So, I signed up for AOL... with the desktop software I downloaded on a broadband connection. How the hell do people on dial-up do this if they don't have Internet yet?
In exchange for my credit card info, I was granted a free month's trial (free trials are still very much a thing, except now that free CD with 10,000 free hours is outdated. The irony!). I got a local access number and plugged in my slick 56.6K USB modem. I was on my way to getting that sweet, sweet Internet from 1995.
Except the modem (which cost $50 at Best Buy) didn't work the first few times I tried it. So I called tech support, and the rep helped me out. “How many people call to get their modem fixed?” I asked for good measure. "A lot of people," he said.