Saving the Best for Last: On Arriving in a Foreign Land

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Saving the Best for Last Competition: On Arriving in a Foreign Land

When I first arrived here, in February 2009, I was astounded to discover a perfectly-formed society, full of strange and wonderful creatures with crazy sounding names. It took me a little while to learn how to find my way around, but by laying a cunning trail of breadcrumbs, I eventually managed to find my way back to my own personal space. Later, I even managed to find Ask and Miscellaneous Chat, and happened upon 2legs. Blaming 2legs for all the badness that crops up in everyday existence was something that had been lacking in my life, having previously blamed the Government, the Weather Man or even myself in extremis. Oh the joy and relief, finding out whose fault it really was. I decided to make myself a permanent home here and apply for hootizenship.

Of course it took me a while longer to absorb the unwritten rules, those conventions that the older1 members took for granted. Over the course of the next two and a half years I've absorbed most of the ways of hootoo myself, and thanks to the generosity, co-operation and willing help of many researchers I'm trying to collate the things that make h2g2 tick. Not tick like in a time bomb, but tick as in the heart beat of a living thing.

When I first decided to identify these quirks, I sort of guessed that there might be a dozen or so things. I was wrong: there are many, many more. You don't notice them all at once– some only appear at Halloween when everyone tries to make an anagram out of their name. Had I known this before signing up I'd have had a few less Z's and A's in my name. An E at least.

I had arrived here via the BBC message board, Mornington Crescent, and you'd think that those lot would have had interesting names, but hats off to hootoo– your nicknames beat theirs into a mild concussion. Not only names, but a tagline too. I was speechless, and then rather bashful, before leaping to tell the world (or at least
h2g2) how it is in my neck of the woods.

Aren't you friendly? I've had lots of help and support. I remember asking lil if she would adopt me; she offered smiley cake and tea and sympathy and then before I
knew it, I was kidnapped by pirates and learned a lot about geography whilst freemantling2 round the virtual world with Captain Pierce and his crew. It was aboard The Blood that I first came up against one of these unwritten rules, that of spelling w∗rk like this (i.e. with a star). I think I was thrown into the hold with some of the 42 panthers for a while for getting my spelling wrong.

Now I should mention the smileys –and such smileys! Whole threads are devoted to them and nothing else. Once you have experienced the smileys round here, every other virtual cupcake or donut tastes bland. There is such a wealth of smileys covering all aspects of reality, and surreality. At times the more smileys you use in a post, the better. h2g2 researchers are addicted to smileys, and their use has migrated with them. Malabarista said 'I've even used them on postcards–not drawn them, just put the smiley name in carats.' Everybody has a favourite set that they tend to use, and some researchers have adopted their very own, to use as a signature. If you see a post with a cute fairy, or a bat you can tell at a glance who has written it3.

Our lovely ACE lil, she who is renowned for her virtuoso ability with buttons, also owns a remarkable Matt. I'm not privy to the reason for the Matt either, it's probably one of those things that if they told me they'd have to kill me. So it's better all round if we just leave that topic for now.

One day I woke up and everyone was Tony Curtis. No, I still don't really understand why that was. I think it has something to do with Spartacus, but explanations sometimes take the magic out of these events. It's best to just go along with it, or blame 2legs. Of course, if I had have asked, the answers might have been forthcoming, but so too would the phenomena known as topic drift. Sometimes you find yourself discovering things you never knew that you wanted to know, but having been privy to them, you can't possibly go back to the state of innocence ever again.

Then we have the badgers4 and the hamsters5 and Nighthoover. Nighthoover is revered as a god, and has a cult following in the Cancel thread. In future millennia archaeologists will theorise over the meaning of Nighthoover, and whether or not the expected return ever happened. If only they would pop back and tell me what it all means.

There are lots of other things that make h2g2 unique: if you want to read about them, or explain them further here is the place to do it.

Traditions and Customs on h2g2

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Saving the Best for Last Competition Archive

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11.07.11 Front Page

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1I don't mean that the other members are actually older than me in real years; the convention here is that your h2g2 Birthday is very important. So, in h2g2, I am a youngster, compared to those scamps who hung out here before they left school.2Pirates never buy the things they want, they obtain them by the practice of 'freemantling'.3In this case Vip and Taff.4Yes, badgers, especially attack badgers are very popular here. Can you imagine the internet without badgers? Impossible. But it's another thing we have 2legs to blame for.5These poor creatures, Elton and Belton, power the servers that keep this whole show on the road.

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