your name to DotComGuy is stupid. If you have to= legally change your name, at least pick something cool and impressive.
Like "NetPhreak" or "Super Happy Fun Guy Dude."