People Describe The Weirdest Things About The Early Internet
Since its advent way back in the 1960s and its popularization in the 1990s, the internet has long departed its primitive roots and become the most influential technology to grace the human race since the printing press.
With every passing year, the capabilities of just a few years before seem quaint, slow, and clunky.
What used to be an interconnected network of documents using fax machine technology is now a robust invisible universe that facilitates sweeping political action, allows for the creation of multi billion dollar corporations, and even exerts long-term influence on our personal neurochemistries.
It's so easy to take the latest advancements for granted. Some Redditors took a momentary step back and reflected on the earliest days of the internet, before it had already changed the world.
They recalled the silliest idiosyncracies they could.
DevilYouKnow asked, "What was the weirdest part of the early internet?"
"The early days of CSS & HTML with cursor effects, far too many different fonts, visitor counters on every website, inexplicable scrolling text, animated gifs everywhere, etc."
"It was an assault on the senses, but it was also glorious!"
When it was Small Enough
"How AOL didn't use URLs. Every 'website' had a keyword, meaning that every topic literally only had one website."
"I remember when Nickelodeon would constantly promote themselves on TV and said 'Log on to AOL keyword 'Nick!' meaning that that was literally the only place you could see Nickelodeon content."
"Fast" is a Relative Term
"Starting a download before you went to bed so it would be done when you got up the next morning." -- Nightdave
"I've had my taste of that recently. A friend broke his phone so hard, the only thing that still worked to get his files out was Bluetooth. Estimated transfer time to my PC: 9 hours."
"Felt just like downloading Empire Earth again." -- Allegutennamenweg
The Wild West
"I must be older than anyone here, because the 'early days' of the internet was back when years still started with 19. And there were NO RULES."
"There was no online tracking, no ad-bots, just no enforcement of any kind. Essentially the internet then was what the dark net is now. Anything could be found, but only if you knew where to look."
"Search engines we're all but useless and nothing was protected for sh**. A few hours in a dumpster full of paper could get you access to nearly anything."
"That was the early days of the internet."
A Little Too Interconnected
"Telling people not to use the phone because you were on the internet." -- omegaclick
"Downloading a big file when someone picks up the phone. Fffffffffff" -- 1019throw2
"Mom, hang up! I'm on the Internet!!!!" -- philpalmer2
First to Market
"Who here remembers Netscape Navigator being the best browser?" -- UndeadWarlord
"Oh god, I hung on to using it way longer than I'd like to admit!" -- BootlegMickeyMouse
"Just yesterday I was signing up for an account on a company's site and on their recommended software for viewing the site they had Netscape still listed." -- rhen_var
"My friend's mom's reaction when I replaced AOL's 'you've got mail' with 'you've got porn'" -- UndeadWarlord
"I replaced mine with the 'You just got a letter' song from Blue's Clues." -- KnockMeYourLobes
"I had the twang 'message for you sir' from Monty Python and the Holy Grail." -- house_autumn
Before it Owned the World
"Amazon was still a bookstore." -- HumongousBratwurst
"And it would list the best selling books in your location." -- Roche77e
"And it used to have a little monkey swinging on a vine as it's logo" -- watchman28
"My Amazon account, created in early 2001, is older than Billie Eilish..." -- Knauserer
Pining for Old Simplicity
"I dunno. But, I really miss the way recipes used to be shared online. No scrolling through a giant website of background story of the recipe and countless ads."
"It was literally just the text of the recipe, with comments under of how to tweak that recipe."
"We were so spoiled by the simplicity and immediacy of ingredient lists back then and we didn't even know it."
Quite the Scheme
"People printing porn at the library" -- Chunky0P
"Ahem. I had myself a little system."
"I couldn't do it now, but I managed to learn how to read normal text printed in Cyrillic font. Not a different language -- literally just the English text printed in Cyrillic font.
