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I’d Heard Some Really Strange Rumors About Chatrooms

     I hurried home, all excited because this would be my first time in a chatroom. I didn’t know what to wear, how to act, and I didn’t have the least idea how to chat.  In a chatroom, that is. Plus I’d heard some really strange rumors about chatrooms.

     At home, I realized: hey! no worry about what to wear! I changed into comfy clothes and headed over to my computer. It was almost time for the six o’clock meeting. Yeah, just a meeting. Nothing exciting or sexy. Sorry -

     I got on the Internet, typed in the chatroom address and suddenly there I was. Standing at the chatroom home page. 

     Well, it didn’t look too complicated. Here’s the place to register. I typed my name into the registration slot. That was easy enough.

     A message popped up. “Use another name. Yours is taken.” But that’s the only one I have!

     It’s not so easy to rename yourself. And how would anyone know who I was? I couldn’t come up with anything clever, so I finally just typed in “smileb” and waited. When no message popped up, I moved down to the password slot and typed in a password. I have no problem with passwords – I can jimmy up a password in three seconds.

     By now it was well after six, so I pressed the “Enter” button very quietly and sneaked in the back…

     “!!!SMILEB JUST ENTERED THE ROOM!!!” flashed across the screen. So much for sneaking in.

     More words spilled across the screen, like the script for a play, “Roger: Who’s ‘smileb?’”

     “It’s me! Sheila.” I yelled. Well, that wasn’t going to work. I looked around the chatroom…

     Oh! Here it is – at the bottom of the screen. A slot for typing in whatever you want to say. I typed in, “It’s me. Sheila.”

     But, far as I could see, nothing happened. My message just sat there.

     Rip! rip! rip! Lines of text rippled across the screen. “Dan: Who are we waiting for?” “Liz: Shouldn’t we get started?” “Ed: Who’s ‘smileb?’”

     How did they do that?

     Aha! A “send” button! I stabbed it. My words flew up out of the slot and onto the screen faster than Santa and his reindeer cover the globe: “smileb: It’s me. Sheila.” Pretty neat. I was so impressed I typed in another message and hit send again. Up onto the screen it went. 

     I got along fine after that and I learned a few things about chatrooms. The first thing I learned is: you’d better type in what you want to say and hit “send” really really fast or you’re gonna be three chats behind.

     The second thing I learned is: never use fluorescent green ink. Whoever sent that flourescent green message set off a flurry of messages flying across the screen. “Ed: You’re blinding us!” “Monica: Who’s using the green ink?!”  “Dan: Hey! Turn off the lights!” Lucky for the sender, none of us could read the message - or his name, either.

     The third thing I learned is: if you want to get something off your chest but you don’t want anyone to know you said it, always use flourescent green ink.

     Voting was the best. We’d chat a topic up and down and over and across and finally, finally! someone would make a motion. About four people seconded it, the president would call for a vote and “Ayes” came flying in from every direction. Motion passed.         

     And then someone would second the motion we’d just passed and someone else would make the motion again - but word it differently - and the rest of us ignored them, because we were chatting about the next item on the agenda.

     It was all quite fun and easy to catch on to, and not much different from meeting around a table. Except I never could find where they kept the coffee.

     Or the fluorescent green ink.

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