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Q. What, exactly, is the Internet?
A. The Internet is a worldwide network of university, government, business, and private computer systems.
Q. Who runs it?
A. A 13-year-old named Jason.
Q. How can I get on the Internet?
A. The easiest way is to sign up with one of the popular commercial "online" services, such as Prodigy, CompuServe, or America Online, which will give you their program disks for free. Or, if you just leave your house unlocked, they'll sneak in some night and install their programs on your computer when you're sleeping. They really want your business.
Q. What are the benefits of these services?
A. The major benefit is that they all have simple, "user-friendly" interfaces that enable you -- even if you have no previous computer experience -- to provide the online services with the information they need to automatically put monthly charges on your credit card bill forever.
Q. What if I die?
A. They don't care.
Q. Can't I cancel my account?
A. Of course! You can cancel your account at anytime.
A. Nobody has ever been able to find out. Some of us have been trying for years to cancel our online service accounts, but no matter what we do, the charges keep appearing on our bills. We're thinking of entering the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Q. What if I have children?
A. You'll want an anesthetic, because it really hurts.
Q. No, I mean, What if my children also use my Internet account?
A. You should just sign your house and major internal organs over to the online service right now.
Q. Aside from running up charges, what else can I do once I'm connected to an online service?
A. Millions of things! An incredible array of things! No end of things!
Q. Like what?
A. You can ... ummmm ... OK! I have one! You can chat.
Q. I can already chat. I chat with my friends.
A. Yes, but on the Internet, which connects millions of people all over the entire globe, you can chat with total strangers, many of whom are boring and stupid!
Q. Sounds great! How does it work?
A. Well, first you decide which type of area you wish to chat in. Some areas are just for general chatting, and some are for specific interest groups, such as Teens, Poets, Cat Lovers, Religious People, Homos?xu?ls, G?y Te?ns who Read Religious Poetry to Cats, and of course Guys Having Pointless Arguments About Sports. At any given moment, an area can contain anywhere from two to dozens of people, who use clever fake names such as "ByteMe2" so nobody will know their real identities.
Q. What are their real identities?
A. They represent an incredible range of people, people of all ages, in all kinds of fascinating fields from scientists to singers, from writers to wranglers, from actors to athletes -- you could be talking to almost anybody on the Internet!
A. No. You're almost always talking to losers and hormone-crazed 13-year-old boys. But they pretend to be writers, wranglers, scientists, singers, etc.
Q. What do people talk about in chat areas?
A. Most chat-area discussions revolve around the fascinating topic of who is entering and leaving the chat area. A secondary, but equally fascinating, topic is where everybody lives. Also, for a change of pace, every now and then the discussion is interrupted by a hormone-crazed 13-year-old boy wishing to talk dirty to women.