Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ode to Google*

*that is not actually an Ode at all... I learned that using Google

I remember being in high school, working on a school project about my prospective career. My mom drove me to the huge Central Library in downtown Corpus Christi, and there I sat for hours. I searched the reference section for all pieces of information related to Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), commonly referred to as ESL in this day and age. I might have even looked through the microfiche. I had it in my head that I was going to get my degree, and then spend the rest of my days traveling the world teaching English (and I still may). But that research took forever. These days, if I want to get information about anything, I don't go to the library. I don't lug a stack of encyclopedias to the kitchen table and read up on the topic of interest. If I want information, I google.

What on earth did we do before google? I guess we asked our parents. Or we looked it up in the dictionary. Or maybe we just didn't know things. What's the zip code in downtown Chicago? What are the lyrics to Patty Griffin's song Be Careful? What's an Isetta? Who assassinated Bobby Kennedy? What is camu camu? Is there an Argentine restaurant in Dallas? There are actual things that I know the answer to because I googled them in the past 72 hours. But I am thrilled and amazed at the things that I can know because I can search them on the internet and have an answer within seconds.

Last weekend I went to dinner with some girlfriends, and I have no idea how the subject of baby names came up... oh wait, yes I do, but that's another conversation, another blog. But we were talking about horrible things that people name their children. The child that is named Absidee (spelled Abcde) and the famous twins Lemonjello and Orangejello. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who actually knew these twins. But in the midst of this conversation, I remembered that a judge in New Zealand actually made a child a ward of the court because her parents named her something idiotic. Like with most stories, I could not remember the details. And so, I googled it. Within seconds, I had the story of poor little New Zealander Tulula Does The Hula From Hawaii (her real, actual name) who was placed in the guardianship of the court until she was renamed. Apparently, she had sense enough to know that it was a ridiculous name, even though her parents clearly didn't. I also learned that the names Violence, Midnight Chardonnay, and Number 16 Bus Shelter had made the cut, while Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Twisty Poi, and Sex Fruit were turned down. Oh the things we can learn from google.

Through this blog, I have learned that people google funny things. In the "Stats" section, it tells me how many people are visiting my blog, where they were directed from, and things they may have googled to arrive at my blog. And it's kind of hilarious. Someone googled "white pantyhose" and found my blog. Also, "boyfriend makes big decisions without me". (If you are the one who googled that, please email me privately, and I will help you out with that one) The other day, I discovered that someone googled "i am hairy and fat. how can i make myself beautiful". I would like to know this person, and I would like to know this person and help her through this particular problem. (Again, feel free to email me privately about that issue... I can offer up some advice)

So this is my shout out to Google (the search engine and the verb, even though Google doesn't want us to use it as a verb).  Thank you for making us smarter.  And maybe lazier.  Thank you for giving us a world of information at our fingertips, and for not making me search through pages of irrelevant information before getting to what I actually need.  Thank you for being available on my iphone so I can have instant access to the definition of camu camu (which happens to be a small riverside tree from the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil).  I love you, Google.  Really, I do.  And for those of you too young to know what microfiche is, feel free to Google it.


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