Did Marc Anthony once run an ad in The Roman Chronicle, "Looking for Egyptian queen -- must know how to water ski?"

Personal ads have brought people together as far back as Julius Caesar's time. Rumor has it that Marc Anthony did once run an ad in The Roman Chronicle, "Looking for Egyptian queen -- must know how to water ski." A week later Cleopatra ran an ad in The Egyptian Gazette, "Moving to Rome -- Pyramid available to sublet." On their first date, Marc had to borrow his father's chariot because his was in the body shop. His father didn't mind in the least -- he was fully covered with fire, theft and gladiator attacks.

History books tell us that Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida while searching for the Fountain of Youth. What they don't tell us is that Ponce de Leon's search was prompted by his desire to answer a personal ad of a girl half his age. In the year 1513, the Fountain of Youth was the closest a guy could get to a rejuvenating buttermilk bath and a Benzoyl Peroxide facial treatment.

There's even evidence linking personal ads to quantum physics. One theory gives the following breakdown of the components of Einstein's famous equation E=MC2: 'E' stands for 'Exceptional', 'M' stands for 'Mature', 'C' stands for 'Couple', and '2' stands for '2 people.' Any student of advanced calculus or numerical analysis can plainly see that "Two Mature people make an Exceptional Couple" is clearly what Einstein had in mind when he wrote the equation. Exactly how the equation ties in with personal ads is, like many of Einstein's theories, a little too involved for an article of this nature. However, with a good calculator (with at least four batteries), any dropout can figure it out.

The personal ad phenomenon has come a long way since its inception (whenever that was). You might say it has come up from the valley of the not-so-cool to the ranks of the sheik. Meeting people through personal ads today is as 'in' as having a shrink. There was a time when you had to be crazy to see a psychiatrist. Today, it means you own a Mercedes, a yacht, three condos and a mansion on the Island.

Strangely, personal ads seem to have a better selection of people than you can ever hope to meet in person. A large percentage of people in personal ads "love music," are "sweet, sensitive, intelligent, romantic, sincere, have a great sense of humor," and are into all sports ranging from tennis to pole vaulting over the Grand Canyon? You just can't meet people like this in person.

I saw an ad of a guy who apparently likes water sports and theater. He was looking for a girl to swim around Manhattan with while reciting Macbeth.

One computer programmer wrote, he has such a magnetic personality that when he walks into the computer room the tapes go "reeling," the printer does a "form feed,", the CPU gets "hung," and the disks go "floppy." (He's just been offered a large sum of money by Iran to hang around the Pentagon.)

One woman MD claimed she was so sensitive to human and animal suffering that she wouldn't cut open a chicken unless it needed an appendectomy.

The most important thing to remember when answering personal ads is to spell the email address correctly. Unlike a poorly written regular-mail address, which may sometimes be properly delivered even if one digit is off, an email address off by only one character may route your message to an unintended destination. If you're a young, never- married, male, law student, the last thing you want to do is accidentally make a date with a woman three times your age who has four ex-husbands and has put more lawyers on retainers than your school graduates in six years. Besides, with all the lawyers she knows, why would she want to meet you?

Josh Greenberger: A computer consultant for over two decades, the author has developed software for such organizations as NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, AT&T, Charles Schwab, Bell Laboratories and Chase Manhattan Bank. Since 1984, the author's literary works have appeared in such periodicals as The New York Post, The Daily News, The Village Voice, The Jewish Press, and others. His articles have ranged from humor to scientific to topical events. Visit his site: shopndrop.com