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When I first started out, MoJo’s Live Wire

When I first started out on the Internet with the computer, trying to reach out and get some help, I posted a lot on a discussion board for Mother Jones called Live Wire. Clinton was still president but I was hardly aware of it I think. I wanted to meet people or just talk. The Live Wire was someplace to talk abut the issues of the day. I had learned some minor tricks with html after a class in community ed. and I used my new knowledge in my posts to the discussion forums. It upset some of the old guard. One fellow said he was going to break my fingers and he scared me. Of course he couldn’t find me. There was too much security and I hadn’t disclosed my name and address, still these fellows had big voices and posted long wordy posts about government or the lack of it and seemed to be real important daddyos. There was a nice woman on my side whose nickname was Toad Woman. She lived up in Baltimore and had a kid and a brother who was fucked up from being in Vietnam and she worked in computers in unix, whatever that was. She suggested I get work in fiberoptics but that my eyesight would suffer. Fiber optic, she explained, was the latest high speed internet medium. She was a nice woman and we called ourselves keyboard friends.

My posts to Live Wire were often in defense of counter cultural positins, like nudity and legalized marijuana and I was treated like a nut. I would talk about Gurus and meditation and they gave me the cult label. One post said something about Eddie Bryan having a space ship that had just landed. Another spoke of the “brown acid” as in Woodstock. I wasn’t taken seriously and like I said a fellow said he was going to break my fingers and it scared me.

I told my online teacher who was teaching an online course on being onlin. Her name was Michelle Ratliff. From her name I knew she was a womana.  I knew that from semesters before when I looked at the courses I was going to have to take and who taught them. What did she look like, though, I wondered. Finally, one day I got to see her. I had a problem with WinZip. She told me it was very easy but it was difficult for me so she invited me to her office. She was very attractive and looked a lot like a young woman I h ad a crush on in college. This girl was the girl friend of one of the guys I had met going to Santa Fe College in the 70’s and in fact we had a falling out that led to a fight over her. She was in art, though. Her name was Carol. So, I was already attracted to this teacher and this teacher was younger than me. The thing was, we had had this argument at the beginning of the semester when I had given an answer to a test question that Earthlink, a well known Internet Service Provider had given on its installation disk. It was wrong. The question was about URL. What did it mean? Earthlink’s disk said it meant Universal Resource Locater but the academic answer is Uniform Resource Locater. Well I didn’t get an A because of that and the work in this class was difficult. It wasn’t just this class it was all the classes and I was worried that if I didn’t get a good grade I could have my grant and loan cut as was the law that come in these more and more conservative days. Jeb Bush was Governor. He cut back education. He cut back academic freedom. If you got convicted of a drug related offense at school you lost your loan and grant and you couldn’t come to school. It’s still that way. Since Jeb Bush succeeded in becoming Governor and electing his brother to the presidency, no other party has held power in Florida.

This little incident, with a teacher I actually liked, has caused me to not be allowed back into Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. I haven’t been able to get a job with the Certificate in Business Data Processing I got from it, either.

Another incident that happened while I was taking this online class was I was out late at night, there were Raves in Gainesville in those days, and a fellow popped out of black truck like vehicle and screamed out at me, “YOU’RE A FAGGOT!!!” It was something that may have been half true but I didn’t appreciate the fellows tone. In fact it sounded like he was going to assault me. And as I took a little closer look at him I recognized a person from my past, a young man with short hair who tended to the conservative view of things. I shared this with my Internet teacher. You see, since this was a wholly online class e-mail was a necessity. Many teachers didn’t pay any attention to the messages you sent them, the classes being held on campus actually, but here it was more necessary. I’m not sure but somehow Ms. Ratliff got to hear me pouring my heart out. The years of living with my parents, alone, without friends. I had to speak to someone and I spoke a couple of volumes to her. YOU could hear me at any discussion board though, if you wanted to. I didn’t think I was doing anything frowned upon in telling the woman some things that were difficult for me including my feelings about sexual preferences. If I was gay or bisexual would I be less likely to be hired? Would I be harrassed, assaulted? It worried me. Would I become a sissy, swishing and lisping and would I be hated in my family, which is very good at hating with out anyone calling it hate. I shared these things with Michelle and I got a man to take over. I got an old Jewish man take over and throw me out of her class. A man in the money, in the accounting, a spreadsheets man.

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