The internet was a project the American government commissioned in the 1960s. The project was meant to build a robust, fault-tolerant communication systems with computer networks. Basically, the internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. That’s it. One sentence and most of us understand what I’m writing about.
In 1997, I walked into the library on Main Street in Queens, NY and looked around until I found the small computer stations. It was easy to find because they were huge old white computers sitting on bar height tables. I walked over and stood there for a few seconds. That’s when the young man walked over to me. He was young, white, and wearing a polo shirt and khaki pants. A little on the chubby side, with short dirty blonde hair.
“Hi. Do you need help?” he asked. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and gathered all the courage I could find.
“Yes. I need you to explain to me what the internet is,” I said. I was nervous and shaking. I didn’t think he was going to laugh at me, but I thought he would think of me as an idiot. But I didn’t care. Actually I did care, but I knew that that was my only option.
“What?” he asked.
“I don’t know what it is, what it does, or what it is for, but every commercial I see has something about WWW, and I want to understand it,” I said.
He didn’t laugh. He smiled and pointed to one of the computers.
“Ok. Come this way,” he said. Then he moved a mouse and started explaining the sentence above. He told me about websites, research, business, and the rest. He told me that school reports should still be done with old fashion books, but I should search in case there was newer information. And in some cases, I could find all the information online. The entire lesson didn’t take more than an hour. He was very patient with me and my first internet search was for (wait for it!):
I remember because he had his eye-brow pierced, and when he told me to search for anything, that was the only thing I could think of. Now back in 1997, I guess there weren’t any website blockers, or at least not a lot of them, cause in my search a Prince Albert popped up! He minimized the page immediately and blushed!
“Sorry!” he said, “We’re on a government computer! I forgot that part. You should be careful and more specific of what you search, because even if you type in Mickey Mouse, something inappropriate is going to come up.”
“Ok. Thank you so much!” I said.
“Any more questions?” he asked, and I shook my head.
“What was your name?”
“Well, I’m _____. Nice meeting you.”
I forgot his name and I never saw him again.
Now it’s twenty years later (seriously, where has the time gone?!?!) and today I’m going to the library to find the first young person that works there so they can explain to me how to delete fucking Facebook!Tags: facebook, internet, later, learning, library, New York, Queens, seventeen, twenty, years