Second Life…

…just made your virtual life infinitely better. As for your actual life? Better hope someone invents magic soon.

We’d never criticize television?friend! Lover! Secret mother!?but you can only experience so much of the world from the comfort of your sofa. But before attempting to explore all that “reality” has to offer, why not attempt a trial run in the virtual wonderland that is Second Life? With its endless entertainment options, lucrative real estate ventures, and limitless creative possibilities, Second Life, a 3-D virtual world inhabited by more than 8 million residents, offers any number of things that you can’t?for whatever reason?do in real life.

Take your personal appearance. If you’re anything like us, there have been mornings when you’ve hopped out of bed, glanced in the mirror, and considered spot autoplasty. In Second Life, you can alter your avatar in any number of ways with minimal blood loss. A too-cool-for-school Afro? Sure. Tattoos up and down every limb? Yup. Spherical implants of the sort referred to by the scientific community as “big honking hump handles”? You gots it. With a tweak or two, and the expenditure of a few real dollars, you can make yourself look exactly like Lenny Kravitz. Or a dude, even.

Of course, you don’t have to stop there. Second Life allows you to venture well beyond the boundaries of modern science: namely, into the realms of the animal kingdom and imagination. If you feel like experiencing Second Life as a goat, your wish can be the site’s command (people whose avatars are animals are referred to as “furries”). You can be a cartoon character, assuming you respect Hanna-Barbera’s intellectual property rights. You can be a well-mannered, intellectual robot, just like Al Gore. You can be a blob of light or a tree or Godzilla. Creating your own avatar takes considerable time and skill, of course, so get ready to log some serious hours in front of the ‘puter. 

You might not like your real-world job because, say, your boss is a very short man with brutish breath to match. In Second Life, you can scratch your dream-career itch. Biz-minded Second Lifers find ways to indulge their creativity, whether through fashion design or automobile customization. Fine, maybe you won’t be able to write and hawk virtual screenplays, but Second Life allows you to adopt any number of professional personae. Like parachuting instructor. Don’t tell us you’ve never considered it.

You can role-play, with a host of areas practically begging the Trekkie or Star Wars nerd that resides deep in us all to emerge from his dork cocoon. Or you can just play God. Given that its borders are largely imaginary (okay, totally imaginary), there’s no shortage of real estate within Second Life. To that end, you can create rolling landscapes, replete with lush waterfalls and mountain ranges that make the Rockies look like anthills by comparison.

Or you can do a lot of stuff that God himself would love to do if he had an earthly corpus?like fly or boogie underwater at the aptly named Aquatica club. In any event, if you can’t find a new experience around every Second Life corner, you’re not trying very hard.