I was born at the perfect time to experience the wonders and difficulties of American Online (aka AOL). When my family first got dial up, my mom made it so that my sisters and I could only use the internet for an hour a day each. Internet access was not available everywhere like it is today. Because you had to literally call the internet when logging into AOL, a parental control could be set up that your internet ‘call’ was dropped after a certain amount of time. Now, my mother’s logic in this was twofold. One, we wouldn’t spend nearly as much time in front of the computer (on the internet at least, Sims was a different story). And two, we wouldn’t commandeer the landline for the entire night. It’s weird to think that some kids don’t know what dial up is. Does that make me old?
Anywho. Since it was too early to reasonably expect all homework to require internet access for, most of what I did on the internet was talk to my friends on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Almost everyone my age has a wonderful first screen name. skirocket4, runswitscissors, behndblueyes16, kickflipz182, hyperchick121212, thegamefreak122. Mine was kaligo772. I have no idea why. I think I just ended up combining a whole bunch of letters until I found something I thought sounded cool. When my friends asked me what it stood for, I told them it was an inside joke with my sister. When one of my sisters asked the same question, I said that it was an inside joke with my friends. Perfect cover story.
I personally was super awkward in middle and high school so I tended to stay away from anyone I thought was even the slightest bit cute or appealing in any way. But a lot of people I know did some major flirting on AIM. Some even went so far as to print out their conversations with the people they were crushing on. And lucky for us, The Mortified Podcast is a place for these to be shared with the world. At live events, people read their awkward childhood writings with the world. This includes printed AIM conversations. Yes.
Listen to Tyler’s unrequited love story here