The original. Posted on the AOL Members Helping Members Message Boards in Jan. 1997. I've seen a lot of other versions since then, but I still like mine the best.

1. "You have been idle for a while. Would you like to stay online?"

(Our heroine dutifully hits "Yes" and continues her download.)

2. "You have been online for 46 minutes. Do you want to stay online? Please respond in 10 minutes or you will be logged off."

(Our heroine, appreciating AOL's thoughtfulness in helping her *keep track* of time, hits OK and opens a Compose Mail screen.)

3. "You have been online for 92 minutes. That's OK. We promised you *unlimited* service, and it's nice to see you enjoying it. But ... here's just a thought ... maybe you could sorta finish up whatever you're doing right now and go read a good book?"

(Our heroine, perusing the message boards, is slightly puzzled. Is AOL promising her *unlimited* service ... and then attempting to make her feel GUILTY if she wants to actually take advantage of it?? Nahhhhh ... couldn't be.)

4. "You have been online for 138 minutes. Not to put any pressure on you here or anything, but there ARE other people in the world who would prolly like to sign on. Let's show some consideration for our fellow AOL members and sign off, whaddya say?"

(Our heroine, enjoying an i.m. conversation with her best cyber pal, experiences a brief flash of guilt as she envisions the millions of AOL subscribers who, at this very moment, are flailing and weeping in frustration because she, selfish wench that she is, is hogging cyber access for the entire country. Then she hits "OK" and goes back to her chat.)

5. "You DO realize that you've been online for 184 minutes, right? Do you not have a LIFE outside of cyber?? When was the last time you smelled a flower ... defrosted your freezer ... enjoyed an actual conversation with your FAMILY?"

(Our heroine, having concluded a long and delightful i.m. session, has now begun to play a round of Trivia when this latest *message* appears on her screen. OK, it's true. She's a cyber addict. The inside of her freezer resembles an Arctic tundra, and as for her family ... well, let's just say that at least they always know where to *find* Mom. But this is manipulative and intrusive, and just for spite she bangs on the "OK" key and goes on to score another 15 points for correctly identifying Vito Scotti as being the most frequent guest star on "Gilligan's Island.")

6. "OK. This is getting ridiculous. You have been online for 230 minutes: frankly, you're starting to tick us off. If you sign off right now, we'll bring back your Buddy List: fail to comply, and prepare to be inundated with annoying unsolicited cyber advertisements for VITAMINS."

(Our heroine enjoys a merry moment of LOL'ng. You're gonna bring back my Buddy List?? And it'll be fully functional, right? Will that be before or AFTER pigs learn to fly? She then hits OK without a second thought.)

7. "276 minutes now. And no, you're not imagining things ... you really did hear a *noise* outside. That's us, preparing to break down your door and DRAG YOU BODILY from your chair, take a baseball bat to your computer and rip your phone right outta the wall."

(Our heroine, demurely opens the door and lets the Dobermans out for a *run* ....)

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