Thursday, December 7, 2006

** Sheri Baby**, As Promised

Written 7 December, 2006

As Promised: ** Sheri Baby**

I lied when I said my VICmodem would achieve 300 baud. Think 110 baud. That was slow enough for even a slow reader to watch the words crawl across the screen. And that’s all the Comp-U-Serve CB simulator had to offer: words. No graphics, no animations, just 40 channels of words at five bucks an hour. Still...

Within 15 minutes of changing my screen name from ROM to ** Sheri Baby** (borrowed from a song by the Four Seasons, with liberties taken in the spelling of the name), I found myself in a private conversation with a man who asked me to take off my clothes. I was young. I complied. Of course.

I had a grand time on the CB simulator until the Comp-U-Serve bill arrived. OMG!

One of my frequent partners, a very nice gentleman from Texas, sent me $200 in real money to help pay my outrageous bill, but even so, being online was beyond my means and I had to give it up.

Before I left, though, I decided to take the National Enquirer guy around the world, so to speak.

His name was Jerry, and he probably didn’t write for the above-mentioned rag, except in his fantasies (although he did live in the D.C. area), but he was just the sort of obnoxious guy you would expect from an enterprise like the Enquirer. His screen name, Mr. Swinger, says it all.

I looked Jerry up and did him. His report follows, with my comments in italics and parentheses. Unless you want a 20+-year-old explanation of computing, you can skip to the ahem, meat of the piece.

The County Advertiser
2 February, 1983

Personal Computers: A Walk On the Seamy Side

Editor’s note:

(For reasons that will soon become obvious, the author of this article has asked to remain anonymous. This newspaper has pledged to keep his name a secret in exchange for his exclusive report that exposes the seamy side of personal computing.
(sic, no close parenthesis, which speaks loudly about the quality of the County Advertiser, methinks).

Many of the trendy national publications have, in recent weeks, probed the personal computer phenomenon—most of them targeting or (sic) the “computer widow” syndrome. She’s the sweet little lady who, after working all day caring for the family, finds herself alone and depressed while hubby barricades himself in the den with his Apple][, doing home financial programs.

I have news for you, folks. We’re not poring over complex programs. We’re getting it on with the sexiest women you could ever meet, short (sic) Penthouse Forum. (Okay, gentle reader, no more sics—but there are plenty needed. Any mistakes you see are Mr. Swinger's, not mine).

Here’s my sordid tale.

For Christmas, I bought my son a computer, a little VIC-20 that cost me a (sic, couldn’t resist this one!) $179 at Toys ‘R Us. The idea was for the lad to learn some basic computing, play games, and generally have some fun.

For myself, I purchased a home financial software package to analyze the family’s spending and a couple of other inexpensive programs for saving general data and telephone numbers.

It was just in the past few weeks, however, that my son began talking about the family getting a modem.

A modem is computerese for modulator-demodulator. It turns your home computer into a two-way talk terminal, so that you can “access” data from other computers. Information such as weather, news, sports, even the political conditions in foreign countries supplied by the U.S. State Department is available. (Here in the South, modem can have a different meaning, as in “Would you please pass me modem ‘taters?”)

As a journalist, I found the idea interesting. So we bought a Commodore modem—cost, $99. It’s a little plastic box that has the same look as a Hershey bar. It plugs into the back of the computer.
(...and tastes delicious!)

With our modem we received a free one year subscription to Comp-U-Serve, a national computer link-up that access all kinds of information.

With the modem, we got an identification and a password, the latter a two-word message that should be kept as secret as your telephone credit card number. Why? Because it costs $5 for every hour on Comp-U-Serve and anyone getting your password could use it, destroying your bank account and allowing the Sheriff to take your home away.
(You gotta wonder about this guy’s past history with the law.)

The first few hours were wholesome, clean fun. My son and I read the AP newswire; learned from the State Department that it would not be safe for us, as U.S. citizens, to chant “We Love the Shah” in Iran, and other interesting things.

Then we came across the C.B. Channel. It was a journey into a sordid, twisted, bizarre world that I will try to describe as best I can for a family readership.

First, the big picture. All over this vast wonderful land of ours are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people with personal computers and modems. A large number of them are Comp-U-Serve subscribers. Thousands use the C.B. channel to talk to each other.

Each person has a handle—the name they use on the C.B. band. Once into the system, I noticed that some of the handles—I initially used “Mr. X” but changed it to another one later-- were of a salacious nature. So was the talk.

For awhile I was a voyeur, reading the CB’ers talk. In computerese, it’s called “lurking.” When I worked up my nerve, I signed on saying “hi, ** Sheri Baby**.”
(He’s lying, lying, lying. He was spouting off on Channel 1 for weeks, hoping to get lucky!)

“Hi, Mr. X. Where u?” was the immediate response.

“Wash., D.C. Sheri. Want to talk?”

At this point I should point out that my wife was upstairs bored and depressed, while I was locked in the den, the lad at my side, supposedly entering data into our home finance software program.

Sheri, indeed, wanted to talk. Everyone on the channel has what is called a “Job.” To talk personally with someone you type on the keyboard “/talk 35,” or whatever numbers you want. Suddenly, Sheri and I were out of the mainstream CB chatter and on a personal line, just like a phone.

Sheri told me, without much prompting, her age (26) (a little fibbing, there), hair color (brown), eyes (brown) (I later discovered that they're hazel), height (5’6”), weight (115) (that was a blatant lie!), and measurements (36-24-35). And that she was in Nashville, about to move in to a new apartment and—“did I like to party?”


What, I asked myself, did she mean? Hesitantly, I typed “yes” on my keyboard. “You know, “have sex, swing...” she replied. I tried to cover my 13-year-old son’s eyes with my quivering right hand, but he bit it—yelling “Allllrighttt!!!!!!”

With one smooth motion I removed my hand, grasped him firmly by the ear and led him of the room, telling him to go play basketball with his younger brother. I locked the door on his piteous pleas and turned back to the modem—and Sheri.

Sheri, Baby told me that the best thing about CB was that many “swingers” were on the system and CB sex parties were all the rage.”
(I said no such thing. All sex took place, so far as I know, in one-to-one chats, and I have never used the term “swinger” in my life, except disparagingly.)

I couldn’t believe it until Sheri began describing in detail her most intimate thoughts and desires.
(Didn’t either. I just did him.)

Well, all I can say at this point is that one thing led to another and before I knew it, Sheri and I were enjoying a cigarette, spent from typing our fantasies on the keyboard, steaming up our modems.
(So he says. I was filing my nails and wondering what was for supper.)

On subsequent nights, I met “Princess” from L.A., “Suzy Q. from New Jersey, “Mystery Lady,” from Nebraska, and (I can’t say her handle) from Oklahoma, among others.

All of them were into the kind of “CB partying” that would make Henry Miller blush.

Is this the future of male-female relationships as we move closer to the year 1984?
(I’ve had fun imaginging this guy’s reaction when he finally realized  some of his female sex partners might not have actually been females). Has the herpes epidemic brought us to this point? Have I completely screwed up my kid’s libido? (No, but you should be honest with yourself about your own.)

I don’t have the answer to those questions. The only answer I’m looking for right now is “Sexy Lady’s” responses to my electronic mail message to her making a date for next Friday night.

That’s the night my wife knows I have reserved for entering our food and car maintenance costs into our home finances program.

“This is Mr. Swinger signing off, GalsXXXXXX”


Photo: ** Sheri Baby** at age 26

1 comment:

Sorcha McConachie said...

Hi Chey! I really enjoy your blog. This post was so funny! Take care and have fun in SL