“The second most important document to emerge from a computer since the Ten Commandments.”
-Steve Case, Former Chairman and CEO of AOL

My first article on PIC (you call them articles—I call them “explosions of brilliance”) was a little work I liked to call “The Golden Rules of Instant Messenger.” Since that time, I've been laid by literally dozens of women, partied with rock stars, and accumulated more bling than P. Diddy's entire entourage. I've also become quite adept at writing fiction. Regardless, all great constitutions change over time, and that's what I'm doing, adding 10 new rules to the Golden Rules, because I care about you, the reader, the Instant Messenger Messaging. Yeah, I've been doing some drinking.

XXI. “Jackass is typing.” “Jackass has entered text.” “Jackass forgot to FUCKING send anything!”

About a year ago, AIM began that crazy “blahblahblah is typing…” feature that allowed the obsessive stalker in all of us to see exactly what the person we were IM'ing was doing at that very second, and allowed us to determine the promptness of their reply. This lights a particular fire under our asses since we can't just start typing something, decide that it might offend, and withdraw it. Oh no. Once the pilot turns on the “is typing…” sign, you owe the other person an IM. Now. Get on that. Hey, I don't make the rules. Well, actually…let's just move on.

XXII. Lose the AIM border/wallpaper thing.

Whatever that crazy-ass border is on the side of your AIM box—drop it. It's distracting, and it makes the AIM box seem so intimidating. Also, it's mostly dumb girls using this, and they fill the box with a penguin throwing a snowball or a muffin's heart. I can't emotionally deal with all that symbolism, so please spare me.

XXIII. Please set your profile background color to—oh, I don't know—white?

What's with these crackheads making their profile background yellow, and their font pink? I'm having seizures over here! I'm looking at a profile, not an 80's porno, tone it down a bit.

XXIV. Don't close the IM box after every IM.

That's annoying, because you invariably close the IM box a second after the person has sent you a detailed paragraph on how to perform surgery on your own rectum. Now it's gone. And what do you say? “Uhh, could you please send that again?” Don't make them repeat it because you're a trigger-happy jackass. Repetition is a sign of stupidity. Repetition is a sign of stupidity. Repetition is a sign of stupidity. I've lost my train of thought…

XXV. Never quote yourself in your own profile.

People aren't going to think you're smart or clever, get over yourself.

XXVI. Never put an AIM poll in your subprofile.

Trust me from experience. No one answers them, and you're only going to get pissed off when you look six months later and 2 people (whom you don't know) have agreed that yes, Cat Fancy is their favorite magazine pertaining to cats and cat enthusiasts.

XXVII. If you're in a relationship, and you're butt ugly, and your significant other is equally nas-tay, please don't leave little innuendous away messages about each other.

This includes “In the shower…with you know who.” “Under the sheets.” “Doing what I love best with the person I love most.” Yuck. I mean, I tend to eat while online. That's almost as bad as www.tubgirl.com. Check it out, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Speaking of which…

XVIII. Don't send someone a link called “Funniest Thing Ever” that's actually a link to the Tubgirl.

Or any other nasty-ass website. Sure it's good for a laugh with you and your pals, but won't someone think of the children?

XIX. Don't send someone a link to a clever little news story then burst into their room six seconds later to see what they thought.

Listen, I have a fantasy baseball team, a website column, the occasional homework, dozens of porn sites, and ten computer viruses to contend with, I don't need to mull over the witty headline: “Cat Gets Firefighter Out of Tree”. And yes, my roommate does this. And yes, he's getting stabbed in the neck next time.

XXX. If you're perusing a wonderful comedy website that features the author's screen name, don't IM him with inane stupidity.

That includes asking the person if he is five years old because it appears so in his picture ('cause lots of five-year-olds write columns with words like “tit” and “fuck” and “douche.”) This also includes IM'ing the author asking him who I am (I mean, who they are), then making up some lame excuse that you got the screen name in your pal's profile. You sit at a computer desk of lies!

That's all for now. IM safely.

More Golden Rules: