Any day now, if it hasn't happened already, some friend will fix you with the gaze that used to signal a disquisition on the merits of the merlot grape and announce that last night, while you were watching John Wayne on the tube, he was trolling the Net.

Ohhh! The Internet! Trolling! The words fairly drip techno-romance. Once, the Internet referred to a network linking smaller networks of government, business and academic computers. But connections between computer bulletin boards, and businesses, and universities, and various small networks (Fidonet, Usenet, Bitnet) are increasing, and the terminology is becoming more muddled. The Internet, or better, the Net, is coming to mean the world of cyberspace, a land of virtual treasure waiting for savvy keyboard jockeys.

Not. The Net is not a world of glamour, excitement and pleasure. It is a world of data, and the data lives in flickering characters. To get to the Net you have to type. Once there, you're in for more typing (and learning about ftp's and Gophers and Wide Area Information Servers, among other things). Yes, you can download pornography. Yes, you can join discussions, by E-mail or on-line, about fishing, or neurobiology, or sex. Yes, C-sex exists. It's like phone sex, except you have to keep typing.

The sad truth is that your friend the Net troller spent last night in front of a monitor just as you did. Except while you were watching the Duke deck the bad guys, he was plowing through acres of "uupsi"

Odds are, you had more fun.