The Journal of William Gates, the Internet Explorer

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson charged Meriwether Lewis and William Gates with exploring and mapping the territory acquired in the famed “Facebook Purchase.” The following are excerpts from Mr. William “Bill” Gates’s log.

May 14, 1804 – We depart Redmond today to journey across the Internet to a quaint town known as Farmville. Besides Mr. Meriwether Lewis and myself, the party consists of Mr. Clippy, Mr. Leroy Jenkins, Mr. James “Jimbo” Wales, and Oscar Wilde. We will travel by wagon and raft on this vast series of tubes, hoping to better understand this untamed land of ours, and in the process, learn a little of ourselves.

June 2, 1804 – The party reaches the top of the Alta Vista. Great view, but we only linger briefly before moving on to Mount Google.

July 12, 1804 – Already I miss the small comforts of home, like the free Frisbees that AOL mails to my house.

July 30, 1804 – Honestly, the next time Mr. Wales writes “[citation needed]” on a Post-it note and sticks it to my forehead when I assert that a snake is not poisonous, someone’s going to die of dysentery. From my shotgun.

August 4, 1804 – No progress today; The tubes are clogged. Somebody tried to send an Internet to Ted Stevens.

January 6, 1805 – I’m feeling lucky.

January 26, 1805 – Have a pow-wow with the Pandora tribe. They paint themselves blue and try to guess what kind of music you would like to hear. Since we only have a fiddle, it’s kind of a pointless exercise.

February 7, 1805 – We StumbleUpon a travelling trader selling smelling salts and d1sc0unt V14gr4. We mark him as spam with a cattle brand.

April 14, 1805 – After an afternoon thundershower, we emerge from the forest in time to witness a full on double rainbow all the way across the sky. Whoa, that’s so intense.

May 3, 1805 – Desert of YouTube. Known for its rolling sand dunes, remarkable species of cactus, and insufferable indie covers of well-known pop songs. Also, most things are autotuned and set to a dance beat for like, no reason.

June 2, 1805 – At dinner, shocked when my Onion starts spouting fake news and satire. I can’t help but feel that this would have been funnier five years ago.

June 18, 1805 – Mr. Clippy: “It looks like you’re fording a river. Would you like help?”

June 19, 1805 – Mr. Clippy dies of dysentery.

August 5, 1805 – Spent the evening at the Cracked Saloon. Laughed a bit, but felt kind of dirty afterwards.

September 15, 1805 – Valley of Twitter. The song of the birds here is not beautiful melody but rather short updates on the banal inanities that, in the aggregate, comprise the entirety of their meaningless existences. Also, I ironically decide to follow @tigermagazine.

October 16, 1805 – Meet a party of exotic Hulu dancers. They are good, but I feel like there are some dances that they’re missing. My companions tell me that the pirates in the nearby bay have a much better selection.

December 3, 1805 – I think I saw a cat playing a piano. Definitely had too much whiskey.

December 23, 1805 – Spot a wild Firefox. Ignore it until we suddenly realize it has eaten 30% of our food.

February 17, 1806 – While searching for a missing sack of potatoes, Mr. Jenkins asks if we should “Google for them on the Bing.”

February 18, 1806 – Mr. Jenkins dies of dysentery.

March 6, 1806 – Some guy I don’t even know invites me to play Mafia Wars. Do some people actually do that for fun? This is a serious question.

March 19, 1806 – A condemned, talking building cries out for help, pleading, “Don’t raze me, bro!” Honestly, I should be shot for writing that sentence.

August 6, 1806 – Entering an area known as the “4chan wastelands.” I’m sure this will be a very normal and wholesome experience.

August 8, 1806 – They have taken /b/ and the second hall. We have changed the password but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. There are drums… drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We cannot get out… they are coming.

The log ends here. No trace of the party was ever found.


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