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Carroll: And now, the fake news: Internet goes down
David Carroll
David Carroll is a news anchor for WRCB in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Note: what you're about to read is fake news. Honest. I'm not talking about what politicians call fake news. This is truly, absolutely fake news:

Americans were shocked and saddened when the internet and cellphone service went down for 24 hours. During that time, citizens had no access to Google, Facebook, Instagram or many other essential websites.

“I couldn't play Words with Friends,” said area resident Rita Book. “What was I supposed to do, play games with actual people?”

For Rick O'Shea, the lack of access to social media was a rude awakening. He said, “It reminded me of hard times. I had to buy a newspaper, and physically turn every page. I was so relieved when the internet came back. I was afraid I would have to go to the library and touch a book.”

Government officials are launching an investigation into the internet outage. Homeland Security spokesperson Kay O'Pectate said, “This showed just how vital our internet really is. I saw our top elected officials in a panic, when they were unable to tweet. It was hard watching them try to converse with their constituents. We will take steps to insure this never happens again.”

Congressman Dewayne DeSwamp blamed outside interference. “It's obvious that foreign governments are meddling with our internets,” Rep. DeSwamp said. “Without access to social media, how am I supposed to know which way the wind's blowing? So I just sat on my hands. My voters don't want me to have my own thoughts and opinions. That would be irresponsible.”

The internet outage also had a major impact on traffic nationwide. “It was eerie,” said police Chief Collin Allcars of Possum Trot, Kentucky. “I ain't seen nothin' like this since the '80s. People was walkin' across the street lookin' straight ahead, instead of down at their phones. And them drivers had their hands on the steerin' wheels, lookin' right through their windshields. We didn't have a single accident. If we hadn't got the intra-nets back, we'd have to lay off half the force.”

At a nearby convenience store, nighttime clerk Al Kaseltzer took a much-needed break after “the weirdest shift of my whole career, and that goes all the way back to October.” He said, “People been comin' in here askin' how to get places. What am I supposed to tell 'em? They think I oughta know where the hospital is. Heck, follow an ambu-lance, maybe?” He also commented on “a huge drop in sales.” He said, “Most of my customers couldn't buy anything because our card machine was down. When I told them we take cash, they looked at me like I was speakin' 12th grade English.”

During the internet outage, Carrie Oakey, who describes herself as “single and looking,”said, “This had better not last long. What if I meet someone new, in person? Without Facebook, I can't tell what his political views are. How am I supposed to know if I like him or not?”

Local park officials reported people wandering around nature, staring at the sky, and smelling flowers. “I didn't know what to think,” said Ranger Lon Moore. “I haven't seen folks actually lookin' around sniffin' things in ages.”

The outage was traumatic for young people, many of whom were born with a digital device in their crib. Pearl E. White watched her visiting 14-year-old granddaughter accidentally rip the landline phone off the wall. “She didn't know it was connected to something,” Pearl said. “She kept yelling, Mamaw, where's the camera on this thing?” Pearl said her daughter June was equally flummoxed. While attempting to bake cookies, she was forced to use a cookbook. “That internet better come back,” June told her. “This is like pioneer days. How am I supposed to cook while I'm holding this book?”

The news wasn't all bad. Several families reported the boredom level was so high, they actually cleaned their house. One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Our house is as clean as the day we moved in. Everything is finally organized again. I mean, what else were we supposed to do?”

High school teachers had to improvise their lesson plans. Science teacher Liz Onnia reported several cases of writer's cramp among her students. “It kept the school nurse busy, because they had to use a pencil and paper. Their little hands are not used to that!”

On a personal note, this reporter observed several couples, engaged in an activity not seen in twenty years. They were seated in restaurants, looking at each other, actually making conversation.

Now that internet and cell phone service have been restored, Americans are resuming their usual activities. Commerce Secretary Lowden Clear said, “Thankfully, our nation is back to normal. I haven't seen anyone make eye contact all day.”