Friday, February 1, 2008

Shock and Ah, why not?

BBC 2's Wonderland, a show usually devoted to reporting about road kill-eating farmers or "The Secret Life of Norman Wisdom Aged 92¾" (their title not mine) broadcast last night a report on “Second Life: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love”. I'm afraid I couldn't see it, but considering what has been written about it here or here it's bound to bring a slew of more stories, laced with lots of nude or nearly naked avatars for people to look at and say "That's ridiculous" while they continue to keenly eyeball them.

This sort of stuff makes me yawn, so I'd rather draw your attention to the plight of dragons in Second Life.

Ever since I was a little lizard, I've dreamed of becoming a dragon. Lot's of my co-lizards wanted to become dinosaurs, but having to choose between "extinct" and "mythical" I decided I'd go for the latter. Extinct means gone, mythical means it just can't be proven. A better career choice, in my opinion.

What did I like about dragons so much? Well there was the fire and smoke thing (and no, I did not burn that house down! That too is mythical). And damsels. And loot. But I guess what I loved most about dragons was their ability, at least in the stories I read, to strike fear and awe into nearly everyone.

So, I was actually quite happy to discover a dragon costume in SL I could slip into. And having done just that I decided to go pillaging or looting. Actually I could do neither as the costume doesn't come with those animations, so I ended up wandering around a bit.

And, unfortunately, I discovered that no one really is that shocked, much less awed, by a dragon in Second Life. I actually believe some people considered me part of the scenery. I had one, only one, brief moment as two guys TP'ed in behind me, that seemed promising. "Hello dragon", one said. It wasn't much, but I was ecstatic. I gave off a short blast of flames, flapped my wings passionately and was just typing in a "ROOOOOARRR" as I noticed that they had just wandered off. I bet they talk more to their postman than that.

I stood feeling very small, scaly and scathed.

Until I realized that in SL there are a group of people who will talk to any one! The escorts. I TP'd to Escort Alliance, or Island… forget which. And was promptly chatted up.

"Eaton hun, why don't you come take a seat?" some brunette warbled – quite a feat in itself considering it was just typed. I waddled over and stared sadly at my tail. Dragons don't sit, they crouch, hunker down or squat. I decided to remain standing.

"I'm a dragon!" I typed in enthusiastically.

"And you look HOT!" she answered.

A happy little lick of flame jettisoned from my jaws until I realized that she probably says that to all the dragons. Then I realized she probably says that to everyone.

One of those embarrassing silences sets in. You know the type I'm talking about: Your conversation partner absent-mindedly twirls around a dance pole and you stand there wiggling your tail. To bridge the gap I give her a tip and she promptly says (or writes) that she plants a kiss on my nose.

"It's a snout. It's called a snout on dragons," I explain emphatically.


More silence. No shock, no awe, nothing.

Maybe this wasn't the best career turn. But I suddenly have an idea. "What do you think my chances as a male escort dragon would be?"

"Hmmmmm… not too good, hun."

I leave shortly after that to change back into my jeans.