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19 May, 2014


Noun.     A condition of befuddlement with the internet and computers generally, especially among the aged (see "aoldtimers")

Actually coined by a cadre of forward-thinking programmers at the onset of popular awareness of "Alzheimer's Disease," when AOL was not a thrice-merged shadow of a memory, but instead was internet gateway for the masses (many of them searching for info on Alzheimer's).

Anyway, these guys (Yep, all guys...surprise. In fact, none of them could remember the last time a woman had been in their Command Center, unless you counted the time Randy's mom was accidentally-on-purpose put on speaker phone), these guys were sick of the popularity of what had been their domain since the DARPA days, watching it become a place any half-wit could traipse through, making comments in plain English. (Or American, your welcome.)  Especially irking was when Randy's mom or anyone else that old tried to make sense of the internet, and AOL was responsible for bringing people like that to the web; CD-ROMs with free AOL software arrived at every address in the US for 35 straight months, inevitably adding millions of people online who seemed to suffer dementia. Ergo the epithet.

But like many things these guys considered superlative, "aolzheimer's" never caught on, although they continued to use it. Each year that passed, as "AOL will never win the portal battle," became "That's so 15 minutes ago," then went wireless and left desktops behind and became an ecosystem so that it's now, literally, "What century were you born in?" Each year, the term became more resonant, yet it stayed obscure. And now, as the AOL species threatens to vanish into the fossil record, so too could punny AOL-based disappear with it.

Luckily, "aolzheimer's" was re-discovered by a friend of mine recently on a textile-buying trip to Asia Minor, when he also purchased what he thought to be a pirated version of Snowden's Greatest Hits, and got what appeared to be transcripts of some sort of geek-chat, featuring prominent use of the word "aolzheimer's." He liked it, and asked me to post it, knowing that Mojourner Truth is where all the lexicographers troll for new words, like "rebunk" or "therr".

So, neo-lexicographers and etymo-hipsters, I give you this word and its story, but don't blame me if you think it's mean. I mean, it's not like #lolzheimer's, where they make fun of the elder-demented.*

* Not to be confused with the word "lolzheimers," which is when you laugh so hard you forget what made you laugh. In the aold days, they just called that being stoned, but still, it's a legit word.**

** If you accept "legit" as a word.

1 comment:

  1. "CD-ROMs with free AOL software arrived at every address in the US for 35 straight months" - one of the best things I've read this week. (And, as you know, I've had some good "reading" this week!)