A Story over a cup: Computers, eWeights and the ever-expanding waistline

Published 2:10 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

By Michael Cole


I love computers.

They are my livelihood. I develop websites, operate social media for various organizations and businesses; I play games and keep up with friends and events.

I hate computers.

They freeze up at the worst possible moment. They shut down; they eat files; they lose files; they are probably the reason for global warming and why the Houston Texans lose important games.

Because of my profession, I end up sitting in front of the little boxes of Satan for several hours each weekday.

It is not a bad gig. Until it is.

Just recently I had written a 7500-word article that a publisher needed. It was a work of art, it was wonderful.

It was eaten by the computer.

I can only imagine the meetings that people had when developing and marketing computers.

IBM probably planned this years ago.

I can see it now, IBM was never about computers. They got into it because they had probably originally invested in a series of home exercise equipment but had noticed that the television market was too crowded.

IBM Executive: How do we maximize our dumbbell market share?

Sales Consultant: My thoughts would be to create a need for people to want to buy little weights on sticks.

IBM: Why would they when they have the outside, sunshine and long walks on the beach?

Sales Consultant: We have to create a need for them to stay in a seated spot for hours on end. Not moving, just packing on the weight.

IBM: Televisions?

Sales Consultant: No, that market is tapped out. Besides, people can still be active in front of a television. Haven’t you seen Richard Simmons?

IBM: So we need a device that will cause people to just sit in front of it, doing nothing, while they eat and gain weight?

Sales Consultant: Exactly!

And so began the many attempts on the road to IBM taking a commanding lead on the dumbbell market.

There were probably several iterations by the sales team before the first IBM PC came out.

Plastic Hamster cages where you could watch the little critters run around, eat wood and run on a wheel.

Unfortunately, people had to feed and water them, so that meant that they would leave the hamster cages and invariably walk to the pet store for more.

Then there were the lava lamps. Little known fact, it was discovered when my great-great uncle left a mayonnaise jar out on the stove to long and the lumps turned green and started to dance around in the jar.

He saw it under the stove light and wondered if placing a colored light underneath made it look pretty, so he decided to sell a few.

He was a great inventor, just horrible at forgetting to patent things.

You would think after inventing Cole-Slaw, he would have learned.

But they quickly realized that people were bored with them.

In a stroke of genius, a sales guy was watching Television while typing and the light bulb went off.

I mean he had an idea. The light stayed on.

He thought, “What if we plug a typewriter to a TV and let them type and play games on it?

And so, the first PC was born.

And our waistlines were never the same again.

IBM was genius at then marketing them for business, so people at work were forced to sit down there all day too. And the pounds piled on, while the inches expanded.

And today, people are more obsessed than ever with home exercise devices.

Well, that is my story today over my cup of coffee, if you excuse me, my app has told me it is time to add weights to the iDumb and lift some e-Weights.


Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com