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Giving Me The Cookie Runs

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GIVING ME THE COOKIE RUNS

By Andrew Biggs

Fern has a new high score on Cookie Run.

Fern has hit 1,042,511 points and is now at Level 20. This is good, since Fern was at Level 19 just the day before and Level 18 last Friday. Her ascension has been astounding.

Two minutes after Fern’s triumphant SMS I receive one from Mr Onn.

Mr Onn has achieved a new high score of 1,868,147, totally eclipsing Fern.

Not ten seconds later I receive an SMS from Peachy who has managed a high score of 840,230, somewhat paltry compared to Mr Onn’s effort but “compare is despair” as my friend Captain Pat says.

This week we had an earthquake in Chiang Rai, bombs in Hat Yai and the Prime Minister got the boot all in the space of 48 hours.

Nobody texted me about any of those three pieces of news. And yet in the same period of time I had a total of 13 people send me the feverishly exciting news that they had hit new highs on Cookie Run.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well for a number of reasons, the most primary being when it comes to the abyss of useless passive-aggressive information constantly springing out of my iPhone, I don’t want to be depressed on my own. I think Captain Pat got it wrong. “Compare” isn’t despair; try “share.”

My phone beeped three times in rapid succession during an important meeting to announce the achievements of Fern, Onn and Peachy. That in itself was irritating enough, and one could put it down to a case of bad timing if one were a little more tolerant of fools than your columnist is.

What the hell is Cookie Run anyway?

I refuse to find out. All I know is it involves a lot of jumping and sliding, neither of which activity your columnist is likely to perform for gravitational, not to mention aesthetic, reasons.

We can blame a little green App from Japan called Line, pronounced Lie in Thailand which is appropriate, since that is what we tell our bosses when they ask what we’ve been doing for the past few hours.  

Cookie Run is a game that is downloadable from Line. It’s Pacman for the Vacuum Generation. It’s one of those mindless games one can play to while away an otherwise lazy afternoon at work, and indeed, the workplace is the venue of choice judging from the myriad messages I receive informing me of High Scores and New Levels.

In one single day last week, the assortment of Cookie Run players announcing their achievements was staggering. They ranged from Silom night workers to entertainment company directors to Muslim separatists in the Deep South.

One of those nine cabinet ministers ejected last Wednesday afternoon has a Senior Advisor who recently penetrated Level 16. No wonder that minister got such bad advice, unless he was enquiring as to how one could get past that infernal Level 10.

I’ve been waiting for a report to be finished for a week now from an outside company.  The writer is two weeks’ late and it’s messing up a project of mine, but he says he is absolutely flat out hence his tardiness.

And yet in the space of one week he has progressed from Level 14 to Level 18. I know this because Line beeps me at the end of every Level. I’d give my right arm for a beep telling me the damned work is finished.

It worries me that we humans have a desire to broadcast such feats, if a Cookie Run high score can be deemed a “feat”. And I won’t even start on the annoyance of being snapped out of a meeting by the likes of Fern, Onn and Peachy.

Who are Fern, Onn and Peachy anyway?

I’m glad you asked that question, dear reader.

Fern is a sales executive of mine who resigned back in 2014 for reasons not to be detailed here in order to avoid defamation litigation, since truth is no defence in this country. To say she left under a cloud may be understating the intensity of fluffy condensed water vapor.

As for Onn, we worked together 20 years ago on a magazine. We haven’t chatted for a good ten years, when he was in between jobs and asked if there was any work going.

As for Peachy … do you honestly think I would be friends with anyone possessing such a nickname?

I have no idea who Peachy is (certainly not one of my deep south separatist friends – they’d have blown her up based solely on her nickname), but she clearly knows me, since Line syncs you up with people who possess your telephone number, whether you have theirs or not.

So ... an underperforming ex-employee, a work colleague from the mid-1990s, and some anonymous young woman with a sickly nickname … none of these three has any legitimate reason to be contacting me nowadays unless it is to apologize, lodge an application form or announce a name change.

I know what some of my more opinionated readers are thinking. “Why doesn’t he just delete Line and be done with it?” they denounce, spitting morsels of apple-cinnamon muffin onto my byline.

Well believe me I wish I could, opinionated readers, only the entire business world in Thailand now runs from Line user groups.

“There is one way you can stop the notifications,” a staff member told me this week.

“How? Tell me how!” I replied, using both hands to tug at his work-shirt collar.

“You download Cookie Run, then go to the settings and block notifications.”

Someone give those Cookie Run creators a medal! Pure genius! I actually have to download the damned thing to stop it bothering me!

Well I did it.

I downloaded Cookie Run in order to block it.

But just before I did, I figured I may as well play it to see what the fuss is all about.

And this is where I must end this column. I wrote that last paragraph at 7.45 pm. It’s now 3 am and I must be going to bed.

/Andrew



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