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Monday, May 15, 2006
The navy ad

Does anyone remember the quite recent navy advertisement about this bloke's life being made into a movie? I do not remember the tag line exactly, but it went something like this. "If your life was a movie, would it be good?"

I saw it a lot on TV Mobile when I was on the bus. Basically, ordinary Joe (except that his name was Nick) walks around and sees adverts for a movie about his life. The bugger goes to watch the movie, but most of the audience fell asleep during the movie. Then, they showed some montage of Big, Badass Navy Ship moving around on the high seas blowing shit up.

Supposedly, the ad highlights the contrast between ordinary Joe's dull life of drudgery and the very exciting life of a navy officer. It's your choice, coos the ad seductively, whether you want to live an ordinary life, or a life of ordnance blowing shit up (I believe the words used were "be somebody").

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that blowing shit up makes you a somebody only insofar as the Unabomber is somebody, I'm here to tell you that it's all bollocks.

In the first place, any dude who's been through the life of a conscript in any branch of the armed forces will know, if he stops to think about it for a moment, that soldiering is not at all everything it's cracked up to be. In the first place, you don't go around blowing shit up. As any physically fit Singaporean male knows, you actually fire live ammunition at most 5% of the time you're in the army. Ok, wait a minute. Let's do a proper estimate here.

We're in the army about 2.5 years.

2.5 X 365 = 912.5

My memory is not clear on this, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but we only have one live firing at the range per year. In fact, let's be generous and say we have a total of 10 live firing exercises, which is probably considerably less than the case in reality. To tell the truth, even those live firing exercises which were not held at the ranges were really rather boring. We spent most of the time queueing up. Nevertheless . . .

((10 X 2.5) / 912.5) X 100 = 2.73%

In other words, the ad is bogus, because even with the above generous estimate, you'd spend about 97% of your time in the fucking navy doing dry runs, firing blanks, polishing cannon tubes or whatnot and probably getting punished when you fail to jump when some trainer whistles. Would a movie with 97% of the time spent on boring crap interest the rest of you? I very much doubt so.

Furthermore, let's take a look at the sex life of a sailor. From what I've heard, they can be out at sea for as long as 6 months at a time. Let's be generous and say 3 months. 3 months is about 100 days. 2.73% of 100 is about 3 days. So, out of 100 days of movie-watching, you get a miserable 3 days of blowing fake targets up and 97 days of watching some luckless sailor polishing tubes and no sex. Does that sound like a good movie to you?

Take, on the other hand, the life of ordinary Joe. I myself am quite extraordinary, so I shall not make you envious with the details of my life. Hence, let's take a look at the lives most of my friends live. My friends have sex ranging from once a day to once a week. Let's take the median and say the average guy has sex 3 times a week. When they're not fucking chicks, they go clubbing, where they pick up chicks to fuck. When they're not clubbing, they're drinking. When they're not drinking, they're playing sports. Professional sportsmen make millions of dollars a year just because people enjoy watching what they do.

Yes, I know action movies make tons of cash too, but as we've already established, life as a sailor in the navy is pretty much the antithesis of a live action movie. So, given the choice between watching blokes playing sports, even non-professionally, and watching blokes cleaning some seaborne steel cage, which would you choose? Don't answer, the question was obviously rhetorical.

If the life of a friend of mine was made into a movie, chances are, it would be a porno. Now, would you rather watch a porno or some 100-minute movie where there's action for 3 minutes, no chicks and tube polishing for 97 minutes?

The prosecution rests its case.
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