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There are lots of examples of outdated technologies or practices becoming so outdated they take on a certain cachet — you know, things like gramophones, Walkmen, trepanning — so you better just accept the fact that one day your grandchildren will be asking you if you still have that old "iPad thing" in the attic somewhere. Some of these things are more expected, and then... there's AOL accounts. Yes, apparently having an email address that ends in @aol.com is now a weird status symbol. According to Paul Rudd, at least:
PLAYBOY: Before you finish that story, a quick side question: Why do so many comics have AOL addresses? Steve Carell has an AOL address, as do Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman. What about you?
RUDD: I’m AOL.
PLAYBOY: Why is that? Is it a coincidence that almost everybody in comedy is still on AOL?
RUDD: That’s a good question. I never thought about it. I finally got a Gmail account, but I never use it. I like AOL because it’s so embarrassing. People look at you as if you’re a fossil. Which you are. But I enjoy that embarrassment. I like being on the outside. Having an AOL address is like wearing Ocean Pacific shorts. It’s so uncool that it’s cool.
Man, will my parents be happy to hear this news. I haven't signed on to what was once my AOL account in years; I'm sure it's filled with thousands of emails from Amazon.com and offers to increase the size of my manhood at this point. So I can't say whether or not their service has improved. (I remember it as being kind of annoying.) But I guess the internet of the '90s is where it's at now. So if you'll excuse me, I need to go recreate my Geocities page immediately.