Thursday, 14 May 2015

Online vigilantism

Recently I have noticed an increase in the number of ‘name and shames’ occurring online, for anything from annoying people on the tube, to outright accusations of criminal activity. While I believe that social media has a part to play in the prosecution of justice, much of the way these types of things are handled at the moment gives me cause for concern. In particular, the presumption of guilt before such has been proven, and the implicit or explicit incitement to a sort of mob justice that follows.

One example occurred on May 12, in which a man was accused on Facebook of taking photos of children. The man later responded to the accusation by saying he was taking a selfie with a picture of Darth Vader as a joke to send to his children, and is taking legal action due to the damage to his character. Full story.

I have seen examples of people accused of theft, assault, and other crimes. My concern is that these posts, which essentially side step the provision of innocent until proven guilty, will encourage violence against people who may not deserve it (or even against those who may). Consider the following hypothetical scenario: a photo of a man is posted online, accusing him of, say, child abuse. It is well known that emotions run high in such cases, and the community take matters into their own hands, and deliver the man in the picture of a beating. Now, consider the following possibilities.
  1. The wrong picture was uploaded, and the wrong man takes a beating.
  2. The person who was beaten looks similar to the man in the photo, but is not the man in the photo.
  3. The person is the man in the photo, but suffers from mental impairment, and would not be able to be held legally responsible for his crime.
  4. The man in the photo catches a beating, but it turns out the child fabricated the story. 
Even if the person is guilty, and in the eyes of many ‘got what he deserved’, does this give us the right to provoke such action? Even if the man is never attacked, how would he be expected to get a fair trial after such a witch hunt? If accusations are smeared all over the internet, we have reached the stage where, often, accused equals guilty?

I am not saying I feel particularly sympathetic towards certain criminals, nor that they do not deserve certain punishments. What I am saying is that the protections we have built up in law through centuries of trial and error (if you’ll forgive the pun) exist for very good reasons, and it might make sense to think twice before posting accusations of criminal activity online. Hell, it might make sense to think twice before shaming anyone online. That fat, sweaty guy on the tube might have a medical condition. The stinky kid on the bus may have been pushed into the mud by bullies at school. The point it, once it’s out there, it can’t be taken back, and that is a bigger step to take on someone else’s behalf than many of us seem to realise.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lessons from my Mother

I have a confession to make. Recently the third anniversary of my mother’s passing came and went. I don’t know the exact date. I haven’t gone out of my way to forget it, but nor have I committed it to memory. The reason being, I prefer to think about her life.

That being said, it’s hard to ignore the thoughts that roll around this time of year, and as some of them have occurred to me, I decided to create a list. My mother taught me a lot, both purposely and simply through her example, so here are some of the things which come to mind.

Never be ashamed to get involved. Whenever there was a holiday, play, school event, or what have you, Mum would take to it with enthusiasm. She wasn’t worried about whether others would laugh; she’d happily look silly in order to make things fun for her kids or others.

Creativity is important. When we were young, we were always allowed and encouraged to muck around with paints, crafts, cooking, old clothes. All things which encourage creativity and art in a young mind. Once, we played astronauts in the lounge and Mum brought us green milk to add to the alien effect. I’ll never forget that.

Self-esteem. Let’s face it, I was a gloomy teenager a lot of the time. Hell, I can still be a gloomy adult. Still, my mother was always telling me to believe in myself, and be positive. I didn’t see the importance of it at the time, as is often the way, but now I do.

Permanence. During your childhood, your parents are ever-present. Though I availed myself less of the opportunity than I could have (due to aforementioned teenage gloom), Mum was always ready to lend an ear, and, also, to offer sound, practical advice. She was also exactly what you want when you’re sick: someone to sympathise and bring you soup. Even now, I still miss my Mum when I am ill.

The fact that being a parent is a pain in the ass sometimes. If you look at the amount of my mother’s pottery or sculpture that my brother and I broke, it might represent the amount of hard work and frustration she put into us over the years. (My Aunty Es had a similar problem I am sure.) Despite that fact that I’m pretty cool, I threw the odd strop, and I know my brother and sister were no angels. Behind all this, though, as a child knowing you’ll always have a warm home to come home to no matter how many windows you break is something more than special.

Words can hurt. I think back to one or two things I said when I was younger, which upset my Mum, and I feel ashamed. There is a lesson in this, and it’s one I try to remind myself of regularly.

Practicality is important. From my Ma, I learned the basics of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and she pushed me to learn to drive and to get my first job. These things laid the foundation for some of the every day things I do, taught me to be confident and independent, and to stand up for myself. My Mum also showed me that life isn’t fair, and you have to accept this and battle on when difficulty arises.

A system of belief requires conviction. Though she didn’t realise it, an independence of mind (some results of which she might regret) was instilled in me. While young, my thoughts about how people should be treated, how they should behave, and a tentative moral philosophy, were developed by watching and listening to my mother.

There are worse things than a dignified death. My mother’s last days must have been frustrating, even maddening. I don’t know how she stayed calm, but throughout her decline, that’s what she did. She always seemed peaceful. This is a testament to her strength of mind and heart.

Now, I’m not saying she was a saint, and there are definitely one or two things which I found frustrating, like a double standard when it came to talking in the lounge while the TV was on, or a stubborn streak of her own from time to time. But I can forgive these things when it comes to my Ma, because the good far outweighs the bad. I am sure there are other things that are lost in time or overlooked, but the home life, and the later support I received have given me many reasons to be grateful.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Internet Generation

My generation is lucky. They are the first to have access to the internet, and they have avoided being the first to be born with the internet available. The children who are born now, I think their attitude to the internet will be different to ours, and different to their parents. I say this because we are now witnessing a generation of children who will ‘grow up online’, so to speak. We have millions of children who already have a substantial online presence that they did not create, and in which they had no say. Their parents have uploaded pictures of them, posted videos, added status updates telling the world about their misadventures and bowel movements. Formerly, these embarrassments were the domain of stories from parents at parties, and the occasional polaroid of a baby in a bath or with cake all over their face. Now, it’s all out there for the world to see. Children have email addresses and facebook pages before they learn how to speak. It’s like everyone is growing up a child celebrity, but without the money to insulate themselves from the negative aspects of being in the public eye.

Why is this so bad? What’s the harm in a few baby pictures online? To that, let me posit the following scenario. A man trawls the internet looking for pictures of children, because he finds them exciting. Sure, your privacy settings are high, but are your friends’? That video they shared is now in the hands of Pervy McNasty. Even if it never goes further than that, that’s a chilling thought. But keep in mind it could go further than that. People know how to find you, to get your address, to figure out where your children go to school. It’ll probably be ok. But you never know.

There’s also the problem of privacy. There are things I don’t want people to know, both from my childhood and as an adult. These things, I have a right to keep to myself. If I start dating a girl, I don’t expect her to be able to find my baby pictures online immediately. That kind of thing can wait.  Similarly, she doesn’t need to know all the gross things I got up to (and have no memory of) when I was a two-year-old. That’s information I keep to myself.

I’m not saying never share anything. After all, parents will always be annoyingly proud of their children (despite the lack of any real achievement thus far - call me when they win a Nobel prize, would ya?). But think about what you put online on behalf of a person who is going to have to live with that online presence, with photos and pictures and information about themselves which they did not choose to make public. Even if the information is mild and inoffensive, it’s still information about a person which they had no say in posting. And have no doubt, once it’s online, it’s public.

The only advantage that today’s children will have is that they will understand what it is like to have their whole lives smeared across the internet before they even knew what the internet was, and they will be more considerate than their parents about what they choose to post. At least, that’s the hope. We’ll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Meaning of Life

What is the meaning of life?

To begin with, I need to stress the importance of meaning as a human concept. This may be disputed, by those who claim that meaning is generated outside of the individual, but as you will see, this belief can be incorporated into my theory of meaning and how it is created.

Events and actions do not have meaning, outside of human interpretation. ‘Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ One need only visit a sporting event to understand how an individual event such as a goal or try can have a vastly different meaning for two otherwise similar human beings. Any occurrence is assigned meaning by a human brain, framing that occurrence within the context of its own values and beliefs. Value judgements about the triviality or importance of an event, its morality or lack thereof, are not possible without the observer to apply them. When the last human on Earth dies, who will be able to point to an event and say this is bad or good?

So, people acquire meaning through experience, through the values and beliefs they are taught (directly or indirectly) by those around them and by society. Systems and structures of meaning, whether one creates them consciously through study and thought, or accepts them passively through the teachings of others, become the pillars of our lives; they affect the way we feel about an event, and direct how we act in any given situation.

As Sartre said, we are ‘condemned to be free’. We have the burden and the gift of deciding the meaning of our own existence, each and every one of us. And this determines how we act; our lives are our own responsibility.

Some individuals allow their values and sense of purpose to be defined for them by a teacher, or invisible man, or other entity, and thus defer the decision of meaning to a moral authority they perceive to be greater than themselves; but nonetheless this act, in itself, is a decision of a kind. We cannot escape the fact that we must choose the meaning of our own lives, even if that choice is to embrace someone else’s rules and values.

(Indeed, we cannot stop ourselves from creating meaning; we begin to assign human motive to other living things, and even vast inanimate things like the universe, simply because to do so is instinctive, almost automatic. The current theory around our willingness to assign motive to things like storms and computers, is that it is the remnant of a survival trait which prompted action on our part where otherwise we might have failed to act appropriately. If we perceive a landslide is trying to kill us, it makes the situation much more immediate, and the required action much clearer. However, we can now see how it can be flawed to reason in this way.)

It is also true that a meaning can and will change for a person during their lifetime. You do not value things now the same way you valued them as a chil,d and your ideas about what is important have changed as you’ve assimilated new information (whether accurate or not) and undergone new experiences. Thus, meaning cannot be defined as a universal statement or even feeling. It is unique for each individual, and indeed for each time and place in that individual’s life. This is because of the nature of the universe, and of human existence; which is to say we are in flux.

If we search for absolutes, which you might realise by now is a risky thing to do, we can only say: change is the only true constant. The only permanence is impermanence.

It is not logical to expect that meaning can ever be expressed in absolutes, even for an individual. Instead, we find meaning in the search for meaning. (If this seems paradoxical, consider the fact that at the end of our lives, we die. We do not sit down to sum up our lives and describe the meaning of them in a neat package, or if we do, we inevitably find multiple ways to express the truth of our existence, such as it has been at various points over the course of the years. And others who examine our lives from the outside will find their own ways of interpreting and understanding them.) We constantly rediscover our own meaning as we go through the inevitable changes life brings. The goal is the struggle. The destination is the journey.

So the answer to the question, ‘what is the meaning of life’ must ultimately be another question: what do you think it is? The answer is the question. But your answer is yours alone.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Football vs football

I really do enjoy a number of different sports. Having relatively recently been able to watch a decent amount of NFL in a way which was hitherto unavailable, I have enjoyed a good deal of American Football too. Thank you, Sky Sports. Now, part of the reason people who are used to watching rugby or football (aka soccer) often struggle with the US version of the same name, is that it is just so stop-start. I mean, the stoppages are built into the game, from turnovers, to flags, to quarter breaks, to the two-minute warning. Now, I propose no solution to this issue, nor do I insinuate that such a solution is necessary (to say nothing about desirable); no, my point is to analyse the relative 'value', in terms of game time to non-game time watched, provide a comparison.

What I mean is this: say you are sitting down with a beer, about to watch a game, and you find yourself wondering, 'just how much crap am I going to have to watch during the course of this match?' By my use of the highly-technical term 'crap', I mean anything that isn't the game itself, such as advertisements, punditry (informative or otherwise), or the players standing around waiting for something to happen or arguing with the referee. I admit that I am going to be dealing in averages and imprecise figures here, since rugby uses a stopped clock, players argue with a referee for differing amounts of time, and NFL games don't all have the same length. This is a necessary evil, but I think I can give enough of a picture to provide some satisfaction. I am also assuming the aforementioned beer-wielding man turns his TV on at then precise moment a game begins, ignoring things like anthems, cheerleaders, or the haka. For the purposes of this article, I will also ignore games which require overtime or extra time.

1) Football (aka soccer):

A football game is scheduled for ninety minutes, with fifteen minutes for half time. There is also added time in either half, but since this added time is intended to compensate for stoppages during play itself, I am going to use ninety minutes as our basic figure, and add the stoppages to the 'crap' category. I am going to assume an average of six minutes of added time per match, that's three minutes per half. Therefore, if a match is watched completely, the viewer has ninety minutes of sport time, and twenty one minutes of 'crap' (fifteen minutes for half time plus six minutes for stoppages).

This leads to a ratio of 90:21, or 30:7. This can also be expressed as 4.29:1, and it means that for every four and a half minutes of sport the man (or woman, let's be fair) watches, he also has to watch a minute of crap.

2) Rugby (aka rugby union)

Rugby is only eighty minutes to football's ninety, and what's more the play clock is stopped during breaks in play or when the video referee is being consulted, making things a little more tricky to calculate. With the problems around the modern scrum, I estimate this stoppage time at around four minutes per half, for a total of eight minutes. A rugby half time is ten minutes, for a crap total of eighteen minutes.

This leads to a ratio of 80: 18, or 4.44:1. Pretty similar to football, and if you take into consideration the fact that in rugby you don't have to put up with scenes of players falling to the ground in agony only to be fine again moments later, or surrounding the referee to complain about a decision, rugby creeps ahead in the watchability stakes (but that's another argument).

3) American Football (aka gridiron)

The duration of play time for an NFL game is 60 minutes. The half time lasts 12 minutes, and the quarter breaks each also involve short stoppages of 2 minutes. So far that's 16 minutes. However, I'm going to take a different approach on this entry, because the timekeeping in an NFL game involves both the game clock and the play clock, and the many rules are too complicated for me to go into here. What I want to do is compare the play time (60 minutes), with the average duration (slightly over three hours). Therefore, the crap total is about 120 minutes (i.e. 180 minus 60).

This leads to a ratio of 60:120, or 1:2. This means that for every minute of play an NFL fan watches, he or she also watches two minutes of crap. This is a far smaller reward for effort (if by effort you assume I mean couch time), than either of the previous two entries. I believe this accounts for much of the difficulty in selling the NFL to a British or European public.

Now, as I have mentioned, American Football is built around the system of plays and downs, and this is part of what makes the game so enjoyable. However, if some of the extraneous viewing could be weeded out, it might make it more palatable to those who have grown up watching more fast-paced games (which is certainly on the NFL's agenda, at least in the UK). Dammit, I said I wasn't going to look at solutions. Oh well, I got drawn in.

In closing, I enjoy all the above sports, and more, and of course there's more to a game than how many ads you have to suffer through, but I do feel that generally speaking, the less crap involved, the better.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Count Your Fears

What are you afraid of? Are your fears personal or universal? Temporal, or infinite? Is there any fear you can have which is not shared by at least some of your fellow humans? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
  1. A fear of being forgotten, of having never mattered. Of knowing that no matter how hard I try, my art may never be recognised, and when I am gone, all that will remain of me is slowly rotting bones hidden beneath cold earth. That I may never achieve what I hope to achieve.
  2. That fear Number 1 is what I deserve, that it is my lot as a human. That my art is mediocre, not worth saving, not worth remembering. That I am ordinary.
  3. That all art is vain and nothing lasts forever. The loss of my work. The idea that, when my work is lost, and all those who knew me have died, I will be truly gone.
  4. A violent death. A painful life. Broken bones and surgeries. Illness and atrophy.
  5. That fear Number 4, of mere pain, will prevent me from living, from taking risks, from doing things which will thrill and excite me.
  6. The loss of cherished loved ones, family and friends; or their ire, disgust, or disregard. A life of solitary confinement, alone and ignored by friend and foe alike.
  7. That I will take risks and fail. That I will never know glory. That I will be damaged and discarded.
  8. That I will be injured and become trapped in my own body, unable to move or escape, unable to stir the hand that would provide the consolation of death and nothingness. That my mind will fail me and I will forget everything I am, all my memories washed away like stones worn down by the sea.
  9. That death is the end. That life does not prevail. That there is nothing more than here and now. That I will never see my loved ones again.
  10. That death is not the end. That there is something more, unknown and unknowable. Possibly more beautiful and brilliant than can be conceived, possibly more terrifying and horrible than can be imagined. That eternal suffering is real and palpable. That I may be divided from those I love forever.
  11. That I have wasted time, dallied, idled. Made excuses for laziness, spurned the gift of life with TV and boredom. That, knowing this fear, I do little to alleviate it.
  12. That I will die without ever really knowing true love. That I will never find it, am not made for it; that I will simply be unlucky and  never trip over it or dare to grab it. That I may try for it in vain. That I have been in love and not dared to realise it, or to speak it aloud, scared of what it might mean.
  13. That I am weak. Physically, intellectually. That there is evil in my mind I cannot fully control; that I am subject to basic biology which will betray me. That I am wrong about all the important things, despite my efforts to follow the evidence.
  14. That God is real. That he is real and is as evil, petty, and malicious as many of his followers would have you believe. That he hates us as much as his treatment of us on Earth would lead me to believe.
  15. That I fear too much, and it takes up too much of my time, so that at the end of my life I will look back and say ‘what a waste of energy that could have been spent on living’. That I worry about things I can control instead of changing them. That I worry about things I cannot control.
  16. That there are things I cannot control.
  17. That we humans will destroy ourselves. That we already have and we cannot see it. Lacking the will to ask the hard questions, that we do not see what we are and what we are capable of, where we came from and where we might go. That our nature will lead us to ruin, when it could have led us to the stars.
  18. That society will fail and justice be trampled by blind men of perfect faith or perfect self-interest, discarding compassion; and we will lose all that precious thought, all that we have gained through the labour of discovery accumulated over countless years of sweat and setback and the smallest of triumphs, day by day. That we will cast away all beauty and reason in the face of blind instinct, dogma, or prejudice.
  19. That we will be destroyed before our time by a universe cold and uncaring, without even the chance to say goodbye to things that really matter, to those we really love.
  20. That we humans behave so badly that we deserve to be destroyed. That our evils outweigh our acts of kindness. That everyday people of good conscience are nothing against the power of the machine-like indifference to both human and non-human suffering which seems to drive the world along. That we will someday be treated by other species the way we treat our fellow humans and fellow species here on Earth, that is, with contempt, disregard, and annihilation.

