It’s a somewhat minor personal triumph, but I have just shattered my personal best in the bat-and-ball game that comes free on a BlackBerry. Did I want to upload my score to the overall rankings, it asked. Hell, yes, I said, quietly, to myself. What if I’m some sort of bat-and-ball prodigy? What if, by a chain of unlikely events, proficiency in bat-and-ball games equates to some urgently needed skill, such as repelling an invading force of alien spacecraft? I’ve seen The Last Starfighter. (For anyone who hasn’t, it concerns a teenager who is selected to save the earth from extra-terrestrial hostility after achieving the highest score on a Government-monitored arcade game.)
It turns out I am about 682,000th.
I’m having trouble interpreting this. How many people are there behind me? And does it matter? After all, those who haven’t played the game probably aren’t going to be very good, so presumably I’m 682,000th out of the world population of 6.7 billion (ie in the top one hundredth of a per cent).
If skill at bat and ball is closely aligned to alien repulsion, will I still be needed? I imagine that in the event of attack it will be all hands to the pump, but how many pumps will there be?
So, to summarise, I am left with a list of questions:
a) What crossover is there between bat and ball, on the one hand, and world-saving duties, on the other?
b) Are there more than 682,000 places for planetary defenders in the event of an attack?
c) Will defenders have to be suicidally brave?
If the answers to these are “none”, “no” and “yes”, then I may have to devote my time to doing something more useful.