Whenever I think about the Internet, I feel really grateful that it wasn’t around when I was 13. I mean, it existed, but not in its current state.
Note to any kids who might be reading this, even though my blog is pretty much inappropriate for your young and impressionable eyeballs and I never asked to be your role model: When I was your age, we didn’t have Google. We didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or even MySpace. I don’t even think we had Friendster back then. There was a pre-MySpace social networking site called Bolt, but I don’t think that came out until I was in high school and it was barely useful, although I did have a daily horoscope column there with a few freakishly dedicated readers. Dude, we didn’t even have cell phones yet. No texting! We had pagers, and there’s really no way to embarrass yourself with a pager. Unless, like, you messed up a secret code and accidentally sent “381″ (it means “I love you,” duh) to your friend’s boyfriend or something.
The few people who did have the Internet were rocking the torture chamber dial up and Netscape and used them to post on sci-fi message boards, do research for school papers, and learn to lie about themselves in chat rooms. We didn’t have the option of cyber-bullying classmates or stalking celebrities or, as I have recently experienced, possibly being Tweeted at by Dan Cortese.
You know Dan Cortese. He was all over MTV back in the early 90s. You might be getting him confused with Eric Nies, and while it’s certainly understandable, to my knowledge, Dan Cortese never had a workout show. Anyway. I never had a crush on him then because I was too young to be fantasizing about a swarthy, studly guy like Dan Cortese. I was too busy getting my tween girl crush on for Jonathan Brandis (and we all those of us who are dorks know how that turned out). But Dan Cortese was still nice to look at and seemed like one of the only “talents” on MTV who could actually play sports in the Rock N’ Jock games.
I can’t imagine being interested in watching cable (1990s cable, not 2010-era cable, because Kids Today, it’s a whole different landscape) celebrities playing softball now, but back then, I was glued to those games. It helped that I played softball myself and didn’t actually have cable. If I was at a cable-having friend’s house, I would watch anything. Tom and Roseanne Arnold are waddling around a softball diamond in suburban L.A.? Block out the next two hours because fuck yes.
When I get sick and start feeling sorry for myself, my mind starts to wander back to the cable junk I devoured so greedily back then. Daria, obviously awesome. Old Real Worlds, um, I am an expert in stolen peanut butter conflicts. Rock N’ Jock softball games? Absolutely, and why aren’t these people famous anymore? Which is why I tweeted about them the other day, and why I became agog at the Internet:
It’s not a verified account, but seriously? Dan Cortese or whomever is imitating him? You are terrific. You are terrific for responding in the first place, you are terrific for dragging Bill Bellamy into this weirdness (he was so awesome, remember?), and you are terrific for doing this at a time when I am almost thirty and far more rational than I would have been had Twitter and this exchange occurred when I was 13.
I can’t imagine the ways I would have humiliated myself if I’d been allowed to use my terrifyingly laserlike tween girl focus on stalking cute celebrities back in the day. Possibly my Tiger Beat poster collection would have been scrapped for bizarre YouTube slideshows. Knowing about some boy’s favorite color wouldn’t have been enough, I’m sure, and I’m enough of a nerd that I would have mastered the Google Maps of his house. It’s frightening to think about what I could have accomplished and the kind of person I would have become with such unlimited access to someone on TV. It’s also frightening to think about how I would have developed a total resistance to the concept of oversharing, because dudes? I write a lot of dumb shit here, but it’s nothing compared to what was happening in my brain way back when.
Kids Today, the Internet as you know it is a completely different creature from what it was during my adolescence, and for that, I am truly thankful.
(cross-posted to ephemeraetc.blog-city.com)