AIM Will Ruin Your Life

Well, it finally happened. I swore it wouldn't, not to me, but it did. I held out for years, finding pride in my individualistic crusade, but in the end, I've submitted like all the others before me. I have finally joined the ever growing underground cult that is America Online Instant Messenger, or AIM as its legion of dedicated followers so affectionately refer to it.

I was surprised at how quickly I found myself talking to thirty eight year old men from Alabama who were pretending to be sixteen year old strippers from Las Vegas. I didn't even know that Alabama had the internet yet. What's next? Indoor plumbing?

Anyway, it appears that through my venture into the world of internet conversation, I've learned of its inevitable effects of destroying civilized human interaction.

Take for instance the constantly evolving IM slang. Internet lingo is simply a plethora of unnecessary acronyms that often confuses its recipients. It's like reading conversational vanity plates. In today's quick paced world, one simply cannot be bogged down with typing unnecessary vowels.

For example, the oft used, yet unnecessarily lengthy exchange of "Hi, how old are you? So, are you a guy or a girl? Where ya from?" has been efficiently reduced to "asl?" It's less friendly and generally colder but still frees up time for you to exchange pictures of yourself with these androgynous strangers. Oh, and you'll never have to worry about an unreasonably verbose "Pardon me for a moment, will you?" Your prayers have been answered with "brb."

In my opinion, this new shift in human conversation signals the demise of the organized English language. If this trend continues, spoken word will soon be reduced to a small collection of brief grunts varying in pitch.

For some, indecipherable conversational acronyms prove too strenuous. Fortunately, there is a limited collection of emoticons which are used to express every possible human emotion, despite their inability to successfully do so. This begs for misinterpretation. For example, the winking face can have several connotations. It can indicate sarcasm, imply sexual innuendo or be a way to say "I'm standing right over your shoulder, armed with a knife and you have absolutely no clue." Clearly, it can be very problematic.

Another aspect to the world of AIM is the profile, a technological window to the soul. The place where people put musical lyrics or inspirational quotes that define them as a person. I'm surprised to find how many people are best represented by Robert Frost's "Road Not Taken. Apparently the path less traveled is getting quite a bit more foot traffic these days, thanks to instant messenger.

Here's a useful piece of information I've picked up from my online experience that may save you some time. If a screen name contains the words hot, sexy or cool in it, then the user is automatically none of the above. If I tried this maneuver in person and told everyone I met that my name is Joe, but I like to be called Sexy Cool Guy Stud 69, I would deserve to be taunted mercilessly and chased through the streets with a wet bamboo stick.

Now the ease of AIM brings up certain issues that must be addressed. First, IM'ing the roommate. Don't look away; we've all reached this low at one point or another. Come on, folks, it's comparable to sitting at your desk, turning to your roommate, and smiling and waving for no apparent reason. He/she would be justified in thinking you clinically insane.

Then there are the people you often see in person, but prefer to talk to over AIM. The message you're sending to this group is "Hey, I really don't like talking to you. As a matter of fact, I'd rather not have to look at you, nor deal with gestures or voice inflections of any kind. I can handle only the bare essentials necessary to communicate with your pathetic life." Wow. That's pretty harsh, you insensitive bastard.

The final stage of online addiction is when you sign on for the sole purpose of checking away messages and profiles. You're almost bothered when someone interrupts and IMs you to converse. There is no real world parallel for this, other than rooting through someone's bag and inspecting their day planner every thirty minutes and getting pissed if they notice. The point I'm trying to make is that AIM is not the unifying technology it may appear to be. It looks to be destroying the language and replacing every facet of social interaction among humans. True, there are plenty of humans not worth communicating with, but in general, this is a trend we should seek to prevent.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Simple minded scribe. How could you possibly make such an argument without providing a solution for us to mock, scoff and generally discredit?" Not so fast there, smarty pants. If you'll continue reading, you'll find that I've come up with just the technological advance to unite the human race. My plan is sure to bring the masses together in ways never before imagined. And yes, it is also very easy to ridicule.

I hereby submit, for the betterment and salvation of the human race, Cookies-On-a-Stick. Just hear me out on this one. Putting cookies on sticks as you would lollipops will completely rid us of all cookie-dunking related frustrations and mishaps.

One would be free to dunk as little or as much cookie as they wanted and for as long as they pleased, regardless of how little milk is left in the glass. I am convinced that this will bring about an end to plights of both hunger and peace. You can keep your precious AIM, you selfish war monger. Anyway, gtg. cya l8r. btw, s/n = SexyCoolGuyStud69 im me 4AGDTIME. jk. lol. ugh.

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