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Home > Culture and Society

Heavy betting

17 June 2005

Is there anything more tragic than being addicted to the Internet?

By that we don't mean *using* the internet as a useful or entertaining activity. We mean spending endless hours surfing moronic chat groups, voting in inconsequential online polls and the relentless pursuit of 'cool stuff!',ie. crap Java games.

Actually there is something more tragic. It's being addicted to gambling. Again we don't mean having the odd flutter or game of poker, we mean spending most of your waking hours in Ladbrokes with all the other deadbeats, or endlesslyshovelling your housing benefit into slot machines.

However, if both of these dismal obsessions are your sort of thing, there's an activity that is right up your street: online gambling.

And there are plenty of opportunities to waste your life inthis particular fashion. Not only has gambling been one of the few internet success stories, but this week we learned that Partygaming, owner of online poker firm Partypoker, is to raise up to 1.1 billion in its initial share offer. The firm is hoping to get a London stock market listing later this month in what will be the City's biggest flotation for almost four years.

The fact that it's the biggest floatation in four yearsshows that there is a genuine demand for this most depressing of activities: losing money without any of the good aspects of gambling, eg. the cheap 'n' cheery fun of getting pissed at the dogs, laughing at the wankers at Ascot (or just going 'WOW!' at the big, scary horses), betting on a Tory victory so you can get absolutely wasted on your winnings on the off-chance that they get in...

No. Instead the online gambler chooses a solitary life of disappointment and isolation, the equivalent of spending every evening playing Solitaire on your PC, but with the exciting possibility of losing your home. If things this dreadful really do appeal to the human species, then why stop with internet gambling? TFT suggests some even worse activities...

1) Online beetle drives

Remember this particularly tedious childhood timewaster?Roll the dice to build up the 14 parts of each beetle... each segment of the beetle had to be thrown separately, so the six legs would each need a throw of six... all you needed was a die, pencils, paper and a boredom threshold that would make a Trappist monk look like a hyperactive child. Well good news, saddoes! Beetle drive is now
available to play online!

2) Personality porn

The habitual porn user is a pretty sad specimen. Forever excluded from real relationships, not least because they've come to believe that women all have staples through the middle, they exist in a depressing world of mags 'n' vids that depict wild and depraved sex which they will never experience. Nothing, surely, could be worse than this?

Think again. Personality porn is pornography without any actual pornography. Without even the transient satisfaction of wank material, personality porn instead features descriptions of deeply desirable women leading normal, fully-clothed lives, eg.:

'Jenna, 31, is a really good laugh, and clever with it. She's equally at home down the pub or having a relaxed dinner party at which she will, inevitably, end up rolling a joint or trying to get everyone to dance. Everyone likes her, and so would you. But you'll never get to meet her.'

3) Glory hole masturbation

A 'glory hole', for those of you who aren't into exposing yourself to the risk of genital mutilation, is a hole in a toilet cubicle wall that allows you to insert your penis and be anonymously sucked off by the person on the other side.However, if this is too normal and involves too high a level of human interaction for your tastes, why not cut a second hole in the toilet cubicle wall, put your hand through and just wank yourself off?

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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