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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Just when you believed civilization to be crumbling down around yo, confirmed by all of the fighting, hatred and Tasering going on all over the world nowadays, a magnificent technological breakthrough comes along to lift everyone's spirits. The beacon of hope I am referring to is the Virtual Hills.

If you don't know what "The Hills" is because you choose to spend your free time either a) watching PBS or b) actually doing homework, then I'll give you a quick summary. "The Hills" is a reality show on MTV that follows the life of a really rich girl who spends all her waking hours whining to her really skinny friends about this other really rich girl, who, because of an evil boyfriend, is no longer her best friend. Get it? Good.

Now that I've resolved any confusion you may have had, I'll address this new cultural phenomenon called the Virtual Hills. To give you a general idea, the Virtual Hills is an online duplication of the setting and characters of "The Hills" so that we, the future generation who will someday rule the world, can become best friends with the computer-generated versions of the reality-show stars. The advertisement for this ingenious program boasts of a "free online virtual world where you can live The Hills life."

I don't know about you, but as soon as I saw that, I jumped for joy. Finally, someone has made it possible for me - a fashion victim who is sometimes mistaken for Napoleon - to hang out with the trendy girls for once. And what's the best part0? I don't even have to move.

There are downsides, too. For instance, you can't leave The Hills if your best friend steals your pixelated boyfriend.

Now, if you've decided to veto the Virtual Hills because you still have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry. There is another program that will blow your mind called Second Life.

Founded in 2003, Second Life is an even better online world than the Virtual Hills because there are no limitations on what you can create. Second Life lets you be any profession your heart desires. Can't get into med school in real life? It's OK, you don't need one of those pesky M.D.s to be one on Second Life. Always wanted to be a rock star but have never actually displayed musical flair? That's OK too - in Second Life, there's no such thing as talent.

Another cool aspect of "Second Life" is the ability to make your online appearance to be anything you want - rabbit, robot, inanimate object or OJ Simpson. The possibilities are endless.

However, the one downside to Second Life is that not everything is free. You can sign up without buying anything, but in order to get everything you want, money is necessary. Private parts, for example, cost real money. So do most other things we buy in real life, such as stylish clothes, bigger boobs, Hummers, private islands, jets, shoes, handbags, steroids and football tickets. So in a way, it's a lot like real life - except for that whole "real" thing.

So the moral of this story is: If you can't solve any of your problems in your current life, get a Second one. I am going to get one, mainly so I can actually find a decent guy. Just remind me to purchase my genitalia first.

Colleen Shea is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column appears on Fridays.

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