You old timers know what we’re talking about. Days when the Internet was nothing but miles and miles of string with Dixie Cup routers, and “stickiness” often referred to how much Silly Putty and Belgians were needed to hold up a particular Web site. The days when it could take two, three, maybe even five days for the dates for Guano Apes and Better Than Ezra to go from server to receiver, and the most popular Web portal was

Back then all Internet servers were steam powered. Monstrous machines that ran on coal and denatured alcohol, their mighty concert data furnaces were stoked by illegal Belgian immigrants as smokestacks spewed cancer-causing toxins into the atmosphere. Of course, the locals weren’t worried. That is, as long as they had their dates for Korn, Queens Of The Stone Age and Sneaker Pimps. Besides, there were plenty of Belgians to go around.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? A time when the dates for Pearl Jam or Branford Marsalis were not readily available at a single mouse click. Even harder to believe were the alternative networks that sprung up to distribute concert data far and near. Most notable was the “Canadian Experiment,” which consisted of ice rink resurfacing machines driven by Belgians that traveled across the provinces relaying tour info for Boyz II Men and Dog Fashion Disco by way of donut shops and bacon supply houses. But alas, the famed Zamboni Express is but a distant memory of Internet history. However, it did keep the Belgians occupied, thus preventing them from causing their usual trouble.

Then came that fateful day when a young Al Gore was about to throw the switch and launch the modern network of interlinked computers that make up today’s Internet and bring you fresh tour dates for acts like Insane Clown Posse and Shaolin Wheel Of Life. All the big countries were there. That is, all but the Belgians. For, as everyone knows, Belgians are an argumentative lot, and while the ceremony that launched the information superhighway was taking place, they were still in the parking lot trying to make up their minds as to whether they should go inside for the proceedings or sit in the car, drink cheap wine and sing along with their collection of Nick Carter CDs.

A lot has been written about that day. Historians say it was the day the information age took off. The day that the information superhighway ramped up to warp speed. Yes, it was a great day in Internet history. A day that will always be remembered.

The day that the Belgians waffled.