Monday, September 21, 2009

Does Anyone Know, Is it Love??

I was on the internet the other day: I wanted to know what a particular error message meant that I kept receiving. Like many of you, I’m sure, my Internet Explorer is automatically set to offer up a selection of choices for the completion of any sentence/question that I start typing. This could be very useful but typically I just ignore them. I don’t know why I have never really paid attention to the choices that come up before but for some reason, on this day I did. I soon forgot about the error message and instead spent the next 30 minutes entering the beginning few words of random questions.

The lists of questions that have obviously topped Google’s search engines was so revealing, ridiculous, hilarious, and heartbreaking all at once I could hardly believe it.

Take your basic ‘why, what, where, who and when’ questions. I started with ‘What is the’. At the top of the list of suggestions was ‘What is the date today?’ which returned 342 000 000 results. I didn’t really know what to make of this. How could so many people be confused about the date. I mean, come on. I periodically am unsure but if I think about it for a few seconds, I can usually work it out: yesterday was the 3rd so…it must be the…4th. The next question was even more bizarre. This time I started with ‘what’ and ‘what time is it’ popped up. Ummm aren’t you already on your computer cuz you could just take a look in the bottom right corner of your screen... And how is this going to help anyway – asking the computer what time it is. What time is it where?  I know all about the High School Musical number, but I’m not sure that can account for the 658 000 000 results that are available for your perusal.

Next I tried ‘what should’. Up popped ‘what should I do with my life’ & ‘what should I do today’. How about not this! And plain old ‘what should I do’. This was starting to get me down. I envisioned someone desperate for some inspiration and no one to turn to but Google. Hey, Google, what should I do with my life? Granted, Google does have a lot more to say on the matter than pretty much anyone else. 289 000 000 results to be specific. There has to be some sort of meaningful suggestions in there somewhere. Maybe something like: ‘Figure out a way for people to learn the date and time easily’.

I decided to move on to ‘who’. Not surprisingly, ‘who will I marry?’ topped the list. Like Google will help you find out who you will marry. I typed in ‘will I get’ just for fun. Yep - ‘will I get married’ was right at the top but ‘will I get the job’ had the most returns. 513 000 000 to be precise. OK wait a minute. How on God’s Green Earth is Google going to tell you if you got the job or not. Buddy. You may as well ask the fork you ate dinner with. Or perhaps the bathmat. It might know. Hey, bathmat, will I get the job?  Pardon me? I didn’t hear you, you’re a bit muffled...’

I was really starting to wonder about the state of humanity. This was getting downright depressing. We have these burning questions and who do we ask? Google. How did we answer these questions before we had Google? I guess either we didn't ask anyone and let them smoulder in our minds until they caught fire and we had to ask someone, or they just quietly burnt themselves out and we spent the rest of our days in some kind of unrequited state.

Anyway. I did spend a bit more time with the word ‘why’. This was where it started to get funny. I actually laughed out loud at the top ‘why did’ question. ‘Why did Michael Jackson turn white?’ Why indeed? 1.4 billion potential references to this most important of questions awaits your attentions. Next on the list was ‘why did Michael Jackson have plastic surgery’. I don’t know. Maybe because he turned white? He didn’t like his nose? WHO CARES. Didn't it fall off anyway? I love Billie Jean as much as the next person but I can’t think why so many people want to know why Michael Jackson wanted to alter his appearance. It’s just a weird question, people. Don’t ask such weird questions. You’re freaking me out.

I started to wonder what parenting questions might be out there. I typed in ‘Why do…’ but only got that far as I was instantly distracted by ‘Why do men have nipples’. Well. It’s so they can rub them when they are lonely. Isn’t it?  Obviously. God. No, actually it’s because they would look weird without them. PEOPLE. Next you will want to know why we have elbows. I wanted to type ‘why do my children…’ but only made it to ‘why do my chi…’ at which point the diverting question ‘why do my chickens have diarrhoea?’ appeared. I kid you not. Go ahead try it yourself. This is a question to which I have no answer and probably a good example of a time that Google may actually be able to help.

Oh, and perhaps you are wondering ‘Is it normal to shave pubic hair?’ or how about ‘Is it down?’ Is what down? The bridge? The stock market? Your brain?  Who exactly is going to answer this vaguest of questions anyway? And it’s OK, go ahead and ask ‘when will the sun burn out’ because you and 32 000 000 other people would like to know. And I know you are also really wondering ‘which transformer am I'?’ and also ‘which celebrity do I look like?’ Don’t be shy with your questions, now! How about ‘which is one place penguins do not live?’ or ‘when would it be appropriate for a teacher to sit on the floor?’ Probably when they have been asked some of these questions.

Next I started with ‘Is it…’ Interestingly, the top question was ‘is it love’.

Well, is it? Let me know.

Then I got to ‘Is it me?’ and I felt kind of sad. Especially as this question has 5.87 billion results. I pictured someone in the dark, face lit by the glow of a blue screen, typing in the lonely words ‘Is it me?’ What were they expecting as an answer? Imagine if ‘No’ came up. Then what would you do. Ask again? I think you are asking for trouble if you ask that question of a computer. It’s like asking ‘why is eggs?’ or ‘how will boots?’ Just try and answer that, Google.

So here’s my suggestion. Next time you need to know something that could be classified as ‘deep’, ask your mum instead. Or maybe your best friend. Or your kid. Or even the guy at the Laundromat. It may be more fulfilling. Or you could ask me. I’d be happy to ponder the question with you over a cup of tea.

Thanks for reading-



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