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Opinion: Self-proclaimed potato salad novice a modern day Johnny Appleseed

July 8, 2014

kayuha.2@osu.edu
Potato salad with roasted tomato. Columbus man Zack 'Danger' Brown has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of funding his first batch of potato salad.   Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Potato salad with roasted tomato. Columbus man Zack ‘Danger’ Brown launched a Kickstarter campaign July 3 in hopes of donations to fund his first batch of potato salad.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

A strong case can be made for why the Internet is the most impactful invention in history.

Sure, the wheel had a good run, but you can’t watch hilarious videos of a sneezing panda on a wheel.

Democracy made its mark, but what good would political participation be without the ability to tweet your thoughts on the issues?

Fire certainly changed the world, but the caveman who rubbed two sticks together probably never dreamed that one day a man known as Zack “Danger” Brown would raise more than $40,000 (as of Tuesday afternoon) to make potato salad thanks to this glorious thing known as the World Wide Web.

Kickstarter is a relatively new phenomenon online, a website dedicated to organizing donations for creative types hard-pressed for cash. It has developed into a destination for anyone low on funding, with everyone from Spike Lee to the creators of Veronica Mars turning to the site to finance new projects.

Now, Kickstarter’s greatest success has been realized in the form of a Columbus man who just needed a little extra dough to whip up some potato salad.

Zack Brown’s post, which appeared on the site Thursday, is about as straight forward as they come: “Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.”

Apparently, this noble pursuit brought out the generous side in more than 3,500 people. Brown was originally hoping for $10 by the end of the funding period, August 2.

Who knew people felt so strongly about potato salad?

In Internet terms, this barely registers as strange in comparison to the insanity that goes on in the dark corners of cyberspace. But to those of us who dare to venture away from our screens at some time during the day, the absurdity of the situation is overwhelming: “You don’t have $10 to buy mayonnaise and potatoes?!”

To his credit, Zack “My Middle Name Really is Danger” Brown doesn’t plan to make one bowl and pocket the rest of the cash. He theorized the possibility of a potato salad party in Columbus and wrote, “I promise you I am working with people right now to assess the feasibility of sending potato salad around the world. I will do everything I can to make a bite of potato salad (or my donors) a reality.”

While a bite of potato salad that has been shipped across the country or world sounds more like a punishment than a reward, Brown is not forgetting the little people who got him where he is today. To the most generous donors — $50 or more — Brown will send “a recipe book with potato salad recipes inspired by each country where we have a backer along with a bite of the potato salad, a photo of me making the potato salad, a ‘thank you’ posted to our website and I will say your name out loud while making the potato salad.”

He’s a modern day Johnny Appleseed — although, luckily, Brown will not have to wear a tin pan on his head or wander the country. He can do his good deed from the comfort of his own home, and, for that, we have the Internet to thank. After all, as our soon-to-be folk hero wrote on his Kickstarter page, “The Internet loves potato salad! Let’s show them that potato salad loves the Internet!!”

Damn right.


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  1. alum says:

    Great article! Concise, interesting, funny, well written.

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