Friday, February 01, 2008

Hey, You Kids Like Candy?

Back in 2001, my buddy Ego (who, sadly, no longer blogs) introduced me to his online circle of friends. Since he'd already told everybody that my name was "Irb," I never really got a chance to come up with one of those really cool online handles, like DarkPhalcon or AssMagnet844.

So anyway, one day when I was supposed to be working, a bunch of us were logged into a public MSN chatroom. While we were babbling away inanely, some girl named "Meredith" popped into the room and said, "my name is meredith and im their ne1 else my age in here"

The youngest of us at the time was around 28 or so, but that didn't stop one of the girls from saying, "irb's 16... aren't you irb?"

So I played along. "yeah im 16. i wear big pants and ive seen titanic 34 times."

Meredith replied, "ooo i luv that name is meredith cuz my favrite singer is meredith brooks"

I said, "rly? my name is irb cuz my favorite singers are peaches & herb"

This resulted in a bunch of LOLOLOLs, ROFLs, and ROFLMAOs from the peanut gallery, and suddenly Meredith realized she'd been had. "ur not 16!!!!!!!!!! u suk!!!!!!!!!!" And then, she logged out.

It was all good, clean Christian fun, but that kind of crap would never fly today. Ever since NBC Dateline started airing their To Catch a Predator segments, people have become convinced that Nobel Prize winner Al Gore's Internet is a massive community of pedophiles, perverts, and freedom-hating terrorists. And a geezer like me claiming to be 16 years old would probably set off all kinds of alarms. Especially if anyone ran across my evil twin in the Plano Registered Sexual Offenders database.

In case you haven't seen To Catch a Predator, basically it works like this. Members of a volunteer watchdog group called Perverted-Justice set up fake online profiles of underage kids and enter chatrooms as decoys. They are inevitably approached by an adult and, more often than not, the conversation turns sexual. Anyway, the adult makes arrangements to meet the underaged chatter. A youthful looking 18 or 19 year old poses as the minor and meets with the adult. And then, Chris Hansen comes jumping out from behind a tree or something to confront the predator. As the culprit tries to worm out of it, Hansen often reads incriminating excerpts from emails and chat logs and badgers the bastard until the police show up to take him away.

So a few months ago, after watching a few uncomfortable confrontations with Chris Hansen, I finally turned off the TV and went in the other room to play some World of Warcraft. I'd been playing my character Verbal for about 10 minutes (and chatting in the general channel) when a player calling herself Batwoman whispered to me, "ur so funny".

I replied back, "thanks" and went on with my life. But Batwoman was in a chatty mood.

Batwoman> ur hilarious. how old r u?
Verbal> probably old enough to be your father
Batwoman> im 17 but all my dad's friends say i look older
Verbal> that's great
Batwoman> so how old r u?
Verbal> 40
Batwoman> thats not so old
Verbal> well, thanks
Batwoman> yea my dad's friends say i look at least 21
Verbal> that's great

And so it went. I didn't want to be rude, but I was getting a little creeped out by how she kept on trying to convince me how mature she was for her age. And that whole To Catch a Predator thing was still fresh in my mind, so I kept imagining some old, fat guy sitting at his PC, trying to trick me into saying something inappropriate.

Finally, I decided I'd give up and log on as another character. So while she was going on and on about how she's always dated guys that were older than her, I informed her that I was logging off.

Verbal> well, i gotta log. see you later.
Batwoman> wot do u mean youve got a log?

At that point, I panicked and glanced out the window to see if Chris Hansen and his camera crew were standing outside my door. Hurriedly, I corrected her.

Verbal> no, i've got to log off.
Batwoman> o lol can i add u 2 my friends?

I signed off without answering and waited a couple of days before logging back on as that character. I haven't run into Batwoman again since that night, so I'm hoping that means I won't be showing up unexpectedly on Dateline anytime soon...


Professor said...

Online is creepy.

eric said...

I'm convinced their contacting you was all a targeted far right wing conspiracy campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It's the only thing scarier for parents than a terrorist, so DONT THINK, VOTE REPUBLICAN, ONLY WE CAN KEEP YOU SAFE...

Plus, they just bought some GE stock and NBC needs the ratings.

SJ said...

you totally ARE the guy with the Dallas parole board after you, come on, admit it already, geeze. --signed, Batwoman

word verify: RVqxi (What happens when you have to fuck really fast in an Airstream?)

Farrago said...

DUDE! You're losing your edge, man!

Batwoman> wot do u mean youve got a log?
Verbal> I mean I gotta take a crap.

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