It happened one night. No, I don’t mean that twee 1930s film that swept the Oscars, although the leading lady in that picture was a lot friendlier than the one I saw that particular evening. I don’t watch much telly, but I was having an old scroll through the channels and I chanced upon a film called Hostel 2. From my perspective it wasted no time – a naked lady with a plump Middle Ages figure and Renaissance era cans, red lips, the lot, walks in and plonks herself down in a bathtub. Is that a great start or what?
In the pre-Internet days, if you wanted to have a bit of fun on your computer, there weren’t many options. Command and Conquer and Civilization II were always great shouts, although what if you’d just been thoroughly trounced by the AI and you couldn’t face the thought of going back into the arena?
You always need something to fall back on. Inevitably it was Solitaire, that delightful Space Pinball game and even Minesweeper that bridged the gap for you. Once even those options were exhausted however, and once you finally gave up trying to understand Hearts, Spider Solitaire or Reversi, you eventually turned towards trusty old Microsoft Paint.
So they say school days are the best days of your life, do they? Hmmm, I wonder. It’s a lot less responsibility, that’s for sure. And you were able to get away with a lot more immaturity back then, but that’s a silly argument. Both you and I still find farts funny to this day, right?
And the adult world might seem pretty scary and confusing at times as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean school is a walk in the park, especially if you were a bit of a dumbo. Or a bit ugly or a bit ginger or a bit bespectacled or a bit fat, or in the most hopeless cases all four.
It’s not uncommon to want the villain to win, you know. I suppose people might look at you funny if you cheered the bad guys in Schindler’s List or Downfall. But what about Mrs. Doubtfire? They fronted Pierce Brosnan as the homewrecker villain in that one, but what about Mrs. Doubtfire him- or herself? Lying scumbag he was, exposed himself in front of children and everything.
Then he tried to kill the so-called villain via a spicy ensemble specifically designed to attack Pierce’s allergies. Not content with that, he finally goes the whole hog and ruins his ex-wife’s birthday by humiliating her in front of everyone. Christ, it’s no wonder she was reluctant to give him any sort of custody of the kids, until he had a hit-show on his hands and some good dough rolling in. Some bad guys just always win, don’t they?
It’s a desperate situation that we’ve all found ourselves in, perhaps with a beautiful lady to impress as well, which only makes the stakes even higher. The scene is dinner at your local ‘kid-friendly’, ‘family-oriented’ restaurant which, loosely translated, means they’ll let any scum under the sun in.
Oh well, no matter, you’re busy making your heavily rehearsed order, staying well away from potentially embarrassing choices: the steak that you’d end up asking to be cooked well-done, or those very messy chicken wings. Or that fish fingers meal that looks right up your street but is only available on the kid’s menu. Is that ageism or what?
If you asked for me twenty years ago, any day of the week or time of the day you would have found me on a Windows Millennium Edition computer, playing emulators using a keyboard, or perhaps watching Love Hina on Winamp through my dialup internet. If not that, then I would have been whiling away my precious preteen hours on AIM and IRC. An absolutely pathetic way to start puberty of course, and yet, would you trade internet nostalgia for the world?
You don’t get deadlines in the world of school. There might be some form of project that has a due date, but that’s hardly set in stone – even if you don’t get it done, you can always get mammy in to explain things away for you. Mammy trumps all. And there are no deadlines in the working world either – you might have Go Live dates for projects, but they never get met anyway.
If things are looking bad and the client is trying to bust your balls, you can always invent some unforeseen technical issue and buy yourself a couple of weeks. This can’t be done in all industries of course, I hardly think you could do it in a newsroom. I suppose paramedics have to meet strict SLAs as well. But otherwise, nobody in the working world cares enough about so-called “hard deadlines” to go after you, unless their goose is about to be cooked as a result of your indolence.