In the dim, dark days before every scrap of mankind's knowledge was recorded in one convenient spot, a research paper was a tedious affair. It was the scholarly equivalent of trying to get an entire wagon train of pioneers from Virginia to California in 1842. The physical, emotional, and mental anguish was crippling.
Seriously. I will turn this thing around.
There were only two methods of writing a research paper back then, and neither was particularly appealing. The first involved doing a little research and writing every day in the weeks leading up to the paper's due date. You ended up doing some work all of the time, but never a huge amount. This method, known as "The Way of the Nerd," was a difficult path. It required self-discipline, an iron will, and your mom dropping you off at the library every goddamn day.
The second method was always the crowd favorite. It involved doing nothing at all until the day before the paper was due. This path, known as "The Doctrine of Slack," was very popular due to the fact that it offered a great deal of freedom up front. Say your paper was due in two weeks. The nerds would spend 10-14 days working at a moderate pace, with small snippets of free time each day, to do whatever nerds do. Role-playing games and math, I guess. You, on the other hand, would do whatever the fuck you pleased for 12 days straight. That's 288 hours in a row dedicated to dicking off, followed by a single day of work. Now, granted; that one day was a real buttfucker. It was 12-17 hours of grueling library research and hand-cramping note-taking. It was sweat and misery and eye-rotting torment. All the pleasures of the previous 12 days were forgotten in the whirlwind of desperation that was clawing at your soul.
Jesus? Kill me if you're there.
Both of these methods had one thing in common: The library.
If you were born before 1985, I don't have to remind you about this cavern of doom, this fortress of silent boredom. If you were born after 1985, "library" is one of those words like "tape deck" or "Bobcat Goldthwait" that you kind of recognize but have never personally experienced.
Before 1996, kids wasted an infinity of hours at the library. Dragging encyclopedias off of shelves and hunting endlessly through the dusty gloom for weighty volumes of hard-bound shit. Every book in the Reference section existed for only one reason: Kids doing research papers. And, of course, you couldn't check those motherfuckers out, so you were forced to stay in the library for as long as it took. Most of the time, it took as long to find what you needed as it did to actually get any work done.
Unfortunately, the method for locating the books you required was something that seemed to have been contrived on a goddamn abacus. Much like an abacus, the Dewey Decimal System was a precision tool. Also like an abacus, no one besides a very tiny group of people gave a single fuck how it worked. This group of people was called "librarians" because "batshit daffy, cat-hair coated, spinster bitches" took up too much time in casual conversation.
May I not help you?
Since no other humans could feasibly operate the Dewey Decimal System, students were forced to enlist the librarian's help at every turn of the research process. So, not only were you stuck in the library, you had to rely on women whose every day attire was one pointed hat away from being a Halloween witch's costume.
Research papers today can be finished without ever having to leave the house or pick up a book. Google does every bit of the heavy lifting and the only thing you have to decide is whether to use The Way of the Nerd or The Doctrine of Slack.
2. Stalking An Ex
Pre-internet, it took a lot of effort and gas to stalk someone after they broke up with you. It usually started with the simple drive-by. A few times a day, you had to get off the couch, brush the Fun-Yuns off your shirt, and climb into the car. Unless the reason they dumped you was because you didn't have a car. In that case, you had to hop on your bike, which is a level of humiliation I'm not even willing to go into here.
Assuming you had grown-up transportation, all you had to do was drive by your ex's house to see if their car was there. If it was, you could assume they were inside doing whatever it is they did when they were a little sad about something, but not very. Masturbating, probably. If their car was gone, however, you were faced with a choice: Go home and torture yourself imagining all the places they could be and all the people they could be banging; or start driving your lonely ass around town looking for their car.
The truly committed always took the second option. It was easy to burn through a full tank of gas cruising by all the places someone MIGHT be. First, you had to check wherever you used to go together: The mall; the movies; the bars; the playground where you smoked weed; the dirty bookstore; Planned Parenthood. If you got no results, then you had to move on to places they went before you were together: Their ugly friend's place; Denny's; the bowling alley; the gym; the nicer bars; the free clinic. If THAT didn't work, you had to become Sherlock fucking Holmes, looking for clues and shit. If there were no clues (or you were a bit of a tard), you just had to drive aimlessly through town, like John Cusack in any number of movies. Hopefully it wasn't raining, though.
Every. Fucking. Movie.
The fun part about this was the hours at which it took place. Once again, unless you got dumped for being an adult-kid, you had a job. If it was an 8-5 sort of affair, then your prime stalking time was from happy hour till about midnight. You had to pace yourself. You couldn't go all crazy the first week, out stalking till 3am then getting up at 7 to go to work, and then be too exhausted to stalk the next week. You had to get enough rest so you could keep this up as long as it took to find out what that bitch/asshole was doing.
If you worked nights, then you had a little more leeway. You could stalk all over the place. Let's say you're a server or bartender. Your average shift is going to start between 4 and 6pm and end anywhere from 10pm to 3am. That's a lot of free time if you managed it right. For example, the drive-by is always pretty informative at 2am. If their car is gone, then they are out making the beast with two backs. No doubt about it. You probably even have enough time before bed to hang out and wait to see if they come staggering home in a couple hours with a well-fucked look on their face.
Or, if their car is in the driveway at 2am, you can go home, get some sleep, and then get up at 10 and stalk that fool all the live-long day until you have to work at 6pm. You could also stay there all night long and just follow them as soon as they leave the house, too.
