AOL Internet Elementary?

I was at Junior’s house a few weeks ago when I spotted one of the ubiquitous AOL “Free Internet” disks lying on dining room table. Out of habit, I picked up the disk to see what it was. (Gee, as if I or anyone else wouldn’t have known.) As I glanced at the package I noticed the following sentence:

Special Offer for AOL Alumni

“Now,” I thought, “isn’t an alumni someone who’s graduated from an institution because they had learned all they needed to learn from that place?” Sure enough, according to “alumni” are “[Male] graduate[s] or former student[s] of a school, college, or university.”*

(* Note: Not only are they graduates, but they’re also male. I guess the folks at AOL finally realized that women shouldn’t be allowed to use the Internet. After all why else would they allow that to be published, unless AOL’s fact checkers didn’t realize that “Alumni” comes from “Alumnus”, a male term. The female term is “Alumna”, the plural of which is “Alumnae”. Shouldn’t the NOW be up in arms about this or something?)

So basically, what they’re saying is that using AOL the first time around was like going to school: AOL trained you for the real internet by being nothing like the real internet, just like school trains you for life by being nothing like real life. Then you move on and learn about the real world. Does this mean that if you sign up for AOL again you’re actually looking to get a Master’s degree or PhD in areas like “finding for porn on the web”, “web design with a specialization in emoticons”, or LNGIUSTICS W/ N MPHASIS IN CAPS N H4X0R L8R W00T?

I’m sure those are highly sought-after skillz.

And you have to wonder, how much of their budget goes to this constant barrage of “Join Now” CDs? I’m sure that by now someone’s figured out that if you keep all the disks, one day the metal inside may actually be worth something. Heck, each CD is now worth more than their stock-price, right? I expect that one day a guy with a garage-full of those disks will hold a news conference outside his house and triumphantly instant message the crowd “I am teh richest man on earth, thanks to America Online! w00t!!!1! ;-D”

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