From the May, 1996 issue of Mad magazine. It's title: "A Community Update from Sleaze Case."

Dear Members:

As you know, we have been experiencing certain problems lately. And by "we," of course, I mean "you."

Recently, America Onhold changed its billing. Everyone was automatically switched from the old pay-as-you-go $9.95-plus rate to an unlimited, all-you-can-eat $19.95 rate. But when we doubled the price of AOH, we never thought any of you would go ahead and double your usage. How obnoxious!

Words are Just Words

You all know that you should distrust anything you read on-line. "38DD Nymphomaniacs" always turn out to be giggling teenage boys, and "financial experts" always advise you to buy up stock for their own worthless companies. So why did so many of you automatically misinterpret that "unlimited service" was "service that you can use as much as you like"? It actually means "service you can't even use the same as when it used to cost half the price." (If you still don't understand how words can mean the exact opposite of what they sound like, go to keyword: INSIDER for a top-secret explanation that's only available to you!)

America Onhold is like a huge community. Each of you is a valued Community Member. I am like the "mayor" of the community. Think of the busy signals you've been hearing as "backed-up sewer pipes." Think of your bills as a sort of "local sales tax" that helps pay for "road maintenance" and "City Hall upkeep." Of course, when your mayor is a grinning, ineffectual scumbucket, you can always vote his pasty white ass out of office. That goes to show that you can only take a metaphor so far.

Oh, by the way: easy, accessible, fun, useful, and affordable. If I don't throw those five words in every other paragraph, Sleaze Case will kill me. Um, I mean, I'M Sleaze Case. He really writes this. And he is me.

Everyone's A Critic

It is hurtful to me to see comedians such as Jay Leno making jokes about our incompetent service, our criminal business practices, or our inept responses. That is why I am truly excited to announce that AOH is taking immediate and dramatic action--by suing Jay Leno. Just something to think about the next time you feel like complaining.

Some members have suggested that perhaps it was a mistake for us to mail out 15 diskettes for every man, woman and child on the planet Earth when we can't even keep the phone lines clear in Skeeter Pike, Minnesota. Others have pointed out that millions o f dollars we spent on TV advertising for new sucke--er, Community Members--might have been redirected towards making sure that AOH would actually work once they all crammed inside. Since we believe many of these members are the very same people who enter every room and type "Press 1 IF MARILIN MANSIN RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" followed by a dozen 1'S, we decided to ignore such childish criticism.

And don't forget: easy, accessible, fun useful, affordable.

Upgrading AOH for the 21st century is a tricky business. Do you crybabies have any idea how long it takes just to unpack 300,000 modems? Almost half of our staff is currently in a courtroom, and the other half is doing the TV circuit to say how much we care. And the few leftover AOH employees are already too busy counting money or paying off Congressmen or writing Sleaze Case's monthly messages to get to it this second. The important thing is that you keep paying that $19.95, and nobody gets hurt. Rest assured that we are redoubling our efforts to correct these problems. And since our efforts before this have been zero, well, you do the math.

AOH is a great way to meet new friends. Maybe too great. That's why you can never get on. We suggest that if you want to meet people, the best time to do it is when nobody else is on. Obviously, signing on at these unusual hours, you won't be able to participate in chat rooms devoted to "Star Trek," the Grateful Dead, travel, health, "The X-Files," etc. But don't overlook the opportunity to discover fabulous, underused sites in the middle of the night. These include:

  • Pedarasts' Pickup Parlor (Keyword: RAINCOAT)
  • Peeping Toms' Forum (Keyword: PEEKABOO)
Easy, accessible, fun, useful and affordable. Okay, back to the sites.
  • For Midget Astronomers Only (Keyword: LITTLE DIPPER)
  • Crooning Truckers on Thorazine (Keyword: 115 MPH)

In alphabetical order for a change: accessible, affordable, easy, fun, useful.

A Refund Is As Easy As 1-2-K!

I am offering refunds to customers who want them. If you used AOH for at least one hour, but no more than 88 minutes, you may be entitled to a 17.4% refund, depending on the mood of the operator that day. If you used between 103 and 112 minutes, as rounded up by our computers (remember the last round of lawsuits?), and counting the time spent waiting for those little cartoons to pop up when you first sign on (35,000,000 minutes in pure profit last year alone!), a special secret quadratic equation will be used to determine your refund or possible penalty fee. If you signed on during "prime time" (between 3:15 AM and 2:45 AM the next day) any time in the last five months, you will receive a one-sixth credit for all flash session time divided by the cost of the licensing rights for that stupid "Jetsons" music in our ads. Naturally, the cost of your bothering our 1-800 representative will be deducted from your refund, as will the postage, processing costs, and the price of my paprika-crusted salmon appetiz er from last night.

The five words (this time in Yiddish) are: grink, tzugenglich, eingenomen, nootzbahr and billig.

We should have these service problems cleared up by the summer, or the next class-action suit, whichever comes last. For the time being, keep your fingers crossed! Doing this will make it impossible to type, so you won't need to use AOH at all. Remember, the less you use America Onhold, the bigger the bargain is!* If you are still finding it totally impossible to sign on, you can leave your complaints at Keyword: COMPLAINT. Just sign on and complain.

Warm regards,

Sleaze Case

* For us