When Spam Mattered

I can't see anything

Why am I not on the internet more? Well, I am on it quite a bit—okay, every day actually. Okay, every couple of hours. Okay, every ten minutes. But why am I not on it every waking second? Why do I even leave the apartment—ever? I could order my food online and have it delivered. I wouldn't even have to get up to answer the door. I could use a chat room and get one of those forty year old love slaves. He could do it for me. Why are all our faces not inextricably stuck inextricably to the computer screen as so many had predicted? Well, they kind of are. In fact, here are five things I use the internet for every day.
1. quick useful information
2. quick useless information
3. email
4. potentially true news
5. charitable donations using Paypal
But I believe I have reached a plateau, a limit to how much time I am going to spend online. Why? Because as it turns out, the internet's not entirely more efficient than real life after all. Why?

1) Things change too quickly

It's not just the potential of a new technology, it's the consumer's ability to use it successfully that determines—just when you get comfortable with your 'movie showtimes' site, they change the format, and you have to learn to navigate an entirely—I am obviously too dumb for this, but at least I can still remember how to flip the pages of—I can grab the paper, look up movie times, read some news headlines (Tommy Lee's receding hairline!), and even look at a couple lingerie ads all in about the same time it takes to turn on a computer, wait for it to load the unnecessarily slow because Microsoft wants it that way operating system, and get on the internet, which is down right now because someone else on the block happens to be using—

2) Stupid distractions

I can ignore newspaper and magazine ads a lot easier than pop-up windows, which require me to spend eternal seconds trying to persuade them to close invariably clicking the wrong box and closing whatever internationally important thing I was working on. Edge newspaper. And as for that other kind of distraction. Is it my fault I get distracted by naked women promising to do things to me I wouldn't even understand, all for a limited time only? At least in Victoria Secret, there still are some secrets, and I can get back to work without too much pause.

3) Legitimacy

Let's face it, the publishing barrier, as pathetic and permeable, and don't let's forget incestuous, as it is, is still a barrier. It offers at least a modicum of validity. We'll never completely trust an internet source unless it's tied to an existing brand name (did I mention my web site is very closely partnered with Crest Toothpaste?). And then why not just go to the source on television or print. Or the ultimate source—in the toilet stall, on the back of the swinging metal door. That booger with the circle drawn around it-the arrow pointing at it? It's a booger alright. Don't have to check with any sources on that one. And what about your girlfriend talking in her sleep? Now that's information you need—to start your day. More relevant than even the oldest blog site. By the way, your girlfriend really knows a lot about Matisse.

4) The existential argument

Let me now kick the dead horse that is reading books online. It's a flawed concept and here's why. I like to smell books. The first thing I do with a new book is bury my face in it like—anyway, I like to smell books. But a book on a computer is only a potential book, which comes into being whenever you summon it. And when you don't, it stays in its non-existent void. While this might be ideal for a love affair, it certainly won't do for a book. I like to hold a book open on my thighs, while sitting on the toilet. Eventually, when the numbness gets too far, I close it and rise up slowly. I like to take it to the kitchen where an omelet may happen. I pace around the kitchen, beating eggs and sneaking peeks. I want to reach for it. No. Wait. It's right there. No. Not yet. What is more lovely than the off-white pages of an open book covered in coarsley chopped green onions? Last week, it was a breakfast taco, which might have been forgotten if not for page seven, tomato, lower margin. I can see it now. 'Happy birthday John, I'm giving you a one year subscription to War and Peace. Hope you read fast. Sometimes I buy several copies of the same book. I like to find them in the damndest places, like old forgotten friends doing well in Bermuda. When I'm reading a book, if it's paperback, I can't help but underline certain parts. I'll come back later when no one is looking and steal them. Oh yes, I will.

Sometimes, I buy several copies of the same book. I like to find them in the damndest places, like old forgotten friends doing well in Bermuda. When I'm reading a book, if it's paperback, I can't help but underline certain parts. I'll come back later when all is quiet and steal them.
Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods amongst the evergreens
There stood an old cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
That never ever learned to read and write so well
But he could play a guitar just like ringing a bell
5) The mathematical argument

You are dumb. The internet simply allows you to be dumber faster. The human brain can process information at a maximum of 1200 Kps, so what good is more when you can't even chew what you got already? Peas are falling out left and right as you desperately shove more in. You walk into a casino. Regard the one armed bandit. This is the new Pentium VI mega-slot machine. It will calculate whether or not you have three cherries in half the time of a normal slot machine. And no more lever-pulling injuries either! You just look at it in a certain way, and it knows. It knows your bet, it knows what you want. It knows what you've got. Soon, you can go extra wireless. You can lie in bed at night and just think about it, using your e-credit. It'll be great.


Note: I assure you this piece is neither a front for clinging, pitiful nostalgia nor an attempt to sell perpetual laziness as being old school.