It’s not all fun and games, you know – there’s an awful lot you can learn about the real world, other people and even yourself from sl. Things that you never paid that much attention to in everyday life, yet after even only a brief time in the virtual equivalent, they become glaringly obvious.
Here’s the top ten things that sl has taught me:
1 Trigonometry matters
Who would have thought that all those angles of dangle of an Isosceles triangle could ever have had any real value outside the classroom? (Unless of course, you happen to be an engineer, architect or math’s teacher!).
The vast majority of my life has been spent blissfully ignoring all that mathematical wizardry that i studiously managed to take no notice of in school, and suddenly i find i have absolutely no idea how to construct anything in sl requiring even the most basic knowledge of how things fit together in any form other than a right angle. Kids… pay attention and keep copious notes – you’ll thank me, one day!
2 My musical knowledge is stunningly parochial
There’s me thinking my musical tastes were on the bewildering side of eclectic, and within five minutes of turning on any audio stream in sl, i’m hearing musical pieces, compositions and genres that i’ve never even heard of before!
All i can say, is thank goodness the price of hard drives is going down and their capacity is going up, because the amount of new music i’ve discovered since joining sl makes my original huge collection pale into insignificance. The only problem is, finding the time to listen to it all!
3 You’re not as weird as you think
There are those among us who take a certain pride in our individuality – it matters to us that we’re not boring, run-of-the-mill, ‘normal’ or have sold out to ‘The Man’. We work hard at being different, pursuing our odd ways and unique foibles, and then what happens?
We join sl, and discover there’s a zillion people in there who are just as uniquely weird as ourselves – hell, there’s probably even a group for us! It’s something of a letdown, but at least we can remain secure in the knowledge that all those people in rl think that everyone is sl is completely nuts!
4 Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder
If there’s one important lesson sl has taught me about aesthetics and beauty, it’s that nobody gives a flying fistulant fig about what i happen to think about the way they, or their surroundings look.
To me, you may be a pig-ugly, two-foot-six throwback to the stoneage, with boobs the size of buses and a butt you could park a VW Beetle in, but – in your opinion – you are the most beautiful mass of pixels that’s ever graced the virtual world. Sadly, i still have to look at you!
5 The typo is mightier than the spoken word
Afraid so – for every perfectly phrased, grammatically correct, well-parsed and studiously spell-checked sentence you’ll ever utter in sl – every one of which will be almost immediately forgotten and lost, like tears in the rain – there will be an excruciatingly painful, unitentionally revealing and utterly quotable typo that you will never, ever be permitted to forget. If the pen is mightier that the sword, then the typo hones words to a rapier sharpness.
6 Nobody is who they say they are
Nope. Probably not even me.
7 It’s OK to talk to strangers
We go through our childhoods being warned of the dangers of talking to strangers and that’s a premise that we continue to observe, even into adult life. We have a natural aversion to making eye-contact, let alone verbal contact, with anybody we don’t know. The stranger on the bus, the chap you’re sharing the lift with, that guy with the cough in the doctor’s waiting room – they make us uncomfortable and there’s no way we’re going to make things worse by attempting to have a nice little chat.
Not talking to strangers in sl though defeats the whole point of being there – unless you’re going to break out of that self-imposed shell, open your mouth and ask the next random person who comes along if they ‘want to do teh sex’, you’re never going to have any friends! Hmmm… that might explain my extremely short friends’ list.
8 You have a crappy eye for detail
Think you’re pretty savvy when it comes to noticing the small things? Forget it.
SL teaches you that, no matter how many times you check or how carefully you pay attention to the details, some smart arse is always going to spot your foot poking through your shoe, the two sets of hair and mismatched eyes you’re sporting, way before you do. And that build you’ve spent hours perfecting… just wait until the sun comes out, exposing a million misaligned seams everywhere you look! Always work on the basis that something is appallingly wrong, and you’ll do just fine.
9 Pay attention!
It’s not just men that can’t multitask – women and furries struggle too when it comes to sl.
You will type a horribly revealing remark in the wrong text box, you will miss greeting or saying goodbye to every other person who enters or leaves the room, and you will decline your latest purchase in favour of accepting a randomly offered – and completely unwanted – landmark on innumerable occasions inworld. Similarly, no matter how good you might think you are, everybody knows exactly when you are sexting whilst simultaneously trying to hold an innocent conversation.
One task, always… and you’ll still screw it up!
10 Humour isn’t a good traveller
That really funny joke that had everyone in work laughing their socks off… don’t even think about telling it in sl, unless the recipients are all from your country, preferably your own hometown. No-one is going to find it funny. Worse still, they’ll probably ask you to explain it, at which point you’ll realise you have no idea why it’s funny either.
On the other hand, someone from the US of A, Germany or Antarctica will recount an uproariously humorous anecdote, and you’ll find yourself in the embarrassing position of not having a clue why everyone is laughing. Avoid being funny like the plague, because – like the plague – it’s seldom very funny.
I wanna tell you all these things before I see the doctor,
cause I don’t know what I’ll remember when they start to shock me
Her Space Holiday – The World Will Deem Us Dangerous