Your turn.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Superpowers that would actually suck

Flight (see: Superman, Wonder Woman, Thor)

Why it seems cool:

At first glance, flying seems like a barrel of laughs. You can get home without a car, so think of all the money you’ll save on gas, not to mention time spent stuck in traffic. No gridlock for you as you sweep up into the air, dodging buildings on your merry way. Who wouldn’t want to sweep a beautiful girl (or guy) into their arms, and launch away into the sunset? I mean, that’s gotta get you some way towards getting lucky, even you have a face like the back end of a bus. It’s also a pretty cool way to make entrance. While your friends are standing around wondering where you are, you’re smugly preparing to drop into their midst from above, fling your arms wide, and say ‘I have arrived!’ in a booming, sexy voice.

But actually…

But when you look a little harder, the flaws become apparent. Firstly, the assumption that flight equals speed. We’re spoilt by our Superman stories, but there’s no reason why this assumption holds for a regular guy granted the power of flight. I walk at a fairly brisk three miles per hour. If that speed holds for flying, I’m still not going many places which are in range of my house. And if I’m as tired after a long fly as after a long walk, more than an hour and a half is just going to be a drag.

Also, during winter, it’s going to be hella cold up there. There’s nothing to protect you from wind chill, or stop you being thrown around like a leaf. If you drop your woolly hat, enjoy sneezing and a runny nose when you get home. If you’re trying to do shopping, there’s no way flying is going to make getting those groceries or a new TV home easier. It’s a problem just stopping for a rest, because you’d need to find somewhere to land safely. And if you happen to drop something on unsuspecting passers-below, look out lawsuit or manslaughter charge.

Flight does not equal super strength, so good luck scooping anyone in your arms and carrying them off for more than a few minutes before you have to float awkwardly down to the pavement to rest your arms for a while. And again with the dropping: a person falling from height is going to be badly hurt or even killed. Nice going, buddy. Maybe just take the train next time.

Teleportation (see: Nightcrawler, Solo, Deadpool)

Why it seems cool:

Teleportation is one of my favourite powers, and one I’d love to have. That is, if all goes to plan. Similarly to flying, it’d allow me to save a lot of money on gas, a lot of time on travel, and also there’s the very real if less quantifiable benefit of being able to freak out and scare a whole bunch of people. Depending on whether I went down the superhero or villain path, I could also save people from fires or out of control trains, or simply get away with stealing a whole bunch of stuff.

But actually…

The main drawback I can see to teleportation is the fact that it would probably end in my death, or at least a very painful materialisation into a solid object. That is bound to impair my life-saving and/or stealing abilities (hey, you save a few lives, maybe you deserve a free O Henry every now and then) quite dramatically. I know that various characters have various ways around this, for example, Nightcrawler’s ‘I need to see where I’m going’ deal, but to me that seems to defeat the purpose of teleportation. If you’re near enough to a place, you can probably just walk there. And all the bank vaults I’d like to materialise inside, how am I supposed to see inside there anyway. Ok, looks like I’ve chosen supervillain after all.

Invisibility (see: Sue Storm, Venom, Martian Manhunter)

Why it seems cool:

Apart from the rather juvenile desire to be able to spy on people changing in locker rooms, and the ability to eavesdrop on your friends to know if they really liked the banana bread you baked them, invisibility would come in handy if you needed to, say, hide from the police, or an annoying co-worker. If you’re the type who’s been wrongly imprisoned for killing your wife, and are now a fugitive from justice, or even if you’re just the kind of person who dislikes confrontation, this would be a godsend.

