The Fatfinger Economy

Don’t touch that dial!

Cory Doctorow
6 min readMay 15, 2022


“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” — Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

“Follow the money.” — William Goldman, All the President’s Men

Last September, I had my right hip replaced. In February, my surgeon swapped out the left one. I am a proud cyborg.

Hip replacements have come a long way since 1990, when my mom had her first replacement (she’s had four hip replacements in total — I call her “the centaur”). She spent a week in a hospital bed and two more weeks as an in-patient in a rehab hospital. I walked the same day as my surgeries (with a walker) and was downhill skiing within three months of the first replacement.

I’m four months into my second replacement and I’ve recovered nearly all of my strength (I’m swimming a mile nearly every day at our community pool), but my flexibility is still terrible.

I’ve found a YouTube yoga instructor with a good collection of “gentle 20 minute yoga” videos and on alternating days, I dig the mat and yoga blocks out from under the bed and try to gently but persistently work my robotic joints into something a little more human.

I stopped doing yoga some years ago, the arthritis made it too painful. There was a time when I could just listen to a yoga instructor as they named the pose and find my way into it, but not these days. It’s often the case that I have to grab my phone off the floor next to the mat and squint at it to figure out what move I’m supposed to be making.

When that happens, there’s about a one-in-three chance that I will accidentally tap a part of the screen that instantaneously swaps the video I’m watching now for a recommended video. What’s more, there’s no graceful way to go back to that previous video. A couple times, I’ve been completely unable to find it.

This isn’t an isolated incident, nor, I think, is it a coincidence.

During the lockdown, I binge-watched the entirety of M*A*S*H — all eleven seasons, plus AfterMASH and the pilot for R*A*D*A*R — on HBO Max. Years ago, I watched all those episodes in syndication, many times over, so often that I can picture the action if I can hear the dialog. Often, I’d just put my phone in my pocket…



Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog:; Mailing list:; Mastodon: