If your ADHD inflicted brain could stretch itself to remember all the way back to my original “Back In My Day” article, you may re-experience some of the wild nostalgia you felt while reading about yesteryear’s AOL disks, the sound of dial up, floppy disks, mouse balls, instant messengers, and other artifacts from a more glorious time. Since then, you’ve had to endure the existential angst of living in current times: when Bieber-ism has officially progressed from denomination to religion; when YouTube individuality, ingenuity, and talent has transformed into insipid, homogenized, mass-marketed corporate goo; when “Twitterer” is considered a legitimate title. We’re fucked, people. So just sit back and relax – you can’t fight the tide of stupid. Let me take you back to the past, the past, the past, the past, the past (this is where you spin into a “Twilight Zone” swirl).
Back in my day, emails and screen names weren’t just your first name, period, your last name, period, a number. No, they were imaginative and fun; you entered the online world on your own terms, under a pseudonym, as an escape from reality. Now that privacy is dead, the Internet has been uber-monetized by your boss, and the online world has fully merged with the real world, your main handle can sadly no longer be “DoucheyMcDoubleDouche” or “CuTeBoOtY6969696969”.
Brick and Mortar Stores
Back in my day, you walked into brick and mortar specialty stores to either be hassled or completely ignored by associates who hated their jobs, and walked out with overpriced goods you did shoddy research on. See ya, Circuit City, Best Buy, Borders, Tower Records, Virgin Records, BlockBuster, KB Toys, countless other specialty chain stores, and also the majority of mom and pop shops. Hello, shopping center consisting of one Wal-Mart, and hello, wifi, for Internet megastore Amazon.
Back in my day, we had this thing called a “chat room.” It wasn’t really a room, but there was definitely chatting. And flaming. And spamming. And “whispering” or “private messaging.” You never knew what you’d get from a chat room because you were talking to complete strangers that were often immature, perverted, or insane. To be honest, I don’t miss chat rooms too much these days because I get my full dose of chat room-quality banter from working with ol’ Hipster McGee.
Back in my day, maps were folded out while in the midst of driving in heavy traffic to faraway places you had no idea how to get to. And you stopped at gas stations when you couldn’t do that, or you rolled down your window to ask the schmoe next to you. This means that getting places took know-how and problem-solving, which younger generations have no capacity for. They just do their GPS thing, and they’re right there on time with optimum fuel efficiency to boot. Damn hippies.
Angelfire and Geocities
Back in my day, anyone could have a personal webpage through Angelfire or Geocities, complete with gifs of burning torches at the intro page, and typed entirely in comic sans. You could build a webpage devoted entirely to your love of dolphins or your obsessive amounts of nerd time spent playing Dungeons and Dragons. Personal webpages had character and were truly personal. These days, people’s idea of a personal webpage is a Facebook profile or a Tumblr full of re-notes.
Back in my day, planning out a trip to a far away land wasn’t arduous if you paid a travel agency to help you. Nowadays, you can pick a destination, buy a ticket, reserve a hotel, and solicit third world prostitutes in advance all from the comfort of your own home.
Back in my day, being bullied built character. You learned to stand up for yourself and punch your bully in his ugly face, or you developed a funny personality to make your bully laugh, at which point you could kick him in the balls. These days, the glamour is all in “online bullying.” Stop it. The moment someone gets some shade thrown on them on Facebook, they run to mommy to cry about online bullying. Just suck it in, and tell all those Bieber fans to go fuck themselves, like I did when they began to hack my accounts, post my personal information, threaten me and my family’s life, and placed a burning cross on my lawn for intimating that his music was a “tad” overrated.
That’s it. No part III unless “Azn and Glasses,” a new show starring yours truly and some other guy (Matt Manarino), is an unmitigated disaster. In other words, count on part III.