How to Never Leave your house
You can forget about 'Operation Transformation'. Those get-up-and-go people are just a tiny, crazy minority. It's all about staying at home these days and letting the world come to you. Thanks to the billionaire nerds who control our lives, it's never been easier to do just that. Our reporter takes a look at the technology and lifestyle choices required to enjoy a meaningful life from the comfort of your own home
Looking for predictably repetitive sex with a regular partner? Check. Don't want to get married? Check. Good news. The Japanese have you covered.
It's hardly a surprise, given that the majority of people in Tokyo live alone now. The Japanese were always going to lead the charge for sexy robots. They recently announced something called the Illusion VR. It's a full-body suit, with a virtual-reality headset and a small, human-like contraption that fiddles about with your bits. It simulates what it must be like to shag a jockey. Some reckon the product announcement was an April Fool's prank, but the manufacturers, Tenga, seem intent on marketing the real thing.
This is in tune with the way the virtual reality (VR) and porn industries have been cooperating recently. One porn site recently gave away 10,000 pairs of VR goggles for free. (The offer is closed now. But then you knew that already, you dirty thing.) This is great news for middle-aged men. Now, at last, they can tell people they are buying an expensive VR headset to watch porn. It beats the truth, because you don't want people knowing you stay up all night playing Call of Duty with some random young fella in South Korea.
The people who analyse this stuff - a bit too enthusiastically for our liking -reckon that enhanced virtual-reality sex will put an end to sexting. So you might want to stop sharing photos of your special place on WhatsApp. It would be awful to go off-trend.
All things considered, an end to sexting is good news for bored people stuck at home. Except, of course, Premiership footballers, who will have to come up with something else to do on a Thursday evening.
Maybe they could read a book. If they had stayed in school, says you.
Working from Home
There are a number of terms used to cover the working-from-home area. They range from e-workers, remote workers and watching Judge Judy with a bowl of Cheerios. The last is on the way out. Why? Evil bosses. It turns out certain companies are monitoring their home-working-employees' computers, including a check on whether their mouse is in motion. So make sure to put one of the kids at your PC and let them play Candy Crush when you go for a nap.
You'll need to be careful about your career choice. There are a lot of bad people out there, which is part of the reason you have vowed to never leave the house. If you see an ad on a lamppost that offers three grand a week for working from home, there is a chance it involves a gent from the Balkans called Kaspar who isn't used to smiling. Let's just say he isn't going to arrange a performance review when he discovers you haven't been moving your mouse. (That's Kaspar-speak for hiding guns in the jacks.)
And then there's the loneliness. This might have seemed attractive back in your office days, as you struggled to talk about your commute with Shy Seamus at the coffee dock. (His fidgeting didn't help.) But the novelty of spending all day alone soon wears off. Just ask a postman. There was a time when they lived in fear of angry pets. Now they dread lonely home-workers, waiting for them at the door every day with, "Ye must be out in all weather, do you get special training for dealing with dogs? Would you like to come in for a cup of tea? Please tell me about your commute to work, I'm going nuts here".
You mean that sensation you get in your thigh if you don't get up off the couch all weekend? No, but we know what you're on about.
Twitch is actually Twitch.tv, a live-streaming site where people go to watch other people play video games. Amazon bought it for $970m in 2014 and it attracts over 100 million unique users a month. You read that correctly. So off with you now to join one of those Doomsday cults that insist we are approaching the end times. Because they are definitely on to something.
Twitch.tv is the answer to the question we all asked about 20 years ago: is there anything lazier than sitting around playing video games all day? Yes, there is. Sitting around watching other people playing them. The fact that the only thing on telly is a rerun of How I Met Your Mother is no excuse for this sort of carry-on.
It's clear now that Twitch.tv could be a tipping point. Picture the scene. You're sitting there watching some north-of-England hipster in a flat-cap, playing Dead by Daylight (I'm not making this up), talking about how he likes to kill his opponents with an animal trap. Suddenly you realise you are not cut out for this lonely, virtual world and storm out the front door to a brave new future.
Alternatively, you could find yourself still watching it an hour later, unable to move, because it's weirdly addictive. (I'm not making this up, either.) So tune in and watch some geeks murdering each other, if you like. Just don't assume that it is going to change your life for the better.
You might have heard of Bangababes. It's that TV channel where tattooed ladies in their knickers charge lonely men to talk dirty to them. The online offering is a great way to make a few bob from home, if you don't mind being called a Camwhore. (You've been called worse.)
All you need is a PC, a webcam and a decent internet connection. Don't worry about people passing comments on your career choices. When they hear you are at home all day in your underwear, degrading yourself for a pittance, they'll just assume you've gone into journalism.