"At the time I couldn't possibly have got hold of a private printer, or indeed a private computer where I could... err... be myself. The University printers at the time were all run by actual staff and you had to collect and pay for your printouts from them."
"My little system allowed me to print out lots of alt.sex.stories content on the University printers and when collecting, claim to my dismay that the printout went a bit wrong, and aww shucks I guess I'd better just pay for the failed printout and I'll take it and use it to wrap fish or something." -- IcyCrust
A Contemporary Edison
"My step dad made a 'receiver' to steal the neighbour's internet out of a strainer covered in tinfoil."
"I'm sure there was more to it but that's how my 12 year old brain perceived it."
Outdated Selling Points
"Idk how weird it is, but does anyone remember the early Road Runner internet commercials where the spokesman bragged about the size of their internet cables compared to dial up?"
Needed a Whole Extra 30 Seconds
"Driving in the car and hearing radio commercials explain how to spell the URL."
"'Now kids, ask your parents for permission to log on and type 'h t t p colon two forward slashes (that's the one that goes up from left to right) double u double u double u dot (that's the period)...'"
"There were websites that posted videos, and they'd describe what's in the video, and how big it is."
"So you'd be able to decide if it's worth waiting an hour to watch it."
"All the random sh** on Limewire under completely different titles" -- pdxblazer
"Limewire was horribly dangerous." -- archavex
"That was like going into a wild orgy without a condom. So many virtual STDs. I think I had Norton antivirus at the time." -- P_elquelee
End of an Era
"I think it's a tie. Either trying to download something like "Barbie Girl" on limewire to make a mix CD you could bring to summer camp and after waiting 10 hours for it download you find out it's just an audio clip of Bill Clinton saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" and having to start all over again."
"OR, it was playing what you assumed was a basic flash maze game or maybe watching a sweet music video that your friend sent you only to be terrified by a picture of Regan from the exorcist popping up and screaming at you when you least expect it."
"Between those two and the Ally McBeal dancing baby, I think that covers all my early experiences of the internet."
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
For closeted individuals, coming out is a rite of passage in life that LGBTQ+ people never signed up for.
Why is it that anyone who inherently identifies a certain way has to explain themselves to those who are confused and unwavering in their socialized ignorance?
Times have changed and while there have been advances made for LGBTQ+ people to find more acceptance and feel less like an "other," there are still many challenges to overcome.
Even with gay role models prevalent in pop culture, it can still be difficult for gay youth today to come out to a parent who chooses to live in the past and align themselves to antiquated ideals in society that prevents them from loving their child as they are.
But sometimes, the response after opening up to a parent in a vulnerable moment can prove that unconditional love is the best thing in the entire world.
Curious to hear about positive responses, Redditor Expert_Recover3061 asked:
"What's the best response to 'Dad, I think I'm gay'?"
Even those who aren't fathers can give the best response.
"In the 90s, when my girlfriend finally told her traditional Italian mom and grandma at 19, they sighed in unison and grandma said, 'oh thank baby Jesus, I was worried that I was going to have to tell you.'"
What Gran Said
“'I thought you were about to give me bad news! Don’t scare me like that!' - My granny when my uncle came out (in the ‘70’s!). She was decades ahead of her time…"
They're still parents.
The Rules Don't Change
"You still have to wear a condom."
Not The Only Outcome
"Pregnancy isn't the only STD."
Bracing For The Worst
"This was my literal response when my brother came out to me. He’d called me and said he had something urgent to tell me and it had to be face to face. I was a bus journey away and started to panic so I made him tell me over the phone."
“'I’m gay.' 'I know that! I thought someone had DIED.'"
"When I came out to my dad when I was 16 I thought he would disown me. He said: 'Son, If anyone ever hurts you for that, I’ll f'king kill them'. In that moment I realized that I had the best dad in the world."
These reactions raised eyebrows.
“'So that’s why you don’t like mushrooms'. At least that’s what my friends dad said to him when he came out. We still don’t know what he meant by that."
