On the 2nd of October, 2006, at one in the morning, Uncyc user: Hardwick Earnest Fundlebuggy was rightfully imprisoned for a crime he almost certainly did commit. While in prison, Hardwick (recognised the world over for his raffish hat and carelessly tossed good looks) kept a journal of his experiences. We publish it here, in full, as a lesson to others:Minute 1: Banned! Condemned to the blank screen and the obscurity of the kitchen, I elect to make myself a chicken curry happy meal for one, but it doesn't work. Not even the cheery ping of the microwave can bring me from my torpor. I am now branded a criminal and will forever be a stain on society, just like the one that splashes across my shirt when the meal explodes as I stab at it in rage with a plastic fork.
Minute 2: I ponder my crime. It was a heat of the moment thing, a crime of passion, a cry from the heart of a user riddled with the urge to render everything into guffaws, a hopeless case of human giggling, Plato's buffon running out of the cage stark naked into the sun only to slip on the banana skin of criminality. This is what I am. A worm. Worse than a worm. Half a worm. Not even that. A wo.
Minute 3: I suddenly, and out of nowhere think of the funniest edit in the world. This is the one - the edit that will make Uncyc famous. Newspapers will flock to the site wondering what they were missing. It's a miracle. I reach for the keyboard and ... remember I am banned. Then I forget what I was going to write. Now I am really miserable.
Minute 4: My crime: I edited the words of another. Slipped in some elegant ones of my own. What can I say? You will point the finger and say, well Fundlebuggy, there's lots of white spaces on the site and so why do you need to shove your words into someone else's? Why - when the world is full of fluffy lambkins and candy floss, would you go and do something as terrible and perverted as that? I can only answer that I fell in with a bad crowd. Pushers and users. They egged me on - told me it would be fun, and for my sins, I believed them - and now I am here: in the darky hole.
Minute 5: Now that I am banned, I have nothing but my fellow criminals for company. Spammers, Bots, Blankers and Blodgers to a man. The reverted, the converted and the terminally insane. "Go on a blanking spree..." they whisper to me. "You'll feel better. It's revenge. They hate blanking sprees.... Badger the Bastard will show you the ropes mate... Come on, just blank one article and write "U R Gey" instead. You'll be a hero, pal. A right hero". But no. I refuse. I bury myself instead in my books. Then they bury me in more books. Then sand. Then concrete. I wake up in my kitchen. There is chicken curry in my ear.
Minute 6: And now the withdrawal sets in. The need to type some jocular spasm into the ether is at my throat, and won't let go. Or perhaps it's just a squirrel. I don't know. I feel like I am going insane here. I write what I can on postcards and throw them out the window, but it is not the same. I realise that there is nothing on this sweet earth like the rush of inserting a penguin into an article on the Pope. And that is something I have lost. For a whole ten minutes. I don't know how I will be able to bear it.
Minute 7: An idea! I shall find out who banned me and appeal to them on my knees to allow me back in to the world of fun powder. I fire up my Sinclair ZX80 and make a cup of tea. Finally, the words appear on the screen. My captor's name is Sannse. It is a name I know well. Few have seen her and lived. Sannse writes of my crime:
There is a line, Fundlebuggy. A line. A big one. In blue pen. It's a really obvious line. And you crossed it pal. Worse, you drew lots of squiggles all over it. Nothing short of electro-convulsive therapy could cure such a deranged maniac as you, so instead I'll just ban you for a period of time.
Minute 8: What is this word, time? What does it signify? I sit down on an unoccupied stump and sharpen a meaningless piece of wood with an uncaring blade. When I am done, I examine the point. It is a good point, but pointless. I lay down and look at the sky. Whereas previously it was all blue and fluffy, now it is just blank. It is sky. That is all. Sky sky sky. Sky. Sky. And yet it is also somehow reminiscent of freedom, like a chicken strapped to a rocket powered roller skate careening towards an unsuspecting post office.
Minute 9: I must find this Sannse and appeal to her directly. I enter the hallowed halls of IRC, in which, by a quirk of fate, I am still allowed to roam freely. I plead innocence, refer to my large clutch of featured articles, my unblemished record and the large bunch of daffodils that I am carrying. Sannse is like stone. She refuses. I am to live out my punishment until I am reformed. That's another whole minute. How will I survive and keep my sanity? Sanity? I start laughing uncontrollably.
Minute 10: This is the longest minute of them all. It is the dark night of the sixty seconds that tick quietly away on the watch that I bought at Argos for next to nothing back in the days I can hardly remember now - when I was free and when sleep came to me like an angel with open arms as opposed to what it is now - a dishcloth on a comatose donkey. I try to distract myself by reading: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn - but the happiness contained in those pages is unbearable to me. Is there a ball and chain now firmly ensconced in the place where my soul used to be? Or is that indigestion?
And Finally ... I am free! Hello birds! Hello trees! I am free - and more importantly, reformed. I love Uncyc. Under the spreading chestnut tree, I banned you and you banned me ... I must rush to Big Brother and send him this journal as an example to others. My shame shall be their warning.
HF. October 2. 2006.