FANNY: I click. There’s a brief pause before the home page climbs, stuttering, into the screen. It looks just like it did six months ago. It would. With one exception, its not been touched since then. It actually feels neglected. Lonely. If that’s possible for a website. Like its haunted, like there are electronic cobwebs in there. I click some of the dust away.
The site, ‘What-Goes-Up dot com,’ was at heart a comical collection of bizarre accidents, a little bit like ‘You’ve Been Framed’ on the telly but not so tasteful and without the fluffy animals, apart from one clip, featuring a puppy and a lawn-mower. ‘A celebration of the spectacularly stupid,’ its owner and creator Max Wormwood had once called it.
One character that ably satisfied both these criteria and who dropped in on the site with frightening regularity, was Osgood Hardbach. Its hard to know, really, how best to describe Osgood. His daughter Tory doesn’t do a bad job.
TORY: Dad has attempted suicide forty-five times. Its an official world record. The TV show ‘Never Mind the Buzz-Saws’ have named an award in honour of him – for ‘persistence in the face of overwhelming stupidity.’ There are three different websites devoted to him, he’s got two fan-clubs and is the inspiration behind a sick computer game. There was even talk of a movie.
It started when he was eight, when he jumped off the garage roof. And, as a child, if he wasn’t trying to swallow stuff from under the sink, he’d be throwing himself off it or trying to drown himself in it. I don’t think he was very happy.
He’s tried fourteen times in public, seven have been videoed. He’s been on the news over twenty times. Two attempts are records in their own right and there have been three copycat deaths attributed to his infame.
He’s only tried to kill himself in front of me twice. Once, he got me to hold the camera while he slit open his throat. They didn’t name any awards for that. I was six. Or discuss making a movie. I was all alone in the house and he just lay there gurgling, and I didn’t even know how to turn the video camera off. That was attempt number twenty, it cost him eighteen months in the loony-bin. It was my worst birthday ever.
an excerpt from my first radio play. the whole thing can be heard here.
The day the internet died planes fell out of the sky, riots broke out, crops failed, wars were declared, millions lost their lives and millions more lost their livelihoods and I lost my love.
Businesses went bust, transport systems ground to a halt, the porn industry collapsed, the Arab spring was brought to its knees and I lost my love.
To this day, no-one knows why it died, maybe it was terrorists, or a solar flare. Some said the internet had developed a basic consciousness and, sickened by what it saw, shut itself down. I don’t know either, but I know I lost my love.
Now, years later, humanity, is recovering, learning to get along without it. Some people say we are better off without it, that life can be simple and natural again. I don’t agree, I lost my love.
the internet is a wonderful monument to human spirit – it says so much more about who we are than what it is. i think it shows that we are more mental than we are physical, that thoughts and words prevail over actions and deeds, in defining us
women get men stiff, and men get women wet, on the internet, over thousands and thousands of miles. without ever having even met, without ever having even touched each other. isn’t that wonderful? we are what we are, regardless of medium or technology. we are an ape and we are glorious for it
the universe existed for billions of years before humankind did, and it will continue to exist for trillions of years after we are gone. we are just a blip, like a faint, almost invisible, star in an otherwise black sky. doesn’t that make us even more beautiful?