"One of my friends from high school was gay, and when he came out to his family his Dad literally didn’t look up from his newspaper & told him his sister didn’t need to tell him she was straight so why would he need to explain that he was gay? He’s known him his whole life and already knew that."
"It was cute because he was so worried."
These Redditors realized they had nothing to fear.
Cheers To That
"Well... My dad said 'I know... And I don't care. As long as you are happy, I'm also happy for you.' And then asked me if I wanted a beer or scotch to celebrate that I finally had the confidence to tell him."
The Best Parents
"Our son came out to us a month ago. We already suspected, so it wasn't a shock."
"When he told me I thanked him for telling me, told him that I loved him, then explained that who he wants to tell next and how he wants to tell them is 100% his choice and we will support him however he wants and needs. He gave us a list of people to tell, and by the end of the week he wanted everyone to know."
"Love and acknowledgement and support."
Most parents these days aren't given enough credit for being understanding–and also having good instincts about their closeted children–as the fear of being disowned weighs heavily on the mind of individuals who are apprehensive about coming out.
A friend of mine told me her 19-year-old son came out to her and her husband. They already suspected and were waiting on him to come out on his terms when he was ready.
Her husband had the best response.
"Son, I just hope I get to have the first dance with you at the wedding."
Everyone loves a good mystery or ghost story, particularly one with a massive twist regarding one of the main characters.
But surely, stories like this never happen in real life?
Such as finding yourself stuck on the side of the road, when a guardian angel of sorts comes and helps you, seemingly out of nowhere, then disappears just as mysteriously.
Or getting a call warning you about something which sounds far-fetched, then happens three weeks later?
Surely, these are the types of situations only found in the work of Shirley Jackson or Edgar Allen Poe.
Or are they?
"What's the most mysterious thing happened in your life that you can't find any explanation for?"
Mom Acting Weird
"My mum is a type 1 diabetic, has been since she was 11 years of age."
"When me and my little brother were very young, I was about 7 and he was 5 , I came into my mum's room to find she was acting extremely strange."
"She looked almost drunk, and wasn’t really responsive."
"I went to pick up her insulin needles to see if she would react to that and she didn’t."
"So I panicked and phoned my Nan who told me to put the phone down and dial 999."
"For some reason I was so frightened and confused I didn’t, and sent my little brother outside to get help while I tried to get my mum to respond to me."
"My brother came back in crying saying he couldn’t find anyone and then about five minuets later this woman just walked into my mum's bedroom, called me by my name, and my brothers, said she knew my mum and help is coming, she was calm, soft-spoken and had a warm feeling about her."
"I didn’t recognize this woman and neither did my brother."
"Shortly after the ambulance arrived and got my mum's sugar levels back up."
"And when I went to find the woman, she was gone."
"Like literally gone."
"When my mum came round I explained to her about this mysterious woman and what she looked like."
"And my mum had absolutely no idea who she was, and we never saw her again."
"If she didn’t help us my mum would have died eventually."
"Still gives me shivers now."- leeshouse90Portrait Of A Lady On Fire Neon Rated GIF by NEONGiphy
Psychic, or lucky?
"When I was around 18 a friend and I were traveling in Europe."
"We were walking along a pleasant, quiet street in Rome one day and saw an elderly homeless man sitting on the street."
"He said to us if he could guess our date of birth could we give him some money?"
"Of course we said ok."
"He did it! "
"He told us both our correct dates of birth!"
"Never met him before and never saw him again."- robertodurian
Some Unfinished Work, Maybe?
"I was at my mother in law's flat in Hungary."
"Fyi I don't speak Hungarian, so I couldn't be aware of any of this."
"I tend to go to bed later that my wife, and for the first couple of nights, I had trouble falling asleep because around midnight I could hear the neighbor upstairs."
"It's an old block of flats made under the communist era, walls are incredibly thin."
"Walk in high heels, which was very annoying."
