Internet History: Friday Office Poem

Internet History

Where what is now
The washroom and mop sink

There was the very first
Computer room that actually

Had internet for anyone an
Undiscovered hinterland for

The sloping silent boy and the
Girl from chemistry class

With the pins and badges
That, no, weren’t hip then

Just little flags on the
Battleship of sadness

A weird thing was that
As they peered into their

Portals to the beyond and
A cousin in Portland

Typing their phone calls
And letters into the light

They laughed out loud
At the Funny Ha Ha

Even though it was also
Totally Funny Strange

Now the University does
Not pay for your device

You are supposed to laugh
On your own account

In the Renaissance
When books were first

Available for normal men
Not monks or kings

No one quite knew yet
How to read silently

It took a long time to
Learn not to read aloud*

To think the words
Inside your own head

Somewhere in the late
1990s it must have been

A bunch of kids had to
Learn not to laugh

Now you see the silent
Heads nodding silently

Sitting on the floor on a
Cell outside the washroom

Where the World Wide Web
Was once wondrous and wild

NOTE

*“For centuries, Europeans who could read did so aloud. The ancient Greeks read their texts aloud. So did the monks of Europe’s dark ages. But by the 17th century, reading society in Europe had changed drastically. Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads.” Thu-Huong Ha, “The Beginning of Silent Reading Changed Westerners’ Inner Life.”

Also Read: Your Phone Bleeds For You

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