Scorpio Discovers Dial Up

It was 20 years ago… one of the days this year.

I was six or seven years old and it was way past my bedtime. I had been shown how to connect to the internet on a laptop by an older cousin. This is where #90sKids must remember really, really hard and try to think of the first thing you typed into a search engine after “play games” and subsequently “play free games.” Can you recall?

I remember mine. It was so benign that it doesn’t exist on the Wayback Machine. That’s because it was “spice girls.” I was vaguely attracted to the Spice Girls. I had seen their pictures. I probably hadn’t heard their music. According to Wikipedia they hadn’t even released an album.

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I was “aware” of them though. An odd sort of foreshadowing word that in retrospect defines the collective mood since the internet connected our lives: “awareness.”

Of what was I aware? Attractive British women existed and it made me feel funny? Maybe.

I typed “spice girls” into Yahoo! (I think) and watched as the text loaded beneath. Unclicked links, an entire page of them. I didn’t know what that meant either. But I scrolled, and one thing caught my eye, “nude-naked spice girls!”

I had no idea what nude meant. But naked? That’s what I got when I got in the bath. And they were that on the web? What? Click.

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The text loaded quickly and I didn’t read it until I realized that the photos were creeping down the page at a rate of a quarter-inch every minute. And there were five separate photos. And they were on the beach. And I expanded my vocabulary that night to include nude because there was nothing else to confuse that word within the pictures.

I wasn’t even bummed out that someone had deemed themselves censor and dropped stars on the Spice Girls’ nipples and respective mons pubis (how to pluralize that?). I had no frame of reference to be bummed out about this. As far as I was concerned, getting nude-naked was the single greatest thing I had ever discovered. I had just been sexually awakened by the Spice Girls on the information superhighway.

When I told my friends at school what I had found, I made certain to let them in on the new word I discovered too. “You can search naked girls and nude girls.” I said and then in the sophist tradition leant a little more classiness to nude.

I never found that page nor saw those pictures again, but it changed my life.

______________

I’d love to hear about your first experience with the world wide web or internet. Whatever they called it when you discovered it.

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Asides:

-Last year I watched part of Spiceworld at McCarren Park after smoking something to “knock the edge off” and was truly not ready for it. However, I think it’s worth revisiting as an accidental stoner movie. Thoughts?

-This was an innocent search. To me it’s the quintessential internet search. A variation of Godwin’s Law except with nipples instead of Nazis. And instead of trying to make you think about hyperbole, I used my young self as a comparison. A jumping off point for your memories.

-I can remember emailing my older brother when he was in Kuwait and asking if he heard that the “Spice Girls got booed off stage” somewhere. I was something of a pussy.

-I didn’t use the word “porn” until at least the sixth grade. I was unaware of that word. I think that “Playboy” was the substitute word of choice.

-I may be misremembering the year, it may have been ’96. File that under self-mythology.

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