Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Games and gimmicks

When I was a young lad I saved up long and hard to be one of the first in my class to have an LED watch.It cost about £15 which was a huge amount for a school boy in the 1970′s, and I had to deliver newspapers in the rain for weeks on end to save up for it.
But I always knew it would be worth every penny because it would make me cool, something that my tank-tops and flared trousers somehow failed to achieve.
I can’t remember now if it was worth the effort, and I suspect the girls didn’t come flocking around me in quite the way I had hoped, but I still remember the joy at being able to push a button in the middle of the night to see the time light up. Ah, simple pleasures…
Unfortunately when I went to show it to my grandfather he showed me his big new LCD watch, which also had an alarm and an unusably small calculator built in. Finding out I was less cool than my own grandparents meant I lost interest in the watch soon after.
Leaping forward through the decades (during which I alternated between being a geek, playing astronauts, and then later becoming an accountant) I never managed to recapture the simple pleasure of that watch.
But now at last I have discovered what has been missing from my life.
Everyone has heard of the ipad, lots of people have one, and now so do I. As with my LED watch it’s impossible to justify the cost, but also impossible to explain the pleasure of using one.
Watch films, read a book, play games, surf the internet, learn about anything at all, catch up with the news…and all without getting out of bed in the morning, or while sitting in the garden with a glass of Chateau Margaux. The ipad is beyond cool to look at and use and well worth every hard earned penny.
But unfortunately having an ipad in southern France doesn’t make me cool – it makes me a geeky guy with a cool toy. To be cool and trendy in these parts I would need to buy an oversized chainsaw or a shiny new tractor, both of which are much too dangerous for me to use without chopping an arm off.
But I’m not going to let that take away from my pleasure, and for as long as I can keep it out of the children’s clutches (they are hovering close by…) I’m going to make the most of the first toy I’ve had in more than three decades that lets me relive that childhood pleasure, even if just for a week or two.
If anyone else has a better way to impress the locals without risking life and limb please le me know, meanwhile I’m off to watch Big Bang Theory on the television while searching for other sad geeky folk to be friends with on facebook…

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