My character from "A Story About Nothin'" really likes the year 1998.
Then, I get in my ’98 black Honda Accord and drive to my favorite diner, Miss Patti’s Waffle House.
’98 was a good year, especially for music. There was a freedom to suck that can’t be duplicated ever again. The teenyboppers were in full force with the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC dominating the charts. I had a folded-up poster of Britney Spears (circa Hit Me Baby One More Time) under my bed that shared many special times with me.
Back then, an 11- year old Fatty Four- eyes (my beloved childhood nickname), who couldn’t catch the eye of even the ugliest girl in class, was enthralled with the wonder of the World Wide Web. Every day, he’d run home after being the 5th and 6th grade boys’ punching bag and wait the 5-15 minutes it took to dial up the internet in anticipation. The sounds of all the networks and whatever connecting to the Beyond was like a lullaby and when the AOL™ lady welcomed him to the internet it was just as good as if his mama greeted his return from school.
Fatty Four- eyes had found that on AIM®, Yahoo! ™ Messenger, and those teen chats, he could be whoever he wanted to be. The anonymity was his haven and thanks to a complicated system of ones and zeroes, he had an escape. D.A.R.E. had drilled into Fatty that gateway drugs led to people naked and jacking it in San Diego, but there wasn’t anything bad about surfing the internet. For years, up until college, he lived dual lives until the chasm between the two started to fill in and eventually real life and the internet were the same. Constantly putting on his best face; a perpetual resume about his worthiness to other sacks of flesh.