My Hour Without Internet

Internet Access

Internet Access (Photo credit: Alex_Pink)

I’ve heard legend of a time when all of the information that people were aware of were stored in things called “books.”

These books, called encyclopedias, were sold door to door by men who desperately hoped for a family to drop the hundreds of dollars it would take to have this information in their home. Once purchased, these families would be launched into a world of information, knowing everything there was to know. Then, the next year, these encyclopedias would be out of date and completely useless.

I am not from that generation. Since I was young, I have had access to the internet. I have been able to get to any information I wanted faster and faster throughout my life. Everything I needed to know, wanted to know, or didn’t really care to know was right there at my fingertips.

My generation has become so dependent on this that we can’t imagine going without this technology. How could we possibly go through life without knowing that the 1947 Boston Red Sox’s first baseman (Rudy York) was 1/8 Cherokee Indian or without viewing dozens of YouTube videos featuring adorable kittens?

As it turns out, it is quite difficult.

That was the situation I found myself in this evening. After a long day at work, I sat down to my computer. I was ready to launch into an evening of blissful web surfing. I opened the laptop and headed to my trusty Google Chrome browser, double clicking as I have hundreds of times before.

What came up was nothing.

I tried again. The browser sat on my computer screen, trying it’s best to get the information I needed, but to no avail.

Figuring that it needed the age-old technology fix-all, I did what any computer-savvy individual would do: yelled at the screen, asking why it hated me. Then I restarted the computer

Minutes later, I was feeling the effects. I had begun to go through information withdrawal. I waited with bated breath, thirsting for a good Wikipedia fix. The computer finished booting and I tried it again.

Nothing.

I’m not proud to say this, but I began to panic. Who knew what I could be missing? What if a celebrity had done something stupid? What if I had received an email? It was probably spam, but I would never know about it because my internet was dead.

My mind ran through all of the things I couldn’t do. My Netflix queue would sit, untouched. My Facebook messages would receive no witty retorts. I would never be able to see the pictures of food that Neil Patrick Harris was tweeting.

I had drifted into the dark ages. I had so many things I had never gotten to do on the internet and now it was all gone, forever.

Maybe I could be like my grandma. She has no need for the internet. Heck, she can’t even save a number on her cell phone. And she’s happy that way. Maybe I, like her, would be happier with one less thing in life to distract me.

This would be the perfect chance to master the guitar and write that novel I’ve always wanted to write. I might take up building model airplanes. I would have so much free time, there’s no telling what all I would be able to get done.

Of course, all of these tasks would be a lot easier with the internet.

I sat to work, trying to fix this problem. I would not be without my world-wide web. No, this was a problem that must be taken care of immediately.

With the care and precision of a surgeon, I navigated my trusty PC. My