Oh crap. Your Internet's just gone out and doesn't seem like it will be coming back anytime soon. First off, don't panic. Or wait, maybe you're supposed to panic? I can never remember these things, lemme Google it real quick. OH CRAP, THE INTERNET IS OUT. Game over, man! Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
After a quick hyperventilation nap, gather yourself together, take a deep breath, and remember that human civilization did exist, for a long while in fact, prior to the invention of the Internet. They were dark times to be sure—filled with archaic physical media, content that updated in days rather than seconds, actual human contact, and a shocking lack of free porn—yet humanity soldiered through. And so can you! All you need to do is familiarize yourself with the analog precursors to today's most popular mobile apps.
Twitter/Flipboard/Blogs—It's called "a newspaper"
Need some information about the happenings in either your town or the wider world? Well, first thing tomorrow morning you need to get yourself down to the nearest corner store, magazine kiosk, or newsy and ask for the daily rag. Yes, you'll need to pay for it—anywhere from 25 cents to more than three dollars for the weekend edition—so be sure to bring some change. Also, be careful handling the paper as you peruse—those edges are sharper than a shattered iPhone screen.
YouTube—It's called "America's Funniest Home Videos"
Maybe you want to watch some lighthearted yet wholesome fare to take you mind off the soul-crushing stress of not being able to compulsively check your timeline. But without the Internet's bounty of hilarious nut shots, adorable animals, and saccharine Midwestern sweetness*, how can you possibly rest that furrowed brow of yours? AFHV. You know it, you love it. It's the Hollywood Squares of user-generated content but somehow is still on cable. If you surf the channels fast enough, there's a good chance that it's on right now. Right now!
* that's a lie, there is no saccharine Midwestern sweetness on the Internet. It is a godless, barren wasteland of memes and misogyny with nary a speck of gaming journalism ethics to be found.
Streaming Content - It was called "Blockbuster" but now you're screwed
What, you're too good to watch people fall down while jumping on exercise balls? Well la-de-da Monsieur Fancypants, maybe we would prefer a proper performance, a "feature presentation" if you will. Oh but wait there's no Internet which means that there's no streaming services which means that you get to put your shoes and pants back on and walk your ass through the snow to the video store just like your grand-pappy used to. Difference is, he liked it that way. Mostly because when he got to the store—only six miles uphill through wind storms of broken glass—there was an actual retail outlet still open for business, not a shuttered storefront bearing silent witness to a failed business empire that was out-competed for market share by a disruptive new technology.
Banking—It's called "a teller window"
Online banking is, by some accounts, the single greatest convenience to come out of this whole "Internet Age" kerfluffle and the most likely to be missed when the Internet goes kaput or kablooey. If you need cash, you'll need to go to your local bank branch—it's just like your mobile banking app but in the real world—and get the attention of the nearest teller. The teller will access your account information and process your transaction request—all while quietly judging you by the balance of your checking account. On the plus side, most teller windows now come stocked with small candies of indeterminate age and origin.
Social Media—It's called "a bar"
Seriously, this should be a no-brainer. There's no Internet at your house, what the hell is keeping you there anyway? Head to your nearest watering hole. You can pick up a drink, get local gossip and news, maybe even find a date.
Image: paul prescott
Instagram—It's called "a Polaroid"
Fun fact: your phone and your camera used to be two entirely different things. Shocking, I know. Before the start of the digital age, the fastest and easiest way to capture and share moments was with a Polaroid instant camera. Granted, they weren't actually instant and your filters consisted of, well, none but at least these days you can still find one in a pinch—just look for a guy wearing wayfarer sunglasses, a plaid shirt, and large, ironic mustache. He's sure to have one. Or six. They're all vintage, it's very impressive.
Maps—It's called "a map"
Here's an easy one for anyone that's having difficulty readjusting to the offline world. Maps: they're just like the map on your phone except harder to read, don't tell you where you are, don't offer handy travel tips, directions to your destination, or real-time traffic updates. And don't even get me started on compasses.
Dropbox—It's called "the US Postal Service"
The Internet. Is. Out. This is an emergency and you're worried about returning that antimicrobial dish rack to Amazon? Are you kidding me?! Priorities, man, priorities.
Spotify—It's called "the radio"
Video killed the radio star, my foot. When Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler, and the hundreds of thousands of other, less-known but way creepier video sharing sites out there are down for the count, you can be sure that terrestrial radio is more than likely to still be active. It's where your parents used to get their fill of top 40 hits and conservative extremism back before cars had built-in Wi-Fi.