It started with a sandwich dropped into the Large Hadron Collider by a passive-aggressive pigeon in the waning autumnal days of 2009.

In retrospect, the effects should have been obvious almost immediately. Snoop Dogg trying to collaborate with Susan Boyle in January of the following year was as great a red flag as any that has ever been waved. But alas, no. Nobody noticed. They were too busy lining up for this shiny new thing they called the iPad.

When NASA discovered a previously unknown form of life at the end of that same year in California’s Mono Lake that used arsenic to make its DNA, turning science pretty much on its head, that should have been the next clue. But alas, World of Warcraft released their Cataclysm update which raised the maximum player level to 85 and people were understandably distracted.

When 2011 arrived, and people were shot, and riots began, and wars erupted in at least half a dozen countries, and a tsunami swept through Japan, destroying a nuclear power plant like a Godzilla plot become manifest; everyone everywhere knew that something was a little off, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on what. They mistook alarm bells for wedding bells and were distracted by Kate and Wills getting hitched. All except Weird Al. Weird Al knew. Weird Al released an album called Apocalypse, but nobody bought it.

And on and on it went, mass shootings followed by Warcraft updates, followed by meteors over Russia like some Sim City addendum and the Pope packing it all in and saying basically, sod this, I’m out of here.

And then. August 25, 2013. The hollow nature of mankind’s soul was finally laid bare for all to see. Miley Cyrus released Wrecking Ball.

Could there have been a greater warning from the beyond than that? I think not.

And yet…

2014 arrived. The Elder Scrolls launched online a few months later, Nikesh Shukla sent a tandoori lamb chop into space strapped to a GoPro, Christian Poincheval invented a pill that makes farts smell like chocolate, and there was a national Velveeta cheese shortage. 2015 arrived and a woman with three tits made a music video.

People. Were. Distracted.

So distracted that seven years, almost to the day, that a pigeon dropped a sandwich into a particle accelerator in Europe, a pouting reality TV star with a dead ferret on his head was elected president of the United States, nominating among others, an Education Secretary who announced that the biggest threat to the US education system was an attack by grizzly bears.

And then the proverbial penny dropped.

For that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we found out that we were living inside a simulation, our lives turning on the whim of a scientist who sits there even now, eating a sandwich, under the surreptitious gaze of a malignant pigeon.