World's Hardest Job: Couch Potato at the Sonoma County Fair

The Sonoma County Fair's couch potato was back for a return bout with the couch.

By Chris Roberts
|  Sunday, Aug 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:07 PM PDT
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Couch Potato at the County Fair

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This gentleman, Chris Canole, is a former competitor for the World Couch Potato championships. But he's got nothing on Oregon's John Silveira, who is the original resident couch potato of the Sonoma County Fair.

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John Silveira sat around and watched the Giants. He didn't mind -- in fact, as Official Couch Potato of the Sonoma County Fair, it was his job.

Silveira, 47, deposited himself in a living room set amongst the other art exhibitions in the county fair's building, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The fair closed Sunday, but during it's 19 run, Silveira was free to sit on the couch, watch TV and eat cookies -- just as he did 23 years ago, when he was younger, trimmer and the fair's original couch potato.

Then, the phenomenon of a human exhibition of laziness spurred worldwide attention after Silveira acquiesed to his mother's exhortations to try out for what was then a stunt for the fair. Silveira won the gig, despite other heavier, lazier competition, and the legend was born.

Fair organizers paid him $1,000 in 1988 to sit around for two weeks. This time around, for the 75th Anniversary of the fair, they asked Silveira, now living in Oregon with his wife and two children, to come down for $5,000. Silveira, an electronics salesman, said OK, and there he sat.

What's changed between then and now? According to Silveira, Americans just aren't that impressed by supreme laziness anymore.

"I don't know if being a couch potato means too much now," he told the newspaper. "Back then it was sure big stuff."

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