"I could also hear little objects fall on the floor, and I told my wife it sounded like the plastic buttons you have on some clothes."
"She looked at me funny and told me her niece hated to sleep in that room because she was scared by the noises coming from upstairs."
"I said that was a bit exaggerated, and I thought it was until my wife told me the flat upstairs had been empty for the past at least 4 years."
"Neighbor died years before that, and guess what?"
"She was a tailor, always nicely dressed and wearing high heels."- mimzouHigh Heels Shoes GIF by Real Housewives Of CheshireGiphy
Gone Without A Trace
"When I was a kid, I participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters, which if you don't know what that is it's pretty much just a mentorship program in the US."
"I basically just hung out with this dude Chris for a couple hours a week."
"We'd go to the movies, out to eat, he'd help me with my homework, that kinda thing."
"One day, he tells me that he's going to Baltimore for a couple weeks and when I should expect him back."
"The day rolls around and I give him a call to see if he's back yet."
"A man whose voice I didn't recognize answered and I asked if Chris was there."
"He said no."
"I asked him when Chris would be back just kinda thinking it was someone staying at his house or watching his dogs or something."
"But he said that I had the wrong number, that he and his wife had lived there for years, and there was never a Chris there."
"I double checked in the phonebook to see if it was the right number which it was because I had it circled."
"I was confused so I just said sorry and hung up, and I never heard from Chris ever again."- theautomemoriesdoll
A Clever Distraction?
"When I was 10 or so I was staying at my grandma's over the summer break and we were having breakfast."
"We barely started eating when the phone rang."
"She left the dining room and I followed her thinking that maybe they were my parents calling."
"When we returned most of the food was gone."
"She asked me if I ate while she was on the phone and I said 'no'."
"There was no one else home and there were no pets."
"My grandma just shook it off saying we might have eaten more than she remembered but I am absolutely positive that I had at most two bites of my toast by the time the phone rang."- queenliz2frHungry Good Morning GIF by HBO MaxGiphy
"Every month around the 5th I get a letter with exactly 23 dollars."
"No note, no return address."
"I’ve asked family, relatives, friends, the two past occupants of this apartment."
"Nobody knows anything about it."
"It is not addressed to me, but to my unique postal address."
"The total is now exactly 1886, I have just stashed it all in a box."
"I do not want to spend it in case it is cursed."- Puzzleheaded_Ad928
A Comforting Sign
"My grandmother always loved roses and had them growing in her back yard."
"She died in a December and when we were gathered at her house for the funeral my father happened to look out the back window and saw a bright red rose had blossomed."
"It stood out brightly against the snow."
"He brought it in and put it in a vase on the kitchen table."
"We all left for the funeral and when we came back the rose was on the living room floor."
"No one had been in the house while we were gone."
"My father is the most hard-headed person alive but he was convinced it was his mothers way of telling him she was all right."- regular6drunk7
"We have a built in wardrobe in our bedroom."
"About a month ago our cat had managed to get herself inside and I must have closed the door."
"I heard her meowing and I opened the door and she jumped out and walked off."
"I closed the wardrobe door."
"Less than five minutes later I hear a meow in the wardrobe, I open the door and to my surprise, our cat jumps out again and walks off."
"My partner and I were both stunned as there is no way into the wardrobe with the doors closed."
"Neither of us have any idea how this happened."- TorthOrcCat Jumping GIFGiphy
"I had just picked up a coworker from her house heading to work.'
"We are just talking and chatting, "how'd your weekend go" type of stuff."
"We are maybe 5 miles away from her house, when all of a sudden, we realize we are in town pulling into works parking lot."
"We both kinda look at each other not sure what happened."
"We had gone near 20 miles in a blink of an eye."
"And what cemented this experience as something that I actually happened, and not just simply losing track of time, IS THE TIME!"
"It should have taken us almost half an hour to get to work."
"Instead the time from when I picked her up was 2:30."
"And the time when we got to the building was 2:40."
