PLUNGING HEADFIRST 
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 ?

Me: (silence)

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 stupid.

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 respectfully ask?

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 GRANDPA!!!

    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 talk 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 AOL."
   "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 indeed survive.
 

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