Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Accidentally Learned On Neopets
NEOPIA - There are four kids in my family. All four of us play Neopets. That's
not a very exciting news flash, I know. There are lots of families that play Neopets.
But a really bizarre thing happened the other day. My youngest sister brought
home an "A" on her report card for arithmetic. The reason this is bizarre is that
we all are basically numerically challenged in my family. My parents constantly
test our adding skills by short-changing us with our allowances. They get away
with it a LOT. So when my sister brought home an "A" on her report card I was
curious to know what her secret was. Since it wouldn't occur to me to simply ask
her, I spied on her while she was playing Neopets. I caught her playing "Maths
Nightmare". She was doing math ON PURPOSE! Okay, everyone can clutch their hearts
and gasp now.
Anyway, this bizarre episode got me to thinking. I wondered if there was anything
thing else on Neopets that accidentally improved our real lives. Here is the
list of things I came up with:
I learned how to manage money.
The first week I was on Neopets I was a total newbie. The definition of a
newbie is someone who is new to Neopets and is not familiar with how things
work. The definition of a total newbie is someone who is not familiar with how
things work and actually takes the advice of someone who seems wise because
she has played Neopets for a whopping whole three weeks. I was a total newbie.
My sister was the wise sage who gave me advice.
If I had to do it over again I would have stuffed cotton in my ears and just
smiled vacantly every time she gave me a "hot tip". She convinced me that having
a petpet for my Lupe and a Neohome were vital necessities, for example. She
also convinced me that if I didn't paint my Lupe, I was a "bad" owner. She convinced
me of this by showing me her purple Grundo. Being a total newbie, I didn't know
that Grundos COME in purple and you don't have to paint them that way. Sisters.
Pffft. Obviously nature's way of keeping guys from getting too comfortable with
Since I couldn't afford a petpet for my Lupe, let alone a paint brush, I had
to save my Neopoints in order to buy these things. So I learned how to set up
a bank account and deposit my Neopoints in there as frequently as humanly possible.
When I was ten years old I used to laugh at kids who said they were afraid of
"ghosts". I don't laugh anymore. At least 200 of my Neopoints wind up on the
Money Tree every week because of ghosts. I have now developed a healthy gut-wrenching
terror of ghosts. Thanks to Neopets, I not only learned the importance of saving
money, I learned the importance of saving money in a BANK.
I learned basic capitalism.
Since in order to SAVE Neopoints, one has to MAKE Neopoints, I learned how
to do that too. I set up a shop. At first the only thing I sold there was the
stuff I got from the Tiki Tack Tombola. I would refresh my shop front page every
six seconds to see if those one Neopoint items had sold. I was deliriously happy
when I had as much as ten Neopoints in my shop till. Wasn't being a newbie such
fun? Now it takes having 50,000 Neopoints in my shop till to make me dance with
glee. In fact, for 100,000 Neopoints, I'm willing to do the Macarena. But at
least I learned the basic principles of consumer demand. Everyone wants a Main
Codestone. Nobody wants a Volcanic Rock.
I learned that patience is a virtue.
In addition to simply selling things, I learned to buy things too. I don't
mean buying things I needed. I mean buying things as an investment. Last December,
the Advent Calendar on Terror Mountain gave out cool junk every day for free.
Well, some of it was just plain junk. The Holly Football and the I Love Mince
Pies T-shirt are STILL worthless, for example. But I saw the Clockwork Wocky
and said to myself, "Myself," I said, "This is cool junk! It MOVES around your
Neohome!" So I bought up 350 of them when they were selling for 20 Neopoints
apiece. I spent 7,000 Neopoints. Then I left them in my safety deposit box for
eight months. I just recently sold them for 300 Neopoints apiece. That's a 98,000
Neopoint profit. Patience isn't just a virtue. It's a goldmine.
Of course, I also learned that investments can be a gamble. The Crokabek I
bought for 110,000 Neopoints when they were first released is worth about 10,000
Neopoints now. That's a 100,000 Neopoint loss. That's an important lesson to
learn. A really nauseatingly painful lesson, but still a goodie.
I learned how to speak a foreign language.
I learned that "tyrannu" means "higher" and "evavu" means "lower". Or is it
the other way around? Ummm... okay, so I didn't learn to speak Tyrannian. But
I did learn how to read chatspeak and 1337 (leet). And if you don't think chatspeak
and 1337 are foreign languages or that they are useful to know, try reading
any of the Neo chatboards without this basic knowledge. You'll be totally lost
faster than Valrigard the blue Draik in Meridell Castle.
I learned that life is full of surprises.
In real life they are called surprises. On Neopets, they are called "random
events". There really is no difference between finding five hundred Neopoints
on the ground and finding five dollars on the ground. Okay, so maybe in real
life a big green villain won't appear out of nowhere and zap my keyring into
a pile a sludge. But you never can tell... afterall, life is full of surprises.
I learned how to take care of my pet.
I discovered that virtual pets and real pets share a lot in common. When they
are hungry, you feed them. When they are bored, you play with them. When they
are sick, you give them medicine. When they are infested with little bugs, you
sell those little bugs for an incredible profit at the Trading Post. Well, maybe
the last one isn't the same as a real pet... but I sure wish it WAS the same
for a real pet...
I learned how to read a map.
If the sign says "Haunted Woods", by golly believe it. I also learned basic
navigation skills too. If you aim at something in the general direction of where
you want to go, you could wind up just about anywhere. If you want to go somewhere
SPECIFIC, you have to point towards the EXACT spot on your map or navigation
bar. And I learned another important thing about maps too. If there are nine
pieces to a map, you're not going to get anywhere with only eight pieces.
I learned that Spelling DOES count.
Anyone who has typed something into the Shop Wizard like "Mummified Peeper"
and gotten a message that says, "I did not find anything :(" has learned the
same lesson I have. "Spell or Starve" is not just a game. It's a fact of life.
I learned that you can make friends with total strangers.
You don't even have to do anything to make friends. All you do is have to
ask a question on the chatboards or do something unique on your pet page and
people will suddenly appear out of nowhere and start talking to you. Of course
you have to talk back in order to make a friend. This skill is called "carrying
on a conversation". If you simply watch your Neomail stack up in your box and
never answer it, you're never going to make any friends. Which brings me to
the next thing I learned...
I learned that it's better to be polite than rude.
When someone writes me a Neomail that says, "i luv ur comix stonemason!",
I have two choices for a reply: (1) "For your information, my name is Stoneman3x
so just leave me alone you ignorant chatspeaking noob" or (2) "Thanks!" Maybe
I'm just lazy, but choice #1 requires me to type a full sentence. Choice #2
requires me to type just one word. Politeness wins.
I learned that you have to fight your own battles.
You can ask for advice on the chatboards. You can buy expensive weapons. You
can train for months at a special academy. But when the time comes, it's just
you against a giant hankie in that big Battledome of life.
I learned that a good sense of humor will get you far.
So far it's gotten me about 190 Neopian Times trophies. That's my favorite
lesson of all.