Diary of a Web Potato

THE MAN FORMERLY known as Mitch Maddox has become the world's first full-time WebPotato. Renaming himself Dot-ComGuy, the 26-year-old moved into a bare Dallas townhouse January 1st and has vowed to stay inside for a year, living entirely off items he orders from the Internet. Excerpts from his online diary are printed below:

Day 1: This is a great idea—I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner! Who needs the lines and traffic and hassle of the real world, when I can make the world come to me!

Day 3: Things are going according to plan! E-tailers are making routine deliveries—food, movies, blow-up toys. And thank god for espresso.com.

Day 4: Think I'm coming down with the flu or a cold. Luckily, drugstore.com has been shipping all sorts of goodies—cough syrup, Flu-Ex, and a few well-doctored (no pun intended) prescriptions: Darvon, antibiotics, and enough amphetamines to make Elvis dance in his grave.

Day 5: Wow, what a busy day! I'm getting thousands of hits on my site (Dot-comguy.com)! With chat rooms, instant messaging, and e-mail, I'm actually more social than I was before becoming a shut-in!

Day 7: First check from my sponsors arrived (IKEA and hemorrhoid.net)! Online banking is where it's at (and once you've set up Auto-Pay, there's never any need to check the old account again). Those stuffy tellers can blow me (.com)!

Day 10: I've had quite a few e-mails asking how it is I can just sit around doing nothing all day. That couldn't be further from the truth! I visited the zoo this afternoon (SanDiegozoo.com) and took in the newest exhibit from MOMA (.org). Tonight I'll be seeing the Rolling Stones Webcast live from Rome! I get out, I just don't go anywhere.

Day 13: Still worried about my health, as this cough will not go away. Starve a cold, feed a fever. Wish I knew which I had. . . .

Day 17: It's like Christmas all the time around here! My house is now packed with antique dressers (eBay), fresh flowers (FTD), luggage (redletter.com), boxes of chocolate (Godiva.com), and tickets to places I have no intention of visiting (travelocity). I've even bought a few cars (iauto.com)!

Day 19: Modem's down. I've called Office Depot but am currently on hold.

Day 20: This is bunk. I'm still offline—may try some other office supply shops.

Day 21: Now on hold with OfficeMax. I'm hoping my Web audience isn't gone when I return.

Day 22: Finally! Good to be back with a live feed! How's everybody doing out there? I've had my share of Chinese food over the last few days, I can tell ya that! IKEA has dropped out as a sponsor, so there's a big banner with your name on it! Hurry, as this opportunity won't last long!

Day 26: The laundry's really piling up. Neat.com has a service that will pick up dry cleaning, but I can't think of a reason to get dressed up. Still, it's good to know I could look nice if I had to.

Day 33: Seem to have misdiagnosed my earlier symptoms. Whatever I think I had, the anti-inflammatories from pill.com are making me hurl like Sarah Michelle Gellar after supper. I've sent a photo frame of my throat to a doctor in Wichita who does Web calls, but haven't heard back.

Day 38: All I can say is thank god for themoneystore.com! Things were getting tight there for a while. Starting to dabble in the stock market.

Day 40: My wife left me. Her exact quote was, "You've become a lazy, fat sack of shit. Sitting in front of the TV was one thing, but now you don't even leave the house to pick up six-packs!" Not to worry, the Web has solutions for my sorry ass—flabout.com suggested exercises I can do in the La-Z-Boy. In addition, mylackey.com sent a valet to do the housework, and the chefs of feedme.com cook better than the wife ever could. As for love and affection, escort.com, though a bit expensive, is reliable, and the variety, quite frankly, is refreshing.

Day 48: SureTrade my ass! Seem to have miscalculated the ease of online trading. Amazon went from $113 to $85 and so did my portfolio. I've lost the Web-egg.

Day 50: Hemorrhoid.com pulled their sponsorship. Something about my open boils and not wanting to be affiliated. (I'm workin' on it!) Their loss is a kick-ass opportunity for you! Rates are negotiable (we can even cut the live feed).

Day 53: Sent my resume to HotJobs.com for a little extra income, but most of the offers require me to leave the house for at least one interview. My parents said they think I should stop acting like a baby and get a real job like everyone else.

Day 55: HickoryFarms.com, my final vendor, has cut off deliveries. Food supplies running low. Must find funding source. Searching for online loan institutions.

Day 59: Take a good look around, surfer dudes, 'cause everything you see on the Web Cam is for sale—I'm having a Virtual Garage Sale! Best offer!

Day 64: MorgagecreditProblems.com needs a fingerprint for any loan approval. Must leave house. Experiment is ruined.

Day 65: Turned out I had the mumps (I think the gal from Pizza Hut gave them to me). Not much I can do but let them run their course. Hits on the Web site have slowed to a crawl. Kind of a sad time right now. Hug.com just doesn't do the trick.

Day 69: This will be my last transmission. AOL is shutting down my account for lack of payment, and the butler from mylackey.com took my laptop as collateral. The good news is I've made friends with a lot of the delivery guys, and they say they'll put in a good word for me. It doesn't pay much, but you get to see the world. See ya out there.

 
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