Anyway, the global ban on slut-shaming means you should be safe from judgment. If anyone passes comment on your new little earner, report them to the appropriate authorities, who will force them to watch Channel 4 News on a loop, while being slapped with a rolled-up copy of The Irish Times.
Make sure you charge for the service. Otherwise people will think you're fake-masturbating in front of lonely pensioners for fun. We've checked, and the ban on slut-shaming doesn't really stretch that far. The best way to develop a following is to advertise on social media and other digital platforms. We recommend that Irish women should steer clear of Skype, unless you fancy this conversation. "Uncle Kevin, what are you doing in this chat?" "I was lonely after Skyping your cousin Donal in Brisbane, and then I saw your contact request, Dirty Irish Sex Fiend." "Well, this is embarrassing."
Also, a lot of you are still living at home with the parents. So prepare for that moment when you are entertaining your clients, only for Mammy to stick her head into the frame and say, "Hello lads, are ye having an old wank?" Don't rush her out of the room. If you think there isn't a niche market for this sort of double act, then you simply don't understand the internet.
Staying at home isn't just a nervous reaction to the world because you're an over-parented 24-year-old. It is also a great way to make a statement to a delivery person - one that reads, "I'm better than you, thanks for the packet of crisps".
This is possible now, due to the rise of on-demand delivery. It's already huge in New York, where they will never stop looking for new ways to humiliate people who work in the service industry.
A couple of clicks on the app and you can get anything delivered at any time, as long as you pay the delivery charge. So that might bring the total cost of that packet of crisps to €10, but hey, you're worth it. (Or your father is worth it and he is paying for your apartment in the docklands.)
On-demand delivery means you no longer have to go without a Yorkie and a sharing bag of Doritos at 10.30pm, just because you're too tired to go to the shop. It also means you will have to be lifted out of bed by crane in 20 years' time, what with having 14 chins. But it still beats going to bed hungry.
There doesn't seem to be a specialist company doing on-demand in Ireland, but it can't be long before one turns up. (Unless they deliver it to the wrong address.) Who knows, you might even start up your own on-demand service, and make a fortune.
OK, this means a trip off the couch to find some geeks who'll work for nothing in return for shares. But after three months you can sell up, move to San Fran and live among ruthless nerds who are short on people skills. They call it 'living the dream'.
That thing you use to print photos and directions from Google maps because you are afraid of data-roaming charges? You are so 2004.
It's all about 3D printers these days. And please don't say that your printer is already three-dimensional. That's just the kind of joke Uncle Eddie makes, and no one takes him seriously anymore.
Here is what 3D printers can do. They can print out a set of replacement dentures, anywhere around the world. They are widely used to create spare parts for trucks and appliances. And a Japanese artist recently published the data required to print off a copy of her vagina.
We're not suggesting that a spare Japanese front-bottom is going to change your life. (Although you can never be sure with these things.) But it's only a matter of time before we all have a 3D printer in the house, churning out knick-knacks at the click of a button. That means no more buying lightbulbs, keys or anything that can be scanned digitally and recreated somewhere else with the appropriate materials.
The applications are endless. For example, there are some moments that cry out for a sex toy. So 3D printing is a stay-at-home alternative to mooching around Ann Summers, pretending that you're looking for a nice supportive bra.
There is even a Dutch designer developing a printer to churn out clothes in your own home. Imagine, you could sit down at 5pm on a Saturday evening and browse through designs for a little black number to wear later on. OK, so you're not going anywhere later on, what with having no real friends. But there is nothing to stop you printing off a few 'buddies' so you can sit around drinking mojitos with them. Yes, it's a bit desperate, but so is tag rugby, and people go mad for that.
You know how it is. You start out trying to order a takeaway; you end up getting a divorce. Nothing undermines a relationship faster
than someone who would have preferred pizza. For every guy wolfing down a chicken biryani, there is a partner next to him eating an unwanted lamb balti, thinking, 'This isn't the only thing unwanted in this room, we need to talk'.
Not anymore. Food-delivery services such as Deliveroo mean you can order your takeaway from separate restaurants. Your relationship is safe, thanks to an overworked guy on a Honda 50. (That's as long as you don't mind the way your partner sucks down his ramen noodles. Which, let's face it, you do.)
There are a couple of things to look out for here. The delivery charge starts from €2.50. You don't want to think about how much of that goes to Honda 50 Man. It would be such a shame to spoil your appetite. It's hard enough to eat a snack box that spent the last 45 minutes being driven around in the snow.
