I’m pretty certain that x-ray vision and invisibility would definitely come somewhere near the top of most people’s lists, but there are lots of other potential powers that I’m sure we’d be more than happy to take advantage of, should we happen to fall foul of some inadvertent dose of radiation, freakish spider bite or other misadventure. Personally I’d quite like the power to render wasps incapable of coming within a mile of me, but most of us aspire to greater things. Being aspirational is one thing, achieving what is patently impossible is another – real life tends to play by the laws of physics and nature, and whilst a few of us may indeed be able to run, jump or hold our breath underwater beyond that of our peers, the power to stop speeding buildings in their tracks, jump bullets in one leap and being able to balance the bill at a work’s night out will sadly remain beyond us, no matter how hard we wish for it.
That is only in the real world though; because we lucky few have at our disposal another world, in which such incredible feats are not only possible, but commonplace, and it strikes me that SL can teach us a thing or two about super powers that might just make us think twice about whether we’d really want them in the first place. (Not forgetting that to be a true superhero, you’re also going to have to find yourself an arch-nemesis, and that would just take all the fun out of it).
So, here’s a quick round-up of super powers we’d all really love to possess, but SL teaches us that they’d actually be a great big pain in the rear end in the real world:
Everyone wants this – no matter how much you might pretend you don’t, I know you do. Of course, you only want x-ray vision because it makes shopping so much easier when you can stand outside the store and look through the walls, (yeah right!), but it does have its drawbacks. Firstly, by some spooky inbuilt sixth sense, everybody knows when they’re being watched, and when they latch onto your presence, gazing dreamily into the middle distance, or staring at a brick wall, they know exactly who it is that’s doing the watching. Within seconds, you’re booted, muted, reported and banned – the SL equivalent of kicking you in the naughty bits, calling the cops and slapping a restraining order on you. Not really ideal.
Then there’s the other side of the coin: The more you tend to cam around in SL, the more paranoid you tend to be about who might be camming you. You spend all your time feverishly scanning the look-at targets of those around you radiating around the room, dodging the crosshairs and panicking when they loiter on your avatar. You just know that they’re undressing you in their viewer – why, because that’s exactly what you’ve been doing to them for the last half hour!
Let’s leave x-ray vision to Superman and radiographers, it’s far less stressful that way!
Wouldn’t you just love to know what I’m thinking? (To be honest, I’d love to know what I’m thinking sometimes!), and would’t it be great if we could have sneaky conversations – mind to mind – without anyone being any the wiser? Well, maybe mind reading per se might still be a little beyond the capabilities of SL, but we have a neat means of private communication with anyone we choose, without the need to surreptitiously text them under the table.
IMs are as close as we can get to telecommunicating with our friends: There are few better ways of slagging-off somebody’s dress sense, gossiping about an acquaintance’s latest love interest, or having a titillating dalliance in public whilst maintaining an aura of complete normality. Except, of course, that aura is actually ‘obvious guilt’ – there are few more embarrassing moments than to be caught out in the middle of a bit of naughty natter, by someone pointedly observing that our extremely noticeable silence for the last ten minutes is indisputably down to us enthusiastically sexting the only other person in the room who’s also been remarkably quiet for rather too long. Our protests of “I was talking to a customer/tenant/friend who’s just logged in/whom I haven’t spoken to for a year”, will be seen right through – just as if those around us had x-ray vision; and we’ll have nowhere to hide.
Worse still will be the moment we exclaim, “What does she look like in that dress”, or describe in graphic detail, which would easily pass as dialogue in a German porn flick, just what we’re going to do later to our companion, only to find we’ve used the wrong box and blurted it out in local… And if we don’t do it, can we rely on our co-conspirator not to make the same mistake? I think not. Anyone who has wanted to fade away into the background from the sheer acute embarrassment that such a faux pas can create will empathise. Just imagine the mayhem that would ensue in RL if we were to have the same abilities as in the virtual world – it’s really not a good idea!
And that’s all I have to say on the subject for today, but there’s more to come tomorrow, so stay tuned and stay away from atomic reactors, strange glowing fluids and irradiated venomous insects… the consequences could be dire!
Electric faces seem to merge
Hidden voices mock your words
Fade away and radiate
The beams become my dream
My dream is on the screen
Blondie – Fade Away And Radiate