Issue #137 – “Generation LOL” – October 6th, 2008

-Earlier this year I got a Facebook friend request from my former pledgemaster, who had just signed up for the site.  My first instinct was to shout, “Sir yes sir!” and accept him immediately.  I guess old habits die hard.  Later, I realized that his request was odd not because the last time we had a meaningful conversation I was standing in a bucket of puke, but rather because he’s over three years older than me.  In the scheme of the Internet, we grew up in two completely different eras.  Those of us in our teens and twenties can’t even remember a time when the web wasn’t completely ingrained in our daily lives.  We are Generation LOL.  My thirtysomething pledgemaster, on the other hand, is firmly in Generation X and, as I recall, also kind of a dick.

-I often overreact when a site tells me to do something, as opposed to asking nicely.  Recently I loaded a web page that said, “You need to upgrade your Flash Player.”  Who the fuck do you think you are?  I’ll do what I damn well please.

-Lately, there’s been a void in my life: not enough spam.  I’ve been dreaming of ways that I can receive spam not just in my email, but also posted directly to my online profiles and sent to the inboxes of my social networking accounts.  But thanks to you, Facebook, my prayers have been answered.

-Instead of smoking a cigarette after sex, I check my BlackBerry.  It doesn’t smell bad, it won’t cause cancer, but it has the same soothing effect.

-I don’t trust people with the number 2000 in their email address.  If they chose it after the millennium, it demonstrates a lack of creativity.  If they chose it before the millennium, well, they just weren’t really looking too far ahead.

-Sometimes chicks will put “In a Relationship” on their Facebook profile even though they’re single, just so creepy guys won’t hit on them.  However, when you don’t link to your boyfriend’s name, or have even one picture of him in any of your photo albums, we’re totally on to you.

-Occasionally I’ll be instant messaging or texting with someone and they’ll use an abbreviation that doesn’t make sense to me, but I don’t want to seem like an idiot so I continue typing like I know what’s going on.  Then later I’ll Google “ATM” and discover they meant “at the moment” and not a place where one gets cash.

-A less well-known place to look at pictures of chicks online is law firm web sites.  Most firms have high quality, searchable headshots of all their nubile female associates.  And usually next to the picture will be contact information and an option that says: “Download vCard.”  If only it were that easy.

-There are times, though, when Generation LOL gets taken advantage of.  Last month I received a mass email sanctioned by and sent from my alma mater’s Office of Alumni Relations.  It told Penn students and alumni to sign up for an online version of Risk where we would compete virtually against the other Ivy League institutions.  First of all, why is my own school sending me spam?  That’s what my three Facebook accounts are for.  Second of all, don’t tell me to join shit.  I’ll do what I damn well please.  And third of all, a game of online Risk?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Someone needs to put these dorks in a bucket of puke.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-The people tanning at my pool always look like they’re in such anguish.  Is that supposed to be relaxing?

-Dear Apple: So are these new iPods gonna be out for a while, or are you just gonna come out with something even better and cheaper in like three months and totally fuck me again?

-Why have there been no advances in shoelace technology?  I just bought $110 sneakers.  It feels like I’m floating on air – until I have to stop running every six minutes to tie the laces again.

-Although I mentioned this in Ruminations #105, I think it bears repeating.  The other day, I walked out of my front door to find free, giant Yellow Pages and White Pages stacked in front of every apartment in the hallway.  I took mine inside and weighed them: six pounds.  Generation LOL or not, if you know how to access either Yahoo or Google, that is six pounds of completely wasted paper you will never, ever use.  Sorry environmentalists, but I’m gonna keep sucking down bottled water until you take care of this shit first.

-I cannot fathom why anyone would buy Michael Phelps’ book when it comes out in December.  Let me sum up the entire book for you right now: “I discovered that I like to swim.  I realized that I was really good at it, too.  For the past twelve years, I did nothing but train and swim with single-minded determination.  Moral of the story: if you work really hard and never give up, you too can be the worst host of Saturday Night Live ever.”

-I find it awkward when I’m giving a customer service rep my phone number, but I don’t know whether they want me to go straight through all the digits, or wait for them to repeat the digits in each section back to me before proceeding, or let them give me the simple “uh huh” each time to signal that they’ve got it and I can move on.  It’s quite nerve-wracking.

-And, finally, in my first book, “Ruminations on College Life,” I wrote about how, when I was an undergrad, my mom mailed me an article from Time Magazine about excessive drinking on campus.  There was no money in the envelope, no letter, just the article.  Two weeks ago, in Ruminations #136, I mentioned trying to close a tab at a bar before realizing I never put my card down in the first place.  My mom responded with the following email: “Aar, I enjoyed this one.  One question – when you open a tab, it requires you to give your credit card over to the bartender?  That is not very safe.  People can make copies of your card and use your number to purchase items.”  I read the email and shook my head in disbelief.  After a decade, I had finally allayed my mom’s concerns about my binge drinking.  But replaced them with fears of identify theft.  Fuck me.