You'll need to get the tipping right. It's not that long since tipping in Ireland was seen as a sign of weakness, or, indeed, madness. Now, it's a way of flashing your wealth. Unfortunately, sites like Deliveroo allow you to add the tip to your bill while ordering the food online. So the delivery guy mightn't be aware he got a tip. This is a problem in Ireland, where we suffer from an acute condition known as Morto. So make sure to shout, "You got the tip, right - €2.50, I paid it online. Quite generous, I think you'll find", as he heads back to the Honda. That way, the neighbours can know that you're sound as well.
You'll hear some ridiculous claims in favour of online shopping. Some people say it stops you from buying stuff you don't need in Aldi. They obviously never pushed an order over €25 on Amazon, just to get free delivery. Let's just put it this way. For sale: Eight tin-openers and 47 corkscrews, still in their original packaging.
Others reckon that online shopping is boring. They obviously never ordered a tech gadget from a Chinese website. The upside is it has a higher spec than the big brand name, for half the price. The downside is you're not really sure if or when it will arrive. This uncertainty can result in a thrill that lasts for weeks, which is often longer than the device. For extra kicks, email the contact address and ask if they know when your phone or tablet will be delivered. We're not saying some of the support guys have bad English; but does anyone know what "The cat has left Hong Kong, sometimes longer than your mother" means?
Another potential downside is a condition peculiar to Irish people known as Same Delivery Man Awks. We live on a small island, so it's nearly always the same delivery man who brings our order to the door. Awkward. This wouldn't matter so much in places like America, where they are used ignoring service people. But this is Ireland, where we say 'thanks' to the bus driver and 'sorry' to get the waiter's attention in a restaurant. There is every chance you will develop a Stockholm Syndrome-type condition, and fall in love with this delivery man. There is no chance of you coming out of this with your dignity intact. So here's our advice. Don't answer the door and he'll leave it with the neighbours. Let them deal with Same Delivery Man Awks.
You'll need to stay fit. It would be a mistake to assume your sexy Japanese robot will be up for it, no matter what. These things are designed to be lifelike. So there you are, giving it the glad-eye, with your belly down to your knees. And there it is, saying, "Not a chance, lard-face, your boobs are bigger than mine." It actually sounds harsher in a Japanese accent. (The research we do for these articles.)
So what's a good bet on the fitness front? They say jogging is good for the health. Of your osteopath's bank balance.
The gym is one of those times it makes sense to leave the house in search of a life-partner. The rule of thumb is to pick someone who is worse at spinning than you. They are more likely to pile on the pounds over time, meaning they will have no choice but to stay with you forever. It saves so much effort, trying to find a new partner down the line.
There is a lot to be said for yoga at home, as long as you pull the blinds. You don't want someone to see you in the front room, eyes closed, hands joined. They might think you're a God-botherer. Very few people seek friendship with a God-botherer. And those that do, well, god help us. So pull those blinds.
There are loads of free how-to yoga videos on YouTube, even if they can be a bit hard to follow with your eyes closed. The important thing is to relax, but not so much that you click on the instructor's website at the end and buy an overpriced yoga mat.
After all, this is the internet we're talking about. The last thing you want to do to give financial support to someone who has improved your life by creating something for free.
The experts reckon drones will revolutionise everything from retail to emergency-response services. We think most people will buy one to see if your one in number 36 is still sunbathing topless out the back.
For the uninitiated, a drone is not related to droning on. We're not suggesting you go out and buy the priest who gave the sermon at your brother's wedding. A drone is like a remote-control helicopter, often with a camera attached for your inner snoop. So no more bouncing on the child's trampoline out the back garden in a frankly creepy manner.
Amazon are currently piloting drone delivery, so there is a good chance that your drone will be delivered by a drone. Don't contemplate this if you are the type to pick 'special' mushrooms from west-facing hills in early September. You'll end up thinking about it for hours.
This might be better than thinking about the modern world. Drones aren't everywhere yet. They are still confined to the kind of men who have strong opinions on the future of Top Gear. (Avoid at all costs.)
This won't last. The nerdy billionaires who control our lives won't stop until the sky is black with our personal drones. You can protest against this if you like, but the nerds will probably cancel your Facebook account, and, with it, your life.
There is one activity bound to flourish off the back of this drone boom. Treating Delusions of Grandeur. It's an actual medical condition that is bound to get worse when you spend all day on the phone saying, "Don't worry, I'll send my drone around". Good luck not adding 'old chap' to the end of that sentence.
Worse still, Irish people are genetically disposed to suffer Delusions of Grandeur. Two words for anyone who doubts this. Celtic Tiger.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine