Whenever people ask each other what they did in the summer holidays, they miss the really important question - what didn't you do? Because not doing things is one of the authentic joys of time off. So driven are we by the belief that we should be busy that we've forgotten the pleasures of wasting time.
If you want to develop those slacking abilities, there could be nowhere better than the Internet, a huge junkyard of nonsense where you could potter around for hours and still have nothing useful to show for it.
Even an aimless wander has to begin somewhere, so we'll begin with a particularly pointless site, dedicated to angry people everywhere. The "Angry Organisation" is a magnificently eccentric Internet site that draws upon the spleen of "angry people all over the world", giving them space to record their ill will towards their hate-objects. If you have had a bad time with your local garage or you're feeling ripped off by a major corporation, you can e-mail in your angry comments, and they'll be added to a long scroll of grievances.
If you want to see some of the world's biggest companies being attacked in the most forthright terms by angry customers or employees, then take a look at this site. In this free-for-all, you can see waves of anger crashing down on the institutions that everyone loves to hate - such as banks, credit card and mortgage companies. There are also entertaining contributions to a list of Things That Make Us Angry, including such diverse loathings as country music, blunt knives and restaurant music.
Alongside the fury is also a slice or two of wonderful paranoia. An unlikely target for angry treatment is the United Nations, but when you read the accusation attacking the peacekeepers, all is revealed: "I'm angry at the United Nations. Their silent black helicopters have been hovering over my house at night, trying to read my mind. I have a constant headache. Good thing I had lined my house with tin foil or else I'd really be in trouble."
If you're feeling that you'd like to take a stroll deeper into the world of secret fears, then the Internet could be for you. To sample the anxiety on offer, click on "Net Search" and then type in "paranoia" or "conspiracy" and you'll be overloaded with a choice of thousands of sites. Once you've browsed a few you'll get the general paranoid picture - UFOs are everywhere, the world is being run by a secret government, large sections of the population are victims of mind-control experiments, you can pick up special messages from space on your car radio, aliens are regular drinkers in certain late-night bars in the Nevada desert and so on.
There's even a newsletter, called Paranoid News, but for some spooky reason I couldn't get into it. Maybe someone's trying to stop me, maybe there's something in those stories. Hold on, who's that at the window?
It's only a short step from conspiracy to unconvincing explanations and a chemistry lecturer in the United States has compiled an Internet page holding a list of best unlikely excuses from students failing to hand in essays on time. My own favourite from this selection is a letter that begins: "As I was walking back to my car, I became a victim of a random act of violence. I was attacked by a group of Quaker bodybuilding women. I think there were five or six of them. I couldn't tell because it was dark and they were beating me down. I managed to knock one of their Quaker hats off before they beat me into submission." And who knows, maybe it's true. And what's even better, it was a really enjoyable waste of time reading it.
The Angry Organisation: http:www.angry.org My Favourite Excuses: http:www.odin.chemistry.uakron.eduexcuses