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by: Max Burbank

I’ll tell you what, though. These are some admittedly dark times we’re living through, but I don’t know why everybody has to be such god damn whatever the plural of "Gloomy Gus" would be. I mean, come on. We are living in the best historical period that ever was. Even if while I’m typing this some hard line, stone age, terrorist salvo rips me to pieces, if at this very moment an Anthrax spore is turning around and around before settling down like a pussy cat in my nasal membranes, or my own government is moments away from stuffing me in a six by nine cell where the lights are on twenty four seven and only fails to tape my private conversations with my lawyer because no one has been told WHERE I AM all because some intern thought ‘Burbank’ was a kind of Arab sounding last name if you cough while saying it, none of that, NONE, could cancel out the fact I lived in the age of the Internet.

I mean, my God, what can’t it do? Until I got the Internet I couldn’t find three other people who knew what Stratego was. Now I can play it on-line all night long with a sociopath agoraphobe who may or may not be from Tuba City Arizona, and if I don’t want to meet them in person at the Greyhound station of my choice, all I have to do is say ‘no’ every third or fourth turn.

Got an H.R. Puff-N-Stuff shrine in an attic closet? Want to talk about it with like minded pals but don’t think it would be good for your Home Daycare business if the word got out? No Prob! There’s about a billion chat rooms, Fanzines, Yahoo lists, and E-Bay auctions out there waiting for you and none of them have any problem at all if you hide behind the username ‘Foam Rubber Chubby’. But suppose, just suppose for a moment, you’re a purist. Plush dolls, Video tapes, original teleplay scripts, fan fiction, all that shit smacks of IDOLATRY, baby! The only true expression of Puff-N-Stuff devotion? The lunchbox. Thermos missing? You get the hell out of my face, Whore of Babylon. If that’s your scene, yeah, there will be a lot less computer literate folks out there to share your feelings with… If, by ‘a lot less’ you mean SEVERAL THOUSAND!

Know what I found out on-line? There’s only one other person of note with my name. He’s a middle aged Canadian Doctor famous for his work in Medical Imaging Technology. And if I’d like to be the only ‘Max Burbank’ Google turns up? I just need to take a little Canadian ski vacation. Cause the Internet told me just where to find ‘Dr." Max Burbank.

But suppose for a moment the person you’re looking for doesn’t have a somewhat unusual name? Suppose your long lost cousin, high school sweetheart or summer camp chum was named John or Jane Smith? There’s a whole industry that for a small fee will use our friend the Internet to find them for you so you can stalk and terrorize them.

There are people out there who’s lives would have been empty without participating in a MUSH (`multi-user Shared Hallucination, or text-based online world) fashioned after fifties sitcom Jerry van Dyke Vehicle "My Mother the Car" but who are so violently opposed to smoking they wouldn’t want to encounter it even on line; are OK if some of the players want to include R rated romance but only after 9:00 PM EST and for the most part want to stick with the scenario but think it’d kind of shake things up for the better if every once in a while there was some kind of crossover with Characters from the Speed Racer universe because they’d like to have a second identity as "My Older Sister the Powerful Mach Five". As little as twenty years ago, they’d have spent their lives alone!

And the Porn! Sweet Creeping Jesus, the Porn! My rarified tastes could always be satisfied by the ‘specialty’ magazines available at your local convenience store, but what about those poor bastards who are more ‘specific’ in their cravings than the demographic embraced by ‘Leg Parade’? There are people out there, and not just a few, whose motor only revs for fantasies involving Lady Bird Johnson and Topo Gigio, and Topo has to be dressed as a nun! If that’s your game, and God love you if it is, There’s a gentleman who calls himself "The Big Whisker" who wants to trade Pictures with you! Need to immerse yourself in amateur gay fiction based on "Adam Twelve"? Want to start a web ring for people with sites about if Famed Fifties Cheesecake Model Betty Page only had one leg? Insatiable Craving for skillfully rendered fake pictures of
what Tom Delay might look like naked but for cowboy boots and a whip? IT’S ALL THERE!!

So don’t come whining to me about how bad things are and how can we bring children into a world like this and all of your weinery obsessions with this, that and the other Golden Age long gone by and how much happier you’d have been in it. We may be one magnetic pulse away from being kicked out of the garden but at this moment we are there, and if you think I’m going to waste a precious second worrying when I could be reading fictional accounts of off screen antics on the set of "Xena: Warrior Princess" well, the hell with you and everyone like you.

Plus which, you may not have heard, but at Burger King? You can get glass Goblets with Bas-Relief figures from the soon to be released "Lord of the Rings" movie. And they LIGHT UP!

LOTR Light-Up Goblets

So stop whining. This is the Golden Age.

note: Max Burbank may say this is the Golden Age, but what he wouldn't give for a chance to see the Village People perform "YMCA" live just once more. The past is gone Max... the past is gone.

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