I was a smart little kid. As a result, I was actively disliked by everyone, but I did have my share of friends (some of whom also disliked me... although not so actively). My bullies made sure I didn't enjoy school as much as I could have done, but by the time I got to year 7 in the first throes of secondary school, I had found my solace in books. Having been brought up on the Narnia books and The Hobbit, and also beginning to get into Harry Potter, I couldn't wait for my own exciting, fun-filled adventure to start.
Only it didn't manifest. There wasn't an adventure to be had... so I invented one.
I rocked up to the playground at breaktime waving a sheet of symbols such as at signs, ampersands and percent symbols. "Look at THIS!" I yelled in an excited voice.
"What's that?" asked Lightsinthesky. I, of course, hadn't properly thought this thing through, so I just pulled something out of my head.
"An official-looking man in a suit ran past me," I gabbled, "and this fell out of his bag. I can't make out what it is, really."
To my surprise, delight and utter confusion, Lightsinthesky accepted this story without question and took the papers with genuine concentration developing on his face.
"Your printer went funny," commented another guy passing by, something which I vehemently denied.
This is, of course, what had actually happened. My printer had broken the night before and managed to print out a seemingly random series of symbols and punctuation before I had managed to fix it through the simple expedient of turning it off.
"Hey, maybe it's Wingdings," proposed Lightsinthesky. Good theory, but not correct. He seemed to realise this, thus correcting himself immediately with, "no, it's actual symbols, isn't it?". He used to have conversations with himself like this a lot. I just let him carry on as, having started this thrilling descent into spy territory, I had no idea quite how to continue it.
"Do you have any idea?" I prompted him.
"No... but we've got to do something, right?" he grinned. I continued to be shocked by this ready acceptance of what, in my opinion, was a story incredibly easy to discount as hokum. My brain suddenly went into overtime.
"I know what I'll do," I ejaculated while stashing the sheets back into my bag. "My flatbed scanner does OCR..."
Wow, I just felt myself age ten years.
"...and if I feed the symbols into it, they might render as something else. After all, the at sign looks like an A, the exclamation mark looks like an I..."
Lightsinthesky was genuinely excited by the prospect.
I never mentioned this plan again, using my scanner instead to enlarge pictures of Emma Bunton my sister had in her bedroom and then using Paint's fill tool to make her look naked. But I'm glad that, for just a moment, we had the beginning of our exciting adventure after all.