A lesson in learning

Paul poured the fifth pint in a seven pint round.

A group of businessmen discussed the pros and cons of a new app idea as the barman keenly listened.

Everything is online now Paul thought.

The extent of Paul’s computer knowledge was somewhat limited.

He could check his e-mail, browse the internet, and make a basic website with images and text. Paul had many website ideas that he was confident could provide him with at least an income to live on, however he was held back by his lack of knowledge and financial backing.

I can’t still be working here in ten years time. If I can’t get the money to pay someone, I can get the knowledge to do it myself.

“That’ll be £25.50.” Paul said, handing over the 7th drink.

The businessman paying didn’t even make eye contact as Paul completed the transaction, handing him back the 50p change which the businessman quickly pocketed.

Right, things definitely have to change.

That night Paul was delighted to find a handy tutorial website teaching him everything he needed to know to write the code to build complex websites. As an added bonus, it was all free.


The website contained around 100 tutorials, and a platform on the site to practice what was being taught. It encouraged students not to use other programs or websites, but to stay on the website throughout the duration of the course.

If I did this every day after work for 2 hours, I could finish this course in about 2 months.

Paul was determined, and true to his word he spent his evenings taking the tutorials, following the strict instructions to finish the course before trying anything away from the website.

The two months Paul gave himself to complete the course passed, as did four more before he completed the final lesson. He felt a sense of accomplishment, not just from what he had learnt, but from his ability to stick to a plan and complete something. This is a feeling he had not had it many years.

I did it.

Keen to try out his newly found code writing skills, Paul used all of the £200 in bar tips that he had saved over the passed six months to purchase a top of the range website development program.

No expense spared.

After finding it surprisingly difficult to download and register the program, Paul opened it up to put his knowledge to the test.

There was a range of website templates that he could start with, none of which Paul liked. This did not discourage Paul, who could now build a website from nothing but writing code.

Lets start this from scratch.

Spending the next few hours writing his code, Paul discovered that none of it seemed to be working.

Why is this not working?

Going back to the tutorial site, Paul inputted the same code into one of the website’s many code testing platforms. This time, the code worked but did not produce what Paul was hoping it would.


Paul decided to have a quick search online to see if anyone else was experiencing any problems with the tutorial site.

As the results loaded, Paul’s heart sank.

“The cruelest website on the internet.”
“Don’t use this website.”
“I’ve just spent the past week wasting my time with this fucking site.”

Reality sunk in as Paul realised that he had fallen prey to one of the most pointless, cruelest, and complex pranks on the internet.

The tutorial website that Paul had been using for the passed six months had been set up anonymously by what most forums called ‘An evil genius.’ Everything being taught of the website was complete nonsense. The website’s platforms were designed to make any user think that they were learning useful coding, producing the same successful results no matter what code had been inputted into the testing platforms to match the lesson being taught.


Paul had so many thoughts, he didn’t know what to think and how to react. He was at a loss for thoughts and was completely gutted.

An alarm went off as it did every day at 16:00.

Paul sighed and his heart dropped again. He had been looking forward to starting this shift with thoughts of excitement and knowledge that he could soon quit his bar job.

Back to square one.

Each beep of the alarm was like a punch to the soul.

Back to the bar.

Determination had turned to acceptance of defeat. Paul switched off the alarm.

Back to my life