December 1, 2005 | Issue 24

Brooklyn Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Use the Internet

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — [TheKnish.com] Brooklyn resident Moshe Brenner does not use the Internet, a fact he repeatedly points out to friends, family, coworkers, mailmen, brownies, dogwalkers, beggars, store clerks, 311, random strangers and his Rabbi.

"I would rather spend my time doing something useful than surf the Internet," Brenner told a random woman Monday in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, noticing the establishment's free-Internet kiosk. "I don't even have it at home."

According to Asher Weider, a coworker of Brenner's at B&H, a small camera store on a side-street in Manhattan, Brenner steers the conversation toward the Internet whenever possible, just so he can mention not using it.

"A few days ago, [store manager] Izzy [Rosenbaum] was saying his new contacts were bothering him," Weider said. "The second he said that, I knew Moshe would pounce. He was like, 'I didn't know you had contacts, Izzy. Are your eyes bad? That's a shame. I'm really lucky to have almost perfect vision. I'm guessing it's because I don't surf the Internet. In fact, I don't even have it at home."

According to Weider, "Treifernet" is Brenner's favorite derogatory term for the Internet.

"He uses that one a lot," he said. "But he's got other ones too, like 'surf turf' and 'cybersitter.'"

Weider said Brenner always makes sure to read the copies of Computer Shopper and PC Magazine laying around the store's break room, "just so he can point out all the products and innovations he's never heard of."

"Last week, in one of the magazines, there was a picture of Bill Gates," Weider said, "and Moshe announced, 'I have absolutely no idea who this man is. Bill who? Am I supposed to have heard of him? I'm sorry, but I haven't because I don't surf the Internet. In fact, I don't even have it at home.'"

Guy Ishkup, who lives in the apartment directly below Brenner's and occasionally chats with the 37-year-old by the incinerator, is well aware of his neighbor's disdain for the Internet.

"About a week after I met him, we were talking and I made some kind of Wikipedia reference," Ishkup said. "He asked me what I was talking about and when I told him it was a website, he just went off, saying how the last website he visited was CNN.com and even then he could only browse for about two minutes before having to shut it off because it insulted his intelligence so terribly."

Added Ishkup, "Once, I made the mistake of saying I saw an interesting news item, and he started in with, 'Saw the news? I don't know about you, but I read the news."

Brenner has lived without the Internet since 1995, when his then-wife moved out and took her 14.4K modem with her.

"When Rivky went, the Internet went with her," Brenner said. "But instead of just going out and buying another modem – which I certainly could have afforded, that wasn't the issue – I decided to stand up to the cyber teat."

"I'm not an elitist," Brenner said. "It's just that I'd much rather follow the herd and obey the oppressive Lakewood Internet decree to avoid feeling like an outcast. Did I just say that out loud? Please leave that last comment out of your article."

Writer

Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded TheKnish.com, and writes books from 5-9: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mbodekatgmaildotcom


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