INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
If I had a grandchild, which I don't, as soon as the little
whippersnapper could talk and use a computer, we would have probably had
the following conversation at some point in the last 10 years.
Little Jimmy: Grandpa, why are you still using AOL for your email?
No one uses AOL anymore.
Me: Well, Little Jimmy, it's because your Grandpa is a dinosaur,
and dinosaurs don't like to make changes.
Little Jimmy: But Grandpa, dinosaurs are all dead.
Me: That's a good point, Little Jimmy. Is your little brain
suggesting Grandpa make a change by giving up his AOL account he's had
since the internet was invented?
Little Jimmy: I'm just saying none of my friends use AOL. Or my
Mommy. Or my Daddy. Or anyone under 90.
Me: That's not true, Little Jimmy. You're exaggerating, like snotty
little kids do sometimes. I have lots of friends under 90 who use AOL.
Little Jimmy: What do you like about AOL ?
Little Jimmy: You couldn't like their spam filters, their pop up
ads or their news teasers?
Me: Oh, isn't Little Jimmy the smart one? Actually, I don't like
many things about it, but I've had it for so long it makes me feel
comfortable. And it's not that expensive.
Little Jimmy: What?
Me: I'm only paying $15.99 per month. I used to pay only $5.99 per
month, but it's gone up over the years, and I'm not happy about that.
Little Jimmy: Grandpa, no one pays for email anymore! That's
ridiculous! What are you thinking?
Me: Shut up, Little Jimmy. You're making Grandpa feel really
Little Jimmy: Sorry, Grandpa. I'm just flabbergasted.
Me: That's a big word for such a little boy. Besides, it's not that
much money for the extra support.
Little Jimmy: How long have you been paying AOL, if I may
Me: Not that long. 20 years. And I used to pay $25 per month when I
first started, so it's gone down a lot.
Little Jimmy: So you've paid AOL thousands of dollars over the
years for practically nothing.
Me: Oh, so now you're a little math whiz, too? For your
information, I've never been hacked. I must be paying for extra security.
Little Jimmy (running from the room, crying): MOMMY, I WANT A NEW
While that conversation was entirely fictional, I've
had others in the last year or so which were eerily similar. As a result,
after months and months of reflection, I decided last week to toughen up
and take the drastic plunge. I opened a Gmail account and took steps to
dump my old friend, AOL.
First I called to find out what I was getting for my $15.99
per month. It turned out there were lots of things, none of which I used.
"I'd like to cancel my plan," I said confidently to
the nice lady on the phone after I waited forever for a real person to
"May I ask why?"
"Yes, you may," I replied. "It's because I'm
tired of people laughing at me."
She then tried to sell me on the existing plan, which I think
is what happened a few years ago when I tried to cancel. This time she
wasn't as successful. Her last gasp was a new $7.99 plan, which offers
24-7 tech support, which apparently is not available on the "Free
"No thank you," I told her. "AOL has been a
good friend for the last 20 years, but I'm moving on. "
It was done. All I needed to do was start forwarding all my
emails from my AOL account to my new Gmail account. Unfortunately, I
quickly found out, AOL doesn't allow automatic forwarding. I guess it's
their way of holding on to dinosaurs.
Nothing was going to stop me, though. I now had a "Free
AOL" account, and a free Gmail account. I'd have to check both for
months to come, but it was a small price to pay for ending the ridicule
and laughter. The 21st century was going to be all mine.
My only regret is that Little Jimmy hasn't been born
yet. I could have shown that disrespectful little twit that dinosaurs can