Internet Hall of Famer Vint Cerf's Other Elegies

Did you know the Internet had a Hall of Fame? Me neither! But it does, and two weeks ago, it inducted its first crop of elite Netizens.

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Apr 30 2012, 4:20pm

Did you know the Internet had a Hall of Fame? Me neither! But it does, and two weeks ago, it inducted its first crop of elite Netizens, including Al Gore (which outta shut some people up but probably won’t) and, of course, the Godfather himself, Vinton Cerf, who came up with the TCP/IP protocol that pretty much rules the web.

Among other achievements, Cerf also co-spearheaded the ARPANET, the world’s first operational packet switching network and the foundation on which the Internet as we know it today is built.

After ARPANET was formally decommissioned on February 28, 1990, Cerf composed the following elegy, entitled "Requiem of the ARPANET":

It was the first, and being first, was best,
but now we lay it down to ever rest.
Now pause with me a moment, shed some tears.
For auld lang syne, for love, for years and years
of faithful service, duty done, I weep.
Lay down thy packet, now, O friend, and sleep.

Touching, to be sure, but what few people realize is that the Bard of New Haven is actually responsible for a number of other poetic tributes to fallen Internet inhabitants, including:

Requiem of the Pets.com

It was the first, and being first, was cursed
To be put down whene'er the bubble burst.
Now paws were of the moment, sewn on socks.
And yet still not as flimsy as their stocks,
which left not one of $300 mil alive.
It really is too bad that pets can't drive.

And:

Requiem of the Lycos

There once was a search engine, Lycos
Not quite beloved, but well liked though
Then 'long came The Google
Which sounded the bugle
And now it's used only by psychos

Speaking of The Google…

Requiem of the Google Wave

We weren’t quite sure just what you thought you were
And to this day it’s mostly just a blur
of real-time typin— wait, I take it back!
Deleting just as fast as you could whack.
And accidental answers in the middle
of every paragraph got juuust a little
old, and— what the?? What is going on, yo?
Who invited Tom to join this convo?!
And why’s he writing fourteen lines above us?
I thought that thread was finally dead, God love us!
Now I can’t remember why I started
Using such a tool so multi-parted.
All that’s left to do is ask, “But why???
Then lift our hands and Google Wave goodbye

And finally:

Requiem of the Friendster*

Hello friend. Hello.
I miss you. Where have you gone to?
Kuala Lumpur

My, they’re beautiful, aren’t they?


*Okay, so I know this breaks kayfabe — although I’m assuming you figured Cerf never wrote poems about failed tech firms anyway — but I feel it's imperative to point out that when you check out Friendster now, this is what you see:

“Comment on your friends photo? #fail.” [?] Having a deathmatch with your ex #epic. [?!]"

I suppose no one expects much from Friendster these days, but when Cerf legitimately eulogized the early ’net, I imagine the minimal level of quality control he might have hoped for in future iterations would include companies capable of using proper grammar in their promo materials. #fail, indeed. This is how far your Internet has fallen, people.

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