The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
INSIDE THE AOL USER'S MIND: America Online is getting raked over the coals for
releasing a portion of its users' search data. It deserves all the criticism it's getting, but I have to say I'm a little freaked out by some of the AOL subscribers as well.

Take this search history, for "user 17556639":
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639 poop
17556639 dead people
17556639 pictures of dead people
17556639 killed people
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 murder photo
17556639 steak and cheese
17556639 photo of death
17556639 photo of death
17556639 death
17556639 dead people photos
17556639 photo of dead people
17556639 www.murderdpeople.com
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crash photo
I'm curious about the fifth item. What makes a potential wife-killer (or, perhaps, a man very interested in wife-killers) suddenly pause and say, "Hey, I think I'd like to look at some poop?" (And the steak and cheese? I guess looking at all those corpses made him hungry.)

This reminds me of something that allegedly happened in the early '90s, when I was fresh out of college and selling books at the local Borders. A story spread through the chain about an event that supposedly had just transpired at a Borders in New Jersey. It sounds like an urban legend -- hell, it probably is an urban legend -- but we all believed it at the time.

(The book titles, among other details, are approximate. Do not write me to say that you can't find them on Amazon. Printed for entertainment purposes only.)

A fellow came into the store and said he'd been told that a book he had ordered had arrived. The clerk searched the shelves behind the counter, found one with the customer's surname attached to it, and handed it to him.

The man's face changed color, his voice started to shake, and he said, "I didn't order this book. My wife did." The employee looked at the cover. It was called How to Divorce Your Husband.

Mortified, the clerk returned to the shelf and found the book the husband had ordered.

It was called Taking Care of Your Gun.

(cross-posted at Hit & Run)


posted by Jesse 10:16 PM
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