Hey, Lou! I enjoyed the last issue. (Finally, a reference for the rest of us!)

My favorite target is web page memorials for dead pets. I like to contact the people with dead pets and fuck with their heads. I email them things like "Your cat's ghost spoke to me last night." Or, better still, "Your cat's ghost haunts my cistern."


Lou Cabron responds:

You asshole.

But you bring up a good point. Nothing's funnier than death! And it's fertile ground for maximizing your asshole potential online...

Mocking the dead is generally considered "bad karma" -- but if they're celebrities, it's okay! Asshole fun is just one step away: Track down on-line communities that are generally sensitive about your chosen target -- and make things up! Say you're Sonny Bono's love child! The long-lost heir to Lucille Ball's estate! The undead spirit of William Shatner's third wife, wandering the globe in solitude. Just remember: Pick a celebrity who's really dead. It gets kind of embarrassing if they actually turn up.

Bigger assholes even start rumors about the death of celebrities. Rile up the ghouls playing the celebrity death pool! Watch highly-paid celebrity publicists scramble to deny your story! Enjoy hours of creative fun deciding who should be dead -- and how!

The last death-hoax circulating was about that geeky actor from "Blue's Clues." A grisly car accident, a drug overdose, and suicide were among the supposed causes. The incident culminated with prissy newspaper editorials complaining about the inherent unreliability of the Internet. Yee-haw!

Then try faking your own death. You'd be surprised how much fun you can have with a simple phrase like "I'm having chest pains." The Internet makes it easy! Create a web memorial for yourself -- then anonymously notify a few key online acquaintances. (Suggest visitors send financial donations to ease the pain of grieving relatives.) Snoop through your site's "Guestbook" and see what people are saying about you. Then scare the crap out of them when you show up at their doorstep brandishing printouts of their comments. Wear white for added effect.

Pretending to be dead is fun. And the great thing about the Internet is: no one can prove you're lying! Start rumors in chat rooms about your own demise, and within minutes it's believed to be true!


The dead are fun! When everyone associated with heavensgate.com decided to pursue some afterlife comet-hunting, a clever hacker hijacked their domain name. Cult-watching suicide gawkers instead found themselves learning about "Why AOL Sucks" -- at least until the morons at the InterNic realized how easy it is to forge an e-mail message requesting transfer of a domain name.


Funny Things To Do If You're Really Dying

Set up an auto-responder. As long as your Internet service continues debiting your credit card, they can also continue e-mailing responses automatically to anyone who contacts you. No one really goes to the great beyond worrying about whether their e-mail is going to bounce -- but until the executor of your estate wises up, you'll be flaming from beyond the grave!

Of course, if you've applied any of the previous suggestions, no one will believe you're dead anyway. Which is probably a good thing. On the Internet you live forever, like Elvis! From archived Usenet posts to email messages lingering undeleted on hard drives across the globe, scattered impressions of your psyche have already been converted into stray bits and bytes that will probably outlive you. Face it -- you became Max Headroom the day you went on-line. Now you're stuck with Internet immortality whether you want it or not.

More ways to have fun with the dead

Pick some dead authors, then impersonate them in Amazon's section for author-submitted comments! Think a web success story with a market capitalization of $25 billion dollars is too smart to fall for that trick? Think again. I did just that last March, when I pretended to be author Alan Harrington, submitting comments about his appropriately-titled book, The Immortalist. ("It's about a future utopia in which death has been conquered by technology.") Buoyed by my success, I also impersonated live author Joe O'Connor, writing -- as the author -- that "I'm as happy as is possible for a fat man at my little book's glowing review ... I share none of my sister's good fortune and I desperately need the money to pay an outrageous sum to my slumlord who is pounding at my door as I write."

I forgot all about the prank -- until last week, when I checked one of the dummy e-mail addresses I created for the masquerades and found I'd received 24 responses: Readers apologizing for wasting the various authors' time, but thanking them for their years of work; law school professors reminiscing about their days together at Oxford; even a publisher asking if I had Gore Vidal's address. Fake author comments drew loving e-mails from big fans -- though apparently not big enough fans to realize that Harrington died in 1997.

One last thought to ponder. To this day, Amazon is still displaying some of my fake author comments. That's the great thing about the Internet. No one knows you're a corpse. Or an asshole.

Lou Cabron is GettingIt's resident asshole.