Adventures in Hell

Written by Zeus, sometime in the late 90s.

Baby, there's something you should know.

Long time ago... I did AOL.

Happened last century, after a couple of run-ins with hackers convinced me to update Win95 for security. (All right you Linux geeks, quit snickering.) The updates went smoothly until I tried a new patch to prevent a Windows exploit called Teardrop.

I unzipped the patch to "C:\Microsoft sucks" which could have been the problem. Maybe Gates knows all and sees all. Cuz after running the update I couldn't connect to my ISP. I waited a few days until Internet Withdrawal kicked in (headaches, nausea, the uncontrollable urge to... surf) then called my ISP. No luck. I admit it was desperation that made me look to a gaily colored CD buried under desk-crap on my desk. Should I? could I?

An hour later I broke down, sold my soul, and installed America Online.

...twice. When executed, the 32 bit version demanded a reboot EVERY SINGLE TIME. I had to settle for the 16 bit version, which meant none of my usual internet programs would work.

Signing up was painless, which didn't surprise me. Naturally the easiest thing to do on AOL would be to pay for it. My regular "ultra-badass" handle was taken, as were my next twenty guesses. Luckily, "Mirtna" was free.

It was the first time I had seen America Online outside of a commercial. "By Cthulhu's kitten-like whiskers!" I exclaimed, and sent an e-mail to my friends explaining my situation. For the record, only three laughed at me.

I checked out the chat rooms. Why? Well, I was looking for mature and intelligent videogame conver... ahh, screw it. I was gathering rant fodder. I had heard horror stories about AOL chat rooms, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw. Note: I like to draw attention to myself, so my name is orange.

OnlineHost: *** You are in "Video Games Lounge". ***
Mirtna: Hey, guys
Sianied: ya i heard about those killer barneys going around
Mirtna: Don't flush
XAxMaNiAcX: MY BIG 55555555555inch
TXREPSRV: is it big!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to step in before they started humping like rabbits.

Mirtna: Soo.. Anyone here like PSX?
XAxMaNiAcX: psx gooD
Mdcanna: that ant big
Mdcanna: who likes what better sony or n64

Yes, please, a system war! Anything would be better than this.

GaMeFaNz: does anyone know when Tekken 3 is out for the psx?
Mirtna: Game, not for a very long time, if at all
Sianied: i need to ask you some personal questions

"Five inches is... normal, right?"

Mirtna: Played FF7 yet, guys?
GaMeFaNz: FF7? dats sooo old
TXREPSRV: come back tommarrow and talk to me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!ok
Mdcanna: is tomb raider worth buying
GaMeFaNz: yea..
GaMeFaNz: its really good

This is about as close as they get to combining "videogame" and "conversation." Ah, well. One outta two ain't bad for this crew.

Mdcanna: cool what RPG's do you have that is good
MWilkin750: Wild arms / FF7 / Beyond the Beyond

It's probably sleep deprevation, but I thought I just saw someone say Beyond the Beyond was good. That's more frightening than the giant oily-black spiders dancing at the edge of my periphial vision.

Mdcanna: what is wild arms and beyond the beyond like
MWilkin750: wild arms is cool because you use a gun for a character but both are like FF7 just not as
MWilkin750: good
Mdcanna: realy i dont like ff7 that much played it about 1000 times becouse my friend is a game
Mdcanna: tester for inter play


Perhaps the only good thing about AOL is the bounty of illegal goodies in the file archives. There are tons of hard to find videogame MP3s, a few of which I downloaded. For a twenty-four hour trial period. For educational reasons only.

Though my account was barely two hours old, I received my first unsolicited e-mail asking me for money. (Gee, wonder who sold them my brand new AOL e-mail address!) By the time this ordeal was over, I would receive a total of ten. Everything from porn to ripoffs. One official looking scam from "PayMonthIy" caught my eye — as in, I nearly fell for it.