But actually…

There are a few practical considerations here. If you’re anything like Hollow Man (and here’s hoping you’re not), you’ll have to shed your clothes in order to be really effective. This is another ability that has limitations in Winter time, not to mention anywhere where the ground is covered in gravel, glass, or other things you generally want to avoid stepping on.

Even if clothed invisibility is an option, it still has problems. You might be able to put off awkward conversations about toner, but you can’t stay hidden forever. Real life had a way of catching up. Also, it’s hard to maintain a relationship if the other person is constantly worried you might be reading their email over their shoulder. You’d have to learn to be quiet as well as unseen, and that’s just a lot of ninja training most of us don’t have time for.

There’d be a lot of dogs barking at the thin air you’re occupying, too. This isn’t the worst thing in the world but could blow your cover, after which you’ve got some explaining to do, boy, before the military cart you off and experiment on you for the rest of your life. The biggest danger, though, is simply people bumping into you, cars barrelling down roads they thought were empty (there’s a reason cyclists wear those hi-vis vests), general collision with objects. Again, you’re going to have to get really good at dodging, and again, that ninja training is time-consuming (and probably expensive).

Super strength (see: Hulk, The Thing, Juggernaut)

Why it seems cool:

What’s not to love? The ability to pound your enemies to dust, to throw cars through walls, to catch the badly-designed globe from the Daily Planet as it plummets towards loads of squishy humans on the pavement. All excellent. It’d also be handy for renovation work. Who needs a jackhammer when you have hammer fists, right?

But actually…

Super strength goes a long way to helping you walk through Gotham at night without feeling scared, but it isn’t going to stop a bullet. For that matter, it isn’t even going to stop a slow knife attack if you don’t know it’s coming. You might be able to punch your attacker’s face in, but that’s not much good if he’s already stuck you. Without super healing, super strength is really an accident waiting to happen. Pick up a glass and wham! Super splinters. Throw a train through a sky scraper and then think ‘I’m an idiot’ as the bricks hurtle towards your skull. This strength of yours is going to get you killed,  either by making you more reckless in battle, or simply by making household objects more dangerous. Don’t go gripping on any electrical wires any time soon.

The ability also comes with a Rogue-like drawback. If you can’t even eat your dinner without bending the cutlery and smashing the china, you sure as hell better not be hugging Aunty Maude any time soon. And sex, well, forget it. ‘I can live without sex,’ you say? (Ok, no one says that, but if they did…) Wrong again. Self-love leads to the same shudder-inducing consequences. Super strength hands, stay away from my super-sensitive areas.

Super speed (see: The Flash, Atlanta Blur, Quicksilver)

Why it seems cool:

Another way to skip the traffic queues and get home in time to watch Judge Judy, as well as save on all those pesky train fares. It’d also be very helpful in cases of forgotten homework, or checking if you left the oven on. Oh, and of course the whole saving lives, path of justice kind of thing. Hell, it’d be fun just to be able to win fifty gold medals. I mean, super powers aren’t technically cheating, right?

But actually…

First of all, I think the cost of shoes would outweigh any potential savings you could make on travel. Seriously, you’d need to have your own warehouse full, and probably carry an extra pair around your neck like a hobo every time you popped out for milk. If your friends found out, that’d be hell, too. Can you imagine always having to be the one who goes to the lobby for extra popcorn just before the movie starts? Besides, it’s not like your significant other needs to bring a coat, because you can just run home for it if it’s needed, right? Super speed might turn you into the bitch of the group.

Also, if it makes you as tired as a regular person would be after a proportionate amount of activity, you’re going to be napping all day, kid. And eating. Think how hungry you get after a regular gym session, and then multiply that by, I don’t know, lots. You will definitely be shelling out for all the extra power bars and mac and cheese your body chews through on those little excursions.

If you don’t have the reaction speed of Bruce Lee, you’re also just plain going to run into things a lot. Even with a helmet (and who wants to carry one of those around all day?), that’s just brain damage waiting to happen.

You think speed impresses the ladies? Think again, old sport. Finally, the last reason is also the most easily explained, and it would occur in various daily activities for which super speed is not as suited as you might think. Let me sum it up in two words: friction burns. Oh yes, it does. Hope you have money for soothing aloe vera cream, speedy.