However you handled it, the goal was to find where your ex was, and then just sort of keep tabs on them. If you ran across their car in a bar parking lot, then you went in and tried to spot them before they spotted you. You did a quick recon to see who they were with and how much fun they were having. If they were with someone new then you had to make the decision whether or not to go into full-on insane confrontation mode. Stalking is always a double-edged sword: If you don't find them then you worry about what they're doing; but, if you DO find them, you're probably not going to be happy with what (or who) they're doing.
These days, you can stalk your ex without all the time-consuming driving around and sneaking up to peer in their bedroom window. Between Twitter and Facebook, you should have no trouble keeping up with your ex's whereabouts at all times. People are constantly checking in, posting pictures of themselves doing body shots at the local pub, tweeting "OMG so xcited to b at Hunger Games w/Marty!" and just generally making it as clear as possible where they are 24 hours a day. A casual scroll through Facebook lets me know the exact location of pretty much everyone I've ever met.
But, what if they delete you as a friend? Then you can no longer view their Facebook page or get their tweets. Yeah, well, I bet your ex didn't unfriend everyone the two of you know. Someone near you right this second can whip out their phone and tell you just what you need to know. If you have good friends, you can just text them whenever you need an update and they'll fill you in. "Hey. Where is she rite now?" "Her status says Heading out for waffles chicken and dick! Woo hoo! Sorry dude."
Obviously this was gonna be number one. Everyone knew it; everyone was waiting for it. I bet a lot of folks just scrolled down to make sure it was number one before they read anything else.
Before the internet, all porn had to be transported from somewhere public to whatever dank cave you maintained at your house to do all your dirty business. You could buy Playboy and Penthouse just about anywhere beer and cigarettes were sold, but if you wanted anything more hardcore you had to venture into some seedy places. There were no nice, clean, respectable Hustler Hollywood stores out there. No, you had to creep into places with blacked out windows and talk to employees who were too visually unappealing to work the graveyard shift at a convenience store.
Finding everything you need, sir?
Even if you weren't abashed to be in one of these establishments purchasing a VHS copy of Bisexual Built For Two, you still had to deal with the other people in there. They might be doing a little harmless shopping, just like you. Or they might be heading to the back room to spank it in a tiny booth to some grainy fuck film on a 12 inch screen. They may be buying handcuffs because they like it a little rough, or they may be buying them to restrain the 16 year old cheerleader lying in a chloroform haze in the back of their molester van. You never knew. And, really, you didn't want to know. You just needed something to take home and slide into the VCR before anyone else got there and interrupted the spanking hour. And how many times did people get caught simply because they accidentally left the tape in there? They managed to rub one out in the time allotted, get themselves, the couch, and the walls cleaned up, and were smugly rifling through the latest Sports Illustrated in their room when their mom yelled "What the fuck?" from the living room.
It was a sad, sneaky set of affairs. And God forbid you were into some shit that had to kept even more discreet than plain ol', whitebread porn. It was tough enough finding a secure hiding place for your come-smeared copies of Hairless Beavers. If you had to stash issues of Monkey Dicks Stuck In Prison Chicks all over the place then you lived in a constant state of low-grade panic. Nowhere feels like a safe enough spot to put that filth. You probably ended up renting an off-site storage unit that would've made a great episode of Porn Hoarders. Y'know. If that show existed.
Whatever you were into, you always had to go out into the world in order to get it. You had to rub elbows with other people who were, at best, fellow porn aficionados trying to be ignored, and, at worst, folks who cheerfully started conversations about Dr. Deep's Vibrating Chrome Butt-Hydrant.
Batteries not included.
In the midst of all this, Larry Flynt was fighting for all of us perverts. He hoisted two happy middle fingers to anyone who wasn't down with porn being just everywhere. He went to court, got sued, paid fines wearing the American flag as a diaper, went to jail, and got motherfucking shot and paralyzed to ensure that everyone had easy access to whatever brand of smut they chose. I certainly don't agree with everything the man stands for but I will gladly go on record as saying that he is one of my fucking heroes. He never backed down a single millimeter, he implied that Jerry Falwell banged his own mom, then battled him all the way to the Supreme Court and won, and he's proudly ruled a porn empire from the confines of a wheelchair since four years after I was born.
The aforementioned Hustler Hollywood stores are a ubiquitous symbol of Flynt's victory over Puritan America. You can walk into any one of them and demand to know exactly how the Twirling Clit Thumper With G-Spot Hack Action works and the employees will be happy to oblige. There's no longer any stigma when you're in a store like this. It's clean, well-lit, staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people, and absolutely stuffed with shit you can stick into yourself or others.
And do I even need to mention the internet? In 1987, if you wanted to beat off to a Nazi werewolf smacking a pregnant Catholic schoolgirl with a riding crop while shitting into a funnel jammed into an Asian prostitute's mouth, you had to draw it yourself. Today, even if you you've never looked at internet porn, you're well aware that there are only two steps involved to get to whatever kind of trash gets you going.
One: Google "best free porn sites" and go to one of them.
Two: Type what you're looking for into that site's Search bar.
Honestly, it doesn't matter how convoluted your fantasies are, you can find that shit anywhere. Gone are the days when you had to subscribe to bleary black and white publications that specialized in the type of twisted activities that got you all stiff (or wet). You are literally two fucking steps away from a Korean girl getting molested on a crowded train by a guy in a Hamburglar outfit at all times.