My Lost Friends is an ongoing series about friends I made as a youth that I remember years after we lost contact. Maybe these are just funny stories about what kids did on the Internet in the late 90′s and beyond. Maybe these are cautionary tales that urge you to keep in contact with the people you care about. Either way, watch as I divulge horribly embarrassing memories.
Episode 1: Pan & Trunks
I spent a lot of my youth (late 90′s mostly) doing my best to ignore the usual torments of middle school and instead focus on the important things in life: roleplaying Dragon Ball characters on AOL Instant Messenger. I used to have the awesome screen name ‘SS Pan SS.’ This wonderfully horrible moniker meant Super Saiyan Pan and then Super Saiyan again, like you didn’t get it the first time. Listen, I for real wanted Goku’s grand daughter to go Supes Sayo and SHE DID NOT. Not never. Still bumming. I also now realize having ‘SS’ in a screen name gives a completely different implication. Ah, youth!
My favorite friend I met via AIM Chat Rooms. Somehow or another we ended up talking one on one. I don’t remember a thing about his screen name, but I remember our first ROLEPLAYING sesh (session) started with us playing Android 17 & 18. This proved to be dumb and the next time we played as Trunks and Pan. I don’t even remember what the heck we Rped (roleplayed) back then, just having adventures, flying around, fighting things… ROleplaying honestly just constituted things like “[cocks head to the side and blinks] o_o;;;;;” I used to log on and just WAIT for him to sign on so we could RP these doofy Dragon Ball characters. I had a MEGA crush on Trunks, from the show, and Pan x Trunks became what we now call one’s “OTP.” I’m sure I probably had a crush on this guy at some point too but our characters never HELD HANDS if you know what I mean.
After awhile I found other people who RPed DBZ stuff. There was a guy who played Gotenks who lived in Pennsylvania. Another guy who played Dende. Maybe some other ones… Who knows. What I do remember is when I invited Trunks to RP with the other group, everything was awesome for a few weeks. They all hung out in a chatroom called the Happy Cafe (Pretty sure that’s what they named it but this was over 10 years ago my god). We all logged some serious hours of fun during that time. After awhile, Trunks didn’t seem like he was interested in Rping with me anymore. I think I was just not paying as much attention to our old adventuring ways and was spending a lot of time trying to get Gotenks to fall for Pan which LET ME TELL YOU seemed p important.
I lost track of Trunks somewhere, and I know I will likely never find that kid again. It’s sad to think he is just gone, living out his life somewhere and I can’t tell him how much fun I had during that time. Making up those stories and having that distraction from the bullying and garbage at my school really saved my life back then. He was friends with me when I had no one and even to this day, I can still say he was a very real friend to me. Whoever he was, whoever he grew up to be, wherever he ended up, he was a great friend and part of me will always miss him.
To my first Internet Friend, and my first Lost Friend, I say thank you. If I could collect the Dragon Balls again I’d ask Shenlong for one more late night RP with you.