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Friday, November 24, 2006

An Apology

A few weeks back, I went to the Science Museum's exhibition on computer games.

Oh yes. We Gentlemen Who Can't Catch have a natural affinity towards computers. You know that old saying? 'Teach a guy to fish, he'll eat forever. Teach a gay to use the Internet, he'll find porn whatever.'

You probably don't cause I just made it up, but the sentiment still stands. I mean, I have a Bachelor of Science honors degree in Information Technology, although in all fairness I only picked the longest sounding one because I wanted my business cards to be almost a foot long, and you ain't gonna lose that when you're tucking it into your hopeful conquest's dinner jacket at the end of the night. I know - I've experimented.

Anyway, we two homothexuals were wandering around the exhibits, which seem to be a homage to Recent Nostalgia, where you wander up to a section and go 'Oh! Lemmings! I used to play that!' then turn around and go 'Oh! Arcanoid! I used to play that!' and then on to the next. Probably Bubble Bobble. I'd gone with my new friend Jonathan who, to be frank, a fascinating piece of work. He's a joyful fellow who's so into self-hypnosis and mind control he can literally Meg Ryan over a chocolate brownie. 'If you believe what you're doing internally, it can manifest itself outside the body too' he said to me once. Well, wouldn't you want to be able to do that? So I've been slowly dangling a rubberised plug in front of my face each night and trying to believe I'm a confident, clever individual - but it isn't working, so I've settled for trying to be more like the Flying Nun. I liked her style.

He's a marvellous thing. And halfway around I then discovered he's also an ex of one of my ex's. After the brief confusing, icy narrowing of the eyes, we soon broke into '...and did he do that thing with you? You know, the one with the...'

I'm curtailing exactly what it was as the ex reads this. And sales of Smints are doing OK for themselves as they are.

Jonathan had gone off to try his hand at The Prince of Persia (I didn't ask, but he had a gleam in his eye) so I was wandering around and wondering whether it's too late to change the family motto to 'Life's Too Short To Dance With Ugly Men' when I heard a familiar voice. Could it be..? My face darkened. Was it really my old nemesis - here, of all places? I sidled up and bent over, looking directly down at the cause of so much anguish in my childhood.

"Ah. Speak & Spell. We meet again."

It sat there impassive. So I pressed the On switch.

Speak & Spell and I have a long history. It was my dream toy as a child, spurned on by ET (it taught you how to spell and it dialed aliens! What's not to love) and it was a joyous Christmas when I finally got one. But there was one stumbling block: it couldn't spell 'colour'.

It foxed me. For about two years. 'NOW SPELL COLOUR' it would demand, and each time I'd plug in C-O-L-O-U-R and it would say 'THAT IS INCORRECT'. My open-mouthed surprise was soon replaced by lip-quivering anger, then tears, tantrums and resentment. I went to bed crying most nights, taunted by its voice. And I never did get twenty out of twenty in its score.

I circled around it, dutifully answering all its trials. I managed 'dissipate', 'europe' and 'onion'. But then it turned on me.

'NOW SPELL COLOUR'

I did. 'C-O-L-O-U-R'

Wrong.

I tried again. Same letters. The longing to be right was eating at my stomach.

Wrong.

"My mobile phone has more computing power than you," I hissed.

"THAT IS INCORRECT," it bleated. "THE CORRECT WAY TO SPELL COLOUR IS C-O-L-O-R."

"No it's not, you bizarre colonial piece of shite!" But it just beeped and told me I'd got 19 out of 20 so I gave it a sly and quick punch up the bracket and walked on.

And that's why, ladies and gentlemen, if you go to the Gaming Exhibit and Speak & Spell is gone for repairs, that'll be years of childhood anger spilling over to be taken out on a gaily-coloured plastic. And I'm only half sorry.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

No need to apologise at all. I would have taken a cricket bat to it meself.

Anonymous said...

I too happened upon Mr Speak like Steven Hawkings and Spell like a retarded American.

Me & Moog where more interested in trying to remove him from the table that he was clearly glued to.
I like to think that he will still be there in years to come crying out "Spell: Someone Fuckin Help Me!..Anyone?...Anyone?" heh

Granted Moog got bored with the little red machine very quickly, with his short attention span, and all I wanted to do was write rude words..

Lets face it that's all he was good for!

Don't apologise.

Anonymous said...

I always said that once they?d discovered how to make plastic items that vibrated, the research should stop.

Not one to spread a rumour myself- always preferred starting them- but I?m sure that I read somewhere that for years, right-wingers have been abducting all of the real homosexuals, replacing them with plastic replicas that deliver sentences that use words of one syllable to communicate.

Gay venues worldwide have been infiltrated with these plastic items, that respond convincingly when parts of their ?bodies? are pressed firmly and repeatedly, but are unable to engage in anything more meaningful.

Protect yourself. If you play a Madonna ballad and they start melting, run.

Snooze said...

Speak & Spell only accepts American spelling? How horrific. You should sue.

Anonymous said...

I too had a speak and spell, hated the colour thing too. But more than that, I hated that it couldn't pronounce LIESURE.
I will visit this exhibit and give it a smack for myself.

Qenny said...

Clearly, there is a market for a machine called "Speak And Spell Properly" that features a plummy English voice and some proper English spellings. After all, what's the language called again? Oh, yes. English.

I've often wondered why Steven Hawkings, with all that money, hasn't upgraded his voice unit from the Speak & Spell era to something a bit less dalekenian.