Janet Sheridan: Just Google it
October 2, 2018
At 8, I thought I couldn't live without bubblegum. Aqua Net Hair Spray helped me survive my hair-baffled teens, and pantyhose was as indispensable to me in my 20s as Post-It notes were in my 30s. Then, in my 40s, I discovered two life-long items of necessity in the Internet and a personal computer. Lately, my favorite tool is Google, which saves my sanity on a daily basis.
Recently, waking up, I couldn't remember if wishes were horses or if wishes were fishes and knowing seemed to matter. So I consulted my friend Google and quickly discovered if wishes were horses, all beggars would ride and if wishes were fishes, we'd either swim in riches or have a fish fry. Then, my brain eased; I could tell Joel good morning and proceed with my day.
Later, I asked Google for a recipe that called for the buttermilk and broccoli wasting away in my fridge. Instantly, more recipes than I cared to read appeared, so I chose the first: creamy buttermilk and roasted broccoli soup. That evening, thinking about my unexplainable love of professional wrestling in junior high, I searched for the wrestlers I used to watch and found a photograph of Gorgeous George and his long blonde curls approaching the ring in a resplendent robe, while his valet spread rose petals before him. Then, horrified by my youthful self, I went to bed.
While online recently, I stumbled across a treasure trove: various lists of questions frequently googled by curious folks who could be our friends, neighbors, relatives, and colleagues. Or, the strangers standing in line with us at the supermarket.
The oblivious wondered what Twitter, twerking, and gluten were; the philosophical pondered how old the Earth is, where dreams come from, what causes loneliness, and why men have nipples. The practical asked how to make pancakes; the forgetful wondered if they missed Mother's Day, and the confused needed to know where they are right now. The lazy sought information they should figure out for themselves: How do I solve a Rubik's cube? What should I do when I'm bored? How do you kiss?
One list gave the top 10 questions asked in 2011. Number one: What is love? Number two: What is planking? And number 10: What is Google?
Recommended Stories For You
My favorite discovery was a map showing the most commonly asked "why" question in each state in 2017. Montanans wondered why dogs eat grass, and Missourians wanted to know why tomatoes split. Californians asked why flies like poop; and the good people of New York requested information on why feet smell bad. The leading question, asked by the obviously distressed citizenry of Michigan, was "Why do I have diarrhea?" And, the most frequent question in Colorado: Why do my boobs hurt?
The good people of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont asked why leaves change color. I can explain this question's popularity. Folks in those states don't want to dampen tourist trade by emitting strangled screams when travelers wearing boots, plaid, and binoculars ask, "Say, can you tell me why leaves change color?" over and over until the last leaf has fallen. So, they need a quick, believable answer — which they find on Google.
I can also answer the most common question in Texas. Q: Why do my ears ring? A: Because your cowboy hat is too tight.
After reading the lists of googled questions, I emerged with a favorite: What state is Washington DC in? Oh, dear children, you should have asked me. Depending on the pundits you favor, Washington DC is in a state of chaos, finger pointing and ineptitude or of economic growth, improved security and renewed greatness.
And I'll bet Google didn't tell you that.
Sheridan's book, "A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns," is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at auntbeulah.com the first and 15th of every month.