"There is no way in HELL!"
"We couldn't have gotten there that fast."
"From that point on we both called that experience the time when we Jumped, like from the movie Jumper."
"I have no explanation why."
"I'll also state, I don't believe in the paranormal or supernatural."
"So this experience is one of those things that makes me question my own sanity."- belac4862car dark GIFGiphy
There must be an explanation for these circumstances...
Even if it's not an explanation that will make any sense, otherworldly or not.
We've all made clumsy mistakes that we know could have been avoided had we used a little bit more good judgment and common sense.
Thankfully, these silly mistakes don't usually harm others or ourselves.
This is why it's hard to see people knowingly perform reckless or dangerous activities which they know might have serious consequences.
While we don't usually wish these people ill, we also have a hard time feeling bad for them, as they knew what they were getting themselves in for.
As some people might say, they "f*cked around and found out" or "play stupid games, win stupid prizes."
What is a great example of 'f*ck around and find out'"?
Never Be Afraid To Seek Help
"Hey remember how they said drugs can ruin your f*cking life?"
"Turns out that was true."- WowAPenguin
They Put Up Those Walls For A Reason
"People who die after going over the safety fence at zoo, or basically any safety fence."- Solid_Refrigerator16
They Can't Say They Weren't Warned...
"Those who go deep cave diving and ignore the warning signs."- somekindofmiraclecave GIFGiphy
Never Stand Behind Them...
"Jacka**es who come to the stables I ride at and act weird around horses."
"Those animals play no games."- clem82
Is It Really Worth It?
"Running of the Bulls in Spain."
"The videos each year of the people getting completely annihilated by the bulls is a great example."- getagrooving
Never Get Too Big For Your Britches...
"When I was young I boxed and eventually got into golden gloves."
"I got a few wins under my belt and said I wanted to fight someone legit, someone who would be a real challenge."
"An opportunity came up to fight someone very good, a guy who'd eventually win regional and state and later go pro."
"At this point I'd not lost or even been knocked down, so my confidence was high, that is until he knocked me the hell out very early in the fight and taught me that there are BIG differences in the different talent levels of fighting."-Redditepisode 2 boxing GIF by Archie ComicsGiphy
Sharks might be the least of your problems...
"Go swimming outside the flags in Australia."- d*ckflip1980
"When people were dressing up like clowns to scare people."
"It kinda stopped after one got shot."- BigMaraJeff2
Or With Anything Dangerous...
"Playing with electricity."- tlmega124Jack Nicholson Hair GIF by MOODMANGiphy
They Won't Harm You If You Won't Harm Them...
"People that approach wildlife in state parks."- Rider-of-Rohaan42
Best To Keep Hands And Feet Out Of Moving Vehicles...
"Your boss at the warehouse is constantly telling you to keep your feet within the confines of your vehicle, and not to hang them, and to stay clear when walking, because if you don't, a 6,000 pound+ vehicle impacting a fixed surface will turn your foot into spaghetti sauce."
"Do not f*ck around, ever, with industrial vehicles."
"Follow all guidelines, always."
"A powered ride-on pallet jack weighs as much as 2-3 small cars, when fully loaded."
"It will absolutely ruin you if you don't operate safely."- SpaceCorpse
Still Probably Best Not To Do It At All!
"My uncle was a high-profile defense attorney specializing in folks who were arrested for drug trafficking."
"The greatest advice he ever gave to me was, if you want to smuggle ANYTHING, you can do it one time."
"After that, you will be caught and you will be f*cked."- redoctober2021
Confusing On So Many Levels...
"Trying to armed rob a gun store."- VagabondTexan
You'd Think People Would Have Learned By Now...
"Taking Julius Caesar hostage."- EgoSenatuscaesar GIFGiphy
No One Is Invincible...
"Ye saying he can’t be dropped by Adidas, then immediately getting dropped by Adidas."- Admin_Untold
It's one thing to make a mistake after being a bit too hasty, and not giving something enough thought.
