"If You Can't Google It, You're Not Here," by B. Elwin Sherman

I'm warning you in advance: you may not be ready for some of the following. 

I've spent a day researching this, and I'm now convinced, more than ever, that for all the beauty and grandeur found in the human animal, we are also the strangest & silliest creatures on the planet.

This column is dedicated to that person in the world who I today found posing the question in an internet search engine: “Where was I now that I'm here?

I take that as either a philosophical profundity worthy of a Descartes think tank, or the first question asked by the last barroom patron ejected at last call, when he discovers he's missing his car AND his pants.  Poto, ergo sum, dude.

It's possible, if you know where to look on the internet, to sit and watch a real time ticker of what people are trying to find out about themselves and their roles in the world. After spending the better part of a day reviewing this astonishing warehouse of cyber-wise why's and why-nots, I've selected ten favorites.

I've not changed a word of these queries, and I followed the links to their answers.  These are the real questions we're asking out there, dear dedicated readers, taken verbatim from the search terms posed.  Last warning:  leave now, or forever risk wondering why you ever wondered:

10.  “How far back does marijuana show up on oral drug tests?

No doubt this was a career-conscious college student majoring in biochemistry, researching immunoassay principles and trace detoxification applications.  I found that there are, in fact, makers of “saliva cleansing kits” guaranteeing a “99.95 percent success rate,” which allow the user to “go to that drug test feeling confident!”  Cost:  $49.95.

I'm encouraged that our young people are arming themselves with such scientific exactitude in their postsecondary pursuits.  But, my next search engine question would be: “If I find myself in the remaining .05 percent, will I get a refund?  I'll need it because I'll be earning a sub-minimum wage making license plates.”   

09.  “Where can I talk to a robot?

Apparently this person has never made a phone call to any public utility, credit card company or customer service department.

I'm more concerned, however, that they find themselves WANTING this service.  Somewhere, there is a spouse at the end of his/her marital tether.  A moment of silence, please.

08.  “Where can I buy a: 'I Would Set Myself On Fire For You' t-shirt?

Yes, and I'm reluctant to admit it, but there is an industrious marketing webmaster selling this item.  We can only hope that the plea did not come from the same cyber-searcher in question number 09.

07.  “How do I get free poems and roses for the asking?

I'm beginning to think I've stumbled on a search thread from the same desperate individual.  I want to write to this person and suggest that they might try writing poetry or growing roses, but I’m afraid they’d respond by asking me for a rhyming, rosy website address.

06.   “Where can I find obscene dancing banana emoticons?

Somewhere out there, perhaps standing next to you in the town hall today, this person is walking around unsupervised.  Try not to think about this.

And, if I told you that my research reveals a website where these can indeed be obtained, you might give up eating fruit.

05.  “Where can I learn German fast?

We may not want to know why this is an issue with this questioner, but there are several websites touting swift Teutonic savvy.  My favorite would have this eager Deutschlander wannabe “speaking fluent German easily and naturally in less than 8 weeks!”

I hope this searcher is cautious, however.  JFK may have gotten away with telling the worldthat he was a jelly doughnut (Ich bin ein Berliner!) but if this guy blurts that out, he may find himself needing to get out of Germany fast, especially if his shirt is on fire.

04.  “Like, how does a tree make carbon dioxide?

Like, I think we're back to the .05 percentile of those who failed the marijuana saliva test.

03.  “Which bicycle gets the best mileage?

I'll going out on a horse sense limb here and guessing that it's the one with a seat, foot pedals, wheels, and a manual transmission.

I confess that I didn't try to otherwise find an answer to this, because there may just be one, and I couldn't stand it.  

02.  “Can I wear sunscreen under eye makeup?

Questions like that, in my opinion, leave no doubt that Armageddon is upon us.

01.  “Where was I now that I'm here?

I need this person to write to me.  If you don't know where you've been, how can you be sure you're here at all?

Best of luck Googling the return trip.

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Syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman must be here, because he's been there before.  His column appears here and there with permission.  Copyright 2008 B. Elwin Sherman.  All rights reserved.
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