Today's topic is geocaching — an activity that gives otherwise trail-bound hikers an excuse to go cross-country and destroy the natural beauty they ostensibly left the house to appreciate in the first place. Adherents try to liken it to treasure hunting, but that analogy only holds up if you ignore the fact that the "treasure" is in fact some worthless piece of crap like a toy plane or an official GeoCoin™ coin. And you're supposed to leave an equally craptacular prize in its place, so it's not like you even come out marginally ahead.
The whole thing seems kind of pointless to me. I can understand the desire to share locations of hidden lakes and un-mapped waterfalls among outdoorsmaneers too xtreme to confine themselves to more touristy daytrips. But why entardify it with a bunch of litter and a "FRONK WUZ HERE" logbook? And what's the point of having a "geo"cache in the middle of a city? You might as well just toss your trash on your neighbour's lawn and call it a treasure hunt.
Some people don't just leave cheap trinkets or candy wrappers, they actually buy a Travel Bug™, which is a uniquely identified but otherwise mass-produced item specifically for putting in (and taking out of) caches. The idea there seems to be that you can track your Travel Bug™ as it goes from cache to cache across the world. Or, more likely, across the city. It sounds like that thing people do where they steal a garden gnome and mail pictures of it from all over the world to the original owner, only cleaned up for MTV. This is the Sunday afternoon version, the wild and rebellious teenager with her knees together all tarted up for church.
I can't help but see the parallels between this "game" and MMOGs like WoW. The game is all about the community, and the community is made up of strangers. It's inconceivable that such a situation could exist without some form of griefing.
People get bored, especially when the game itself is stupid and pointless. How could you not, at some point, decide to just take the whole cache with you, or move it somewhere else, or fill it with a combination of used tampons and urine?
Imagine the next person futilely searching for hours, or finding your "treasure" and futilely scrubbing for hours. Or maybe you just put it in a particularly clever location and they get questioned by the bomb squad. All of which would make for great schadenfreudian fun if you don't like strangers very much. Unless you're a chick, in which case you don't even get that.
The sole valid use for geocaching is one for which, to my knowledge, it has not yet been employed: suicide. People wander out into the woods to kill themselves all the time, and then Search and Rescue volunteers have to go out and find them. And it's a bitch, because people who aren't planning on coming back can get into all sorts of places no sane person would go. And once they manage to find the body, they have to carry it out.
It would simplify things immensely if instead of a cryptic note, the suicidor left the coordinates of where they plan to snuff themselves. Or better yet, just post it as a new cache to Geocaching.com. Maybe even put a Travel Bug™ around your neck and a logbook in your hand. How many times can the body be moved before the police catch up? Now that would be a game worth playing.
At this time I would like to draw your attention to Jibble's pants, and specifically his belt, in the first frame. That, right there, is the pinnacle of UAC artwork. It's probably for the best if the site does die after next week, because we will never be able to top that belt.