Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Last Welcome

Happy birthday to my forever young sister-in-law Margaret who, in addition to being a wonderful person in her own right, helps make my brother, Adam, smile (and she doesn't even know how to do the Yakky Doodle Duck voice!). These are the days of miracles and wonder and hopefully, this one in particular is filled with both.

My wife and I were having a discussion the other night that started with my discovery of an email from something called a 'Benefits center' purportedly from AOL about our email accounts. The doubly ticklish parts were I live in fear of phishing and hijacking attempts as if all the cyberworld were teeming with schemers trying to hack my email (because they need sleep, I guess), combined with the 'oh yeah, forgot about that' factor when I saw the address to which the note had been sent.

My wife, who has asked thirty-four years' worth of excellent questions in the course of our marriage (there were some perhaps questions she should've asked the morning we married, aber jetzt zu spat; she who hesitates is lunch), wondered aloud 'why do we still have aol?' which led to what are we paying to have accounts we've forgotten we have.

The answer to the latter was 'too much' and that we had no answer to the former except custom and habit meant it was time to pull the plug. Neil is right, com-a, com-a, down doobie-doo-down-down, breaking up is hard to do and it's a lot harder to do on the phone than it might have been on line.

Not sure where America On Line's customer assistance desk is, but it's not in America. The bright happy lady on the phone assured me it was the 'middle of the night' where she was when I wished her a pleasant evening at the end of the call-but it took forever to get to that part of the conversation and I wasn't always sure we would.

We have been with AOL since October 13, 1996-said so right on the screen, and the woman on the phone seemed to consider this leave-taking a little more personally upsetting than I would have thought possible. There are over seven billion of us here on the ant farm and until my call, we had no knowledge of one another's existence. Parting would be painless, or should be, particularly for strangers.

Long referred to derisively by some as the Internet on training wheels, all I can tell you about the AOL signature, 'You've Got Mail,' is that, in its day, it was then what Facebook is now. As a matter of fact, it was so hot a decade ago, AOL, 'new media' bought Warner-Electra-Asylum (and everything that came with it). We are talking serious Hee-wack when that happened and now, yawn.

Anyway, I tried the 'we should see other people' line of logic-no sale. I changed tack and explained 'it's not you, it's me' and all I got for my troubles was a plea to try another account offering with a different array of features, possibly ribbed for someone's pleasure.

Speaking of which, while waiting on the phone to speak to a living person, I had checked my aol account for maybe the first time in six months (or more). I had gigatons of spam and nothing else, and not just Nigerian 'dearly beloved' letters from people dying of diseases not yet invented, every possible sexual stimulant ranging from pharmaceuticals from Canada to penile implants and extensions (via the Net?).

Without getting too mathy on you, if I availed myself of but one in every ten offers for just the dimensional extension, so to speak, I could stand in Pierre, South Dakota facing slightly southwest and impregnate women in Laramie, Wyoming, without moving (well, hardly). This might not endear me to Rob, Margaret's son, but would make quite a picture postcard, I think.

I offered the contents of the spam file to the lady on the phone as yet more proof that, regarding my fifteen year association with aol, as Dylan noted, it's time for my boot heels to be wandering.' She had no idea who he was. I liked her not nearly so much as when we'd started.

Long and short of it, after making me feel like a creep and an ingrate (She: 'After 15 years, now you want to stop?' Me: 'Yes.' She: 'But why and why now?' Me: 'Please. Okay?'), she reluctantly agreed to keep my money for basically another month before assigning wkenny9499 and its associated family addresses to the dustbin of history, digitally speaking of course.

So after the middle of next month, if you send me a note to 'my' aol address, I'm not ignoring you-I didn't get get it. Ever again. Just use one of the other addresses. And if you're trying to reach me, take that thing off, now! You'll put somebody's eye out, probably in Hardin, Montana.
-bill kenny


Adam Kenny said...

Reading this made me think re: my own AOL e-mail address. I remembered - after some effort - that I ended up with an AOL account only after Margaret's ex-husband insisted on getting AOL for the kids (a lifetime ago) when we bought our first home computer.

While I hardly ever check it for any reason, I'm compelled to hold onto it solely because in fifteen-plus years I've never seen a bill from AOL. Either no one receives them, which is fine with me - or good old BOB receives them, which is more than fine with me.

dweeb said...

It's nice to know that streak of vindictiveness that I feared was my special treasure, alone, made it all the way through the bloodline. Well played, Sir!