But if you end up in the ER after being urged not to do something, and well aware of what might happen, don't expect too many flowers...
Being horny can lead to some questionable decision-making.
Something happens to the brain when blood is flowing to other regions of the body.
They should discuss this in health class.
It's perfectly normal, but we have to learn how to deal.
Redditor Sir_Baconstrips wanted to see who was willing to discuss actions made while randy, so they asked:
"What's the biggest mistake you've made because you were horny?"
I can't tell you mine, because my mom might read this. But Reddit was more than happy to share.
History HelpHide Reaction GIF by florGiphy
"I browsed porn and then I asked my mom how to delete the history."
What was that?
"Probably my most embarrassing moment. Was on my work computer (family business so nothing locked) and it was a super slow day and I was alone. Anyways was doing a classic 3 min facebook check and scrolled down for a second and saw the news post about Adriana Chechik injuring her back in a foam pool. Figured top comments on that would be golden. Read one funny one that said 'her and her scene with [performer I can’t remember] is still goat.'"
"Never heard of said performer so I got curious and google her. Of course photos never do justice, had to see the performance ya know? So I clicked a random video, quick glance and thought 'meh' and was about to close the tab before I noticed my mouse twitch on the screen… What was that? No.. that wasn’t mouse error, that was someone… then within seconds I realized the accountant who taps in remotely to finish work came in at that exact moment that I had a browser open for less than 60 sec."
"The worst wart was I could have sworn I had all those remote services off, but she tried to tap in for over an hour and must of did something to wake splashtop (probably had it on some type of standby mode). She even called earlier but I saw a random number and was speaking with a client and ignored it."
"Anyways, decision time, do I call her and play it off as nothing or apologize? Naturally as a fearful 28 year old I play off as nothing. I call, no answer… then a few minutes later i get the call back and her words after exchanging 'hellos … are you finished with whatever you were doing…' still burns me."
"Let my (ex) boyfriend dry-hump me for an hour on a bench outside after summer school."
"The bad news: this bench behind our school was also beside a swimming pool. Where parents were taking their children for swim lessons. Eventually a staff member came out and yelled at us for being inappropriate."
"I still have shame flashbacks today, over 10 years later."
"I had a one night stand with a guy who was, in retrospect, seriously self-conscious about his penis size and kept going on about how if it was on the small size it was just because he has to have sex with it a few times and it would gradually get bigger until it was it’s 'true' size. I really didn’t care."
"But then to make himself feel better he turned it around and started talking about how big and wide my vagina was but kept reassuring me that it was ok because he liked the challenge. I wish I had snapped my legs shut and given him the boot right then and there."
In San DiegoNo Money Bangladeshi GIF by GifGariGiphy
"Lost my entire tax refund and got my phone stolen at a strip club in San Diego."
Always check your pockets on the way out.
The RewardHappy We Did It GIF by StoryfulGiphy
"Hooked up with a girl at a party. Just kind of bored, drunk, and horny. Having to go to the doctor for a case of pubic lice was my reward for poor self-control."
"I got my first serious gf in high school. She was two grades below me. So when I finished third year and moved 500 km south we was still a couple. I was so in love (and most of all horny) I commuted every. Single. Weekend. And I was poor. So I took the bus to the nearest station after school. Waited for the long distance bus for 4-5 hours."
"Went to a larger city to hitchhike my way there. I was there Friday night or Saturday morning. Locked ourselves in her bedroom and went at it until Sunday morning. I made my way down to school again and went to class straight from the bus Monday morning. This went on for almost a year…"
I'm OutChris Pratt Running GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
"Was trying to get with a girl in college. We were texting and I asked her what she was up to, she said she was training for a marathon and going to the gym and asked if I wanted to come."
"I ended up running 9 miles before I tagged out. So now I know how far I'd go to have sex it's up to 9 miles."
Lord the things people will do when slightly turned on.