In 1997 my dad bought me a desktop PC for school. It had a 2 gig hard-drive because, he said, “I thought you needed something you could grow into.” It had Microsoft Office and came with a disk for a web-service called Gowebway.
I remember unpacking the computer, anticipating all the things I could do with it, like word processing and…well I didn’t know what else. I didn’t have any reason to make a spreadsheet. I’d never emailed. The web was an abstraction. It was like Encarta apparently, but more so.
When my folks left my place, I started up my computer, loaded Gowebway, hooked up my phone line and within minutes, I was online. A minute after that I was looking for porn. A few seconds after that, I found porn, and lots of it. Before the day was through, I had signed up for a $30/month subscription service (seemed like a deal), and had spent the whole night—and many days and nights after—having a one man bacchanal. It was a fitting entree to my online life, which has been the mental equivalent of a lifetime’s supply of Cheetos. Like Cheetos, online content is satisfying going down, but leaves you totally unnourished no matter how much you consume.