• Jeff Fox: Clicking toward a world of hurt

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  • I saw the first trap coming. It was the second one that got me.
    On the Internet, someone is always gunning for you, hoping for your wallet but often content to just steal your eyeballs and attention for a few precious minutes.
    So when I saw something to the effect that Kansas City was listed among the snobbiest places around, I knew better than to click and explore.
    Snobbery comes in many forms. I’ve been accused of being a snob about language, and while there’s a lot more to it than that, I won’t fight the charges. Others are snobs about food, cars, golf, you name it.
    But the idea that Kansas City is a snooty, we-don’t-need-your-kind-around-here type of place is laughable. Sure enough, a friend tweeted to all concerned: This is one of those deals where they just want you to click and click through page after page to ultimately not actually find what they seem to be promising.
    The pot at the end of the rainbow turns out to be lead, but somewhere every click is counted as a webpage visit and monetized in some form. The bright promise of the Internet – remember that one? – turns out to be as infuriating as other forms of human interaction.
    So we grow wary and jaded. There is no need to defend Kansas City’s honor from a bogus survey plopped out there by a magazine looking for attention. Skip and move on.
    My smug cleverness lasted maybe a day. Now comes a tweet or email chirp saying Kansas City is the third most red-meat lovingest city ever. That sounds tasty. Let’s explore.
    Next thing I know I’m clicking my way through an uncomfortably exhaustive health survey that promises to reveal my “real age.” In other words, if you’re eating nine servings of fruit a day and running half-marathons, subtract 10 years. If you’re, well, normal – a little chubby, a little sedentary, big fan of gravy – then it’s later than you think.
    Like I didn’t know that.
    Finding No. 1: I’m in my early 50s, but the survey says I’m really in my mid-50s. This is no surprise to those who think I’m already a curmudgeon, barking at cars and abusers of good English. I do believe you’re as young as you feel, but that’s not always so good. As the philosopher Indiana Jones said, it’s not the years, it’s the miles.
    Finding No. 2: The survey was larded up with earnest offers of constant email advice on diet, exercise and goodness knows what else. See “pot of lead” above.
    Finding No. 3: This process left me 20 minutes older but no wiser. To quote those other philosophers, Pink Floyd, it felt as if I were “shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Of course, this whole fandango was only tangentially related to how much we love red meat. Somewhere in there was the standard advice on red meat, which is to run from it. Fair enough. But at a certain age, you can only run so fast.
    Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter @Jeff_Fox or @FoxEJC,

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