It's Time to Stop Public AOL User Shaming

I still use an AOL email address. There. Are you done snickering? I'm glad I amused you. No, I don't have one of those hip, state-of-the-art, space-age gmail accounts. So, now what? I have to give back my coolness membership card? My invitation to the Macklemore Hosts the Vanity Fair Party Celebrating the New Kylie Jenner App gets rescinded?

There's no consistency when it comes to mocking outdated technology.

If you still buy music CDs, you're old and out-of-touch. But yet it's fashionable to collect vinyl records. Hipsters and music snobs cherish the cracks and pops of a needle passing over the grooves of an LP. In other words, it's cool to listen to music that sounds like shit. Heck, if I knew that, I wouldn't have given away my R. Kelly tickets.

You're not supposed to enjoy outdated video game systems, unless you do it ironically. Then it's sort of okay. Well, while my friends are playing Grand Theft Auto 5 on Xbox and murdering prostitutes, I'm "ironically" piling up six-digit scores digits on Atari Frogger. Take that, suckas.

(Note: I'm not sure if I used the proper grammar. Did I make it sound like my friends were playing a video game and then, separately, they also happen to be murdering prostitutes? Because that's what I meant.)

Only losers and 90-year-olds still watch movies on a VCR. Only dorks and 60-year-olds still watch movies on a DVD Player. Only goofballs and 40-year-olds still watch movies on a Blu-Ray player. Young, edgy people watch movies on their wristwatch.

Old cameras are still cool -- the bigger, the bulkier, the better. Behind every sixty-pound early 1900s vintage wooden box camera is a hipster with too much integrity to capture a moment with a tiny, modern, soulless, picture-taking device, unless he's taking selfies at Burning Man.

People under the age of 25 don't make fun of me for owning a landline phone because they don't know what a landline phone is.

I have a cell phone, but I'm still afraid to eliminate my landline. It's like my security blanket.

(Note: My actual security blanket is made by Apple. It's a limited edition Linus iBlanket. So nobody makes fun of me for that.)

I don't receive many phone calls on my landline phone. A nice Indian lady calls me every few months with an opportunity to save money on my electric bill. But that's about it. But I've never lost my landline phone, it has never been stolen, I don't rudely whip it out when I'm at a restaurant, and the screen isn't cracked.

Now, you can still be hip and cutting edge with a landline phone, but only if it's one of those retro-looking antique telephones. In fact, even if the phone doesn't actually work, it's mainly just there for decoration, anyway. Sort of like a BlackBerry.

I'm also afraid to drop my subscription to Time-Warner. I have a growing number of friends who have ditched cable entirely -- because they have their Netflix and their Hulu and they don't feel like paying a monthly fortune to watch teen moms and twelve auto racing channels.

I'm not emotionally prepared to get rid of my cable, however. Not yet, anyway. I don't like the idea of turning on the television and then having to program in a show. When I turn on the TV, I want the TV to be on. Plus, I'm one of the 40 people left in America who still watches the evening news. And I need cable TV for that. Of course, with Netflix, you can marathon an entire season of news in one weekend, which is pretty convenient. But it's just not the same.

So there's no technological consistency. Sometimes we deride older technology. Sometimes we admire it. But there's usually some explanation. I mean, I understand why my Friendster account is losing steam.

But why is AOL a joke? What is the explanation? Why do people laugh when I tell them I still use America On-Line? I don't get it. It's embarrassing. Every time I give out my email address, I feel like I'm using a Discover card.

Look, I "get" technology. But what technological email breakthrough did I miss? With my AOL address, I deliver and receive messages instantly. Did Steve Jobs improve on that somehow? Was "instantly" not fast enough for people?

When people are at my home, and they hear "you've got mail" coming from my computer, they make fun of me. Why?! I don't get it. Why do I feel like I'm wearing dad jeans to a rave? Did the hip gadget gods come up with a better way of letting you know you have mail? How does Scarlet Johansson get her emails- by drone?

In this politically correct world we live in, in which shaming/mocking groups of people is socially condemned, there remains one category of Americans that continues to be scorned, joked about, condescended to, laughed at, ostracized, judged, questioned and publicly humiliated -- AOL users. Well, also mimes.

Personally, I've had enough of the abuse. I'm taking a stand. I will no longer be embarrassed over my love for AOL. I'm a proud AOL user. AOL is convenient and reliable and I've never seen any reason to change. Plus, with my new unlimited AOL pricing plan, I can use the Internet for hours at a time. And if you don't like what I'm saying, then send me a message at (note: Don't actually send me a message at that AOL address. It's not really mine. It's Jeb Bush's.)

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