Zeus, Certified Dumbass.

I thought I was freaked when I nearly gave my credit card number to someone who couldn't spell "monthly." Little did I know things were about to get big-time freak-ass level 10 freaky. Now, I've had some odd encounters online, but this one takes the cake and uses it to smother children.

RPierceii: u have any code on tw2
Mirtna: Nope, none remembered
RPierceii: is it against the law to cyber on aol
Mirtna: As in Cybersex?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

RPierceii: yes
RPierceii: againt the law on aol by meaning the would take aol from u
RPierceii: is it against the law

"Mommy, help! AOL said they're canceling your AOL account cuz I sex0red someone!"

Mirtna: Uh, I have no idea. I don't think it would be, if both were consenting adults and it was private or something, but I don't know for sure
RPierceii: what a bout for some kid

Great. I'm talking to the world's lamest pedophile.

Mirtna: If you say, came on to a kid, and he reported you, you'd most likely lost access
RPierceii: i dont understand what youre saying
RPierceii: oh now a get but why would they want to report u

Maybe you're just that bad in bed, heh heh.

RPierceii: why does aol take it so seriously like its gun loade
RPierceii: really to me it doesnt make sence if a kid would comes up to u saying look want to cyber and u agre why would he want to report u
Mirtna: If his parents found out, they would
RPierceii: so its ok for adults but not us kids
Mirtna: go keyword TOS or something for info

Terms of Service, or TOS, is AOL's way of saying "we do too care!" In the Videogame Lounge people were bragging they'd spammed every day for weeks and nothing happened to them, even after being reported. AOL RULEZ!!!

RPierceii: mirtna do u hate it?
Mirtna: Hate cybersex?
RPierceii: yea

You know, I endured all this for you guys. So you'd better appreciate me talking to the honry-lamer-pedophile-minor-freak-boy/girl-thing-from-hell.

RPierceii: well me to im a guy to but my profile is my dads

Yeah, right. He's not really a sweat-stained pox-scarred overweight kid-thumper. He's really a little boy. A very curious little boy. Blech.

Mirtna: Naw. I'd just prefer to have sex with a real woman than my computer
RPierceii: ya cyber is just to be fub i guess i dont knoe how it was made

After reading the last reply, one thought went through my mind: "Whafuck?"

RPierceii: has youre friends ever asku to do it
Mirtna: I've been asked alot of times, mostly by weirdos who I don't know and are looking for a quick cyber, heh

Hmm... weirdos looking for a quick cyber. Who does that remind you of?

RPierceii: wow they are gay
RPierceii: or a abuse child
RPierceii: hehehe

At this point I began to doubt Humankind's right on this earth — people who giggle at the thought of sexually abused kids do that to me. Just before I released a psychic-bomb that would have liquefied the mind of every man, woman and child on the globe, I realized Mystery Science Theater 3000 was on. Humanity was spared, if only to protect the guys at Best Brains.

When my 50 free hours were nearly up, my friend made a suggestion — which worked! — that saved me from formatting my hard drive. (Go into control panel, then Network, then Add, then Protocol then Microsoft, then TCP/IP. Joy!) Life ruled once again. Well, as much as life can rule when getting online is like a big deal to you. If all this has taught me anything, it's the following:

  1. AOL is good for nothing but the highly illegal files it distributes. Sign up now and use your free hours to download music, porn, whatever your sick little heart desires.
  2. Horny-lamer-pedophile-minor-freak-boy/girl-things-from-hell need love too.
  3. And finally, since I know you've all been dying to hear it: AOL SUCKS!

Looking back, it was my own damn fault about the Teardrop patch. But Microsoft's old "bare bones no help click twice and DIE" format didn't help any.

A while after this article was originally published I was approached by a man claiming to work for AOL's tech support line. He liked my rant so much he asked me if I wanted to know a little trick: how to get anyone's account canceled simply by calling AOL.

Silly question.

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