Sad times, man. RIP AIM. I’ll admit I don’t remember AIM becoming a big thing but rather being a big thing of course. For anyone my age/in their mid 20s, we can associate our first steps in the computer world with AOL and AIM. I don’t feel well versed enough to talk about how AIM “changed everything” or “transcended” the internet or anything like that. But in honor of some great times with AIM, I took a brief stroll down memory lane. These are all quick, random, personal memories in no order. I bet everyone has some similar recollections.
First and foremost, the screen name. Mine was minimehamm. I don’t know why. I think it was because I loved Austin Powers and I was short and felt a connection to Mini Me. Truth be told I grew to not like the screen name very much. But I didn’t wanna be that guy who threw it in the trash to start over. I should have put a number in the name at the very least, perhaps an ’05’ in the end. The Mini Me thing was also incredibly dumb, but I’ll give my 6-year-old self a pass. In hindsight it should have been something more relative like SoccerStud05. Metsfan5. SportsDude5. You know, something practical.
One of the first internet-derived “abbreviations” I think of is nmjcu. And it’s synonymous to AIM in my eyes. Virtually every conversation started with “Sup?” and was answered with “nmjcu?”. Fucking classic. Don’t know where it came from or why but we’re all glad it did. Stupid abbreviation that paved the way for many more down the road.
Homepages. This was more or less the original Facebook profile page I guess. I forget where I could find everything, but I remember having logos of my favorite teams, my name written in flaming letters, naturally, and all of my friends in the form of these little cartoons. Good times. GoOd TiMeS.
SmarterChild. Need I say more? Always had someone to talk to.
The buddy list was so so so important. To no surprised, mine was divvied up between pLaYbOyZ and pLaYgIrLs. I took great pride in that, and I stand by those names to this day. If I could go back and do it again, I’d do it the exact same way.
I have two vivid memories from the AIM days, both of which will be burned in my mind for the rest of my days. The screen names and buddy lists were cute, but those are hardly unique. I’m happy to have these 2 stories to take with me everywhere I go. The first relates to away messages. I probably had 40 or so stored away messages that were only used literally one time. There was no real reason to keep “Brandon’s house after school, then dinner, then soccer practice, then home, sleep, school, pz” saved, but I did it anyway without fail. That’s not the story. I went to Hebrew School one time and obviously needed to tell everyone that was where I’d be. Minimehamm’s away message read “Jew School”. I thought it was hilarious. My father did not. I was in store for quite the tongue lashing when I returned home from Jew School. To this day I know that was a funny away message despite what my Dad said.
Story 2: Talking with your crush on AIM was a major part of the game. You could make the case that that’s what it was all about at the end of the day. I asked this girl out once on AIM. She said no. We’re from the same hometown, and I don’t think we’ve spoken since. I don’t think we really spoke before that either, but I thought she was cute so I rolled the dice. A real “what could have been” story if you ask me. That, too, is not the story.
There was another girl who I was crushing hard on for a while. She’ll go unnamed for now. I wanted to make my move on AIM, but I needed my coo to be more sophisticated than asking her out. My success rate with that was low/very low. I was going to force for hand a little bit. I was going to call her “babe”. I was signing off and had the 4 letters typed out. But I wasn’t man enough to call her babe and wait for a response. Kinda like when you send a risky text and throw your phone across the room in disbelief that you actually sent it. As soon as I clicked send on the “babe” message, I closed out of AIM. There was approximately 0.01 seconds between me calling her babe and me signing off. I remember making up this explanation if she called me out for it. I was going to tell her it was my brother and not me. How could she not believe that? Didn’t matter. It was never spoken of. I don’t think her and I have spoken since.