Friday, May 27, 2005

Internet CB

I was cleaning out my garage the other day, and I came across my old CB radio.
Remember CB radios?
Originally these two-way-radios served the purpose of letting truck drivers talk to one another about the pretty waitress in the last truck stop, and to pass along reports about where the police were hiding. Country and Western songs such as "My Woman's Bought a CB (And Left me Talking to Myself)," made CB radios very popular in the early 1980s and pretty soon everybody had them installed in their cars.
The CB phenomena opened up a whole new era of pretend alternate lifestyles for those people - mostly men - who were stuck in hopeless, meaningless, dead-end jobs and relationships. With a CB radio in their car, all they had to do to become larger-than-life, macho, free-wheeling, devil-may-care, truck driving cowboys was pick up their microphone and go on the air. Never mind the fact that they were really stuck behind the wheel of a K-car in a traffic jam. Through the miracle of CB radios, everybody could become a Knight of the Open Road.
At the height of the CB radio frenzy, it was all but impossible to get an airborne word in edge-wise, and then suddenly, the airwaves were as deserted as the stretch of highway between Wawa and Thunder Bay at 2:30 in the morning. What happened to all those white-collared, gear-jammin' K-car drivin' pretenders? They went to the chat-lines of the Internet, that's what.
That's right. Boo-boo Kitty, Wild Turkey, Big Bertha, Ugly Duckling and High, Wide and Handsome have all left the citizen's band airwaves behind in favor of the equally anonymous if far more crowded meeting rooms of the World-Wide Web chat lines.
Chat lines are to computers and the Internet what CB radios were to the lonely and the ineffectual: a place to meet kindred spirits and exchange incredibly boring conversation.
There must be hundreds of thousands chat-lines on the World-wide Web, and many more thousands of people filling these chat lines with information about how they are doing ("great! How are you doing?"), the weather ("Boy, it's cold up here. How's the weather where you are?") and locations. ("I'm in Kittimat. Where are you?").
But of course, the exchange of information is not what matters here - it is the exchange of pretense, which leads to conversations such as "Hi! I'm a 24-year-old gorgeous woman interested in 'chatting' with someone. Anybody wanna to talk?”
"Sure, I am a 30-year old successful investment banker with abs like a washboard, a full head of hair and a Lamborghini in my three car garage. I'd love to chat with you..."
Millions - if not billions - of dollars of technological research and development has been spent to put the Internet in every computer and satellites in orbit around the planet, all so that we no longer have to go out and sit in our cars to pretend we are somebody else - we can do it right in the comfort of our own homes.
As for me, I’m Otte Rosenkrantz, 25-year-old, six-foot-three, 190 pound muscle-bound wild-life photographer on assignment in Kenya.
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