Monday, May 12, 2008
Life before Google
In an earlier post, I wrote that I was basically a 20th century person. I do not have a cellphone. Nor do I have cable television or a satellite dish. What television I do watch is dictated by the oldest of TV accessories - rabbit ears! This means I get CBS (sometimes quite well) and PBS (mostly poorly).
But I am a computer junkie. I can't really remember what life was like without it. How did I survive without e-mail? And more importantly, as a information freak, how did I survive without Google?!
I own all sorts of dictionaries. At one point I owned about a half dozen different translations of the bible (even though I'm not religious). I needed as many reference books as I could afford. I would buy the world almanac every year. I hankered for an at-home encyclopedia when I was a child, but my father encouraged me to go to the library instead.
Are all families like mine was? We were always searching for the spelling of an obscure word or the name of some forgotten item, place, movie, obscure book. . .Sometimes it would be years before the answer was discovered.
I don't know if Bugles are on the market now, but I will never forget them. They were off the market for a time and during that interval, my mother and aunt were trying to remember the name of this snack they had liked so much. No one could remember its name. The weekend visit was over and still everyone was mumbling to themselves, "What was the name of that cone shaped snack?!" (eh - it was probably a thought more like - "snack - huh - cone? shut up - I'm sick of thinking about this!")
This thought, that no one could remember the name of a beloved snack food, seemed to continue for some time. My mother would ask me, "Have you remembered the name of that snack yet?" Nope, I didn't. Just because I was a kid it didn't mean my memory for such ephemera was all that much better. I rather resented having to use my brain power on such a silly topic!
One day, my mother said out loud, out of nowhere: "BUGLES!" I think I had forgotten all about it by then, and thought it was just another manifestation of her chronic verbiage. She would sing (though she couldn't), repeat words (such as the famous lovely phrase "cellar door", over and over again). But no, this time is was the sudden remembering of Bugles. And so, she called her sister a few moments later with the good news - that snack was Bugles!
Now, if we had had Google at the time, months of useless mind wracking would have been dispensed with quickly.
Google allows me to enjoy my desire to know everything I can know about something trivial. I sometimes wonder how much trivia I need. I have wondered how I'd do on Jeopardy. My goodness, they seem also to have dumbed down the answers! Or perhaps I know more. I should Google that.
Note: I found a picture of the original 1965 box of Bugles in less than five minutes (including downloading and uploading time) here.
I was surprised to find that there is a Bugles entry on Wikipedia. Why should this surprise me? Nowadays, everyone wants to know everything about everything (unless you include hard knowledge or knowledge that might make you an informed citizen of the planet).
Addendum: Don't you think there's something rather amateurish about the Bugles package? It looks like some junior high school kid designed it as a school project.