I yam what I yam: evolution’s latest gamble, a genuine indigenous life-form of the ’80s. Remember the mermaid, the camelopard, Dr. Dolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu? Permit me to introduce myself: the anthropotato—a.k.a. Tuberman! The origin of my species may be obscure, but I can tell you I was a stud before I became a spud. In the early ’80s I was a yuppie: a boomer on the zoom, a single on the mingle. By day I sprinted up the escalator of success. At night I discoed till I discombobulated. Then I found a posslq (person of opposite sex sharing living quarters) and settled down in condo mondo as a dink (double income no kids).
Hey, we’re what’s happening. We’re the economic corollary of the sexual revolution: the two-career couple. Gone are the days when men were men and women were kitchen appliances—in the ’80s, two-thirds of all new workers in the U.S. were women. By day both of us labor in the lettuce mines, and at night we’re up for nothing more than transcendental vegetation. Aerobics? Too pooped. Gourmet cooking? Too much trouble—if you’re messin’ with nouvelle cuisine, you’re missin’ action on the screen. Anyway, thanks to the consumer electronics boom, a couple can just sit back and plight their sloth. In our house we pop two TV dinners in the microwave, flick on the TV and the VCR, feed the audio through the stereo and tap into one of our 36 channels. Then we slouch on the couch and bliss away the evening as spec-taters.
She calls me a couch potato, I call her a couch tomato, and when we have a little chip off the old pomme de terre we’ll call it a tater-tot. But we’re not really spaced-out spudniks like some other tubers we know. Sprawled on Barea-loungers, they watch six TV sets at once—their living rooms look like NASA’s Houston control center. They read (no foolin’) the Tuber’s Voice: The Couch Potato Newsletter, belong to the United Ottoman Workers, collect Couch Potato dolls and subsist on microwave popcorn and aerosol cheese products they call “squeezine.” I say they’re half-baked and they’ll soon disappear down history’s Disposall. What’s here to stay is a gorgeously seductive new technology of leisure that is rapidly advancing the recline of Western civilization. I say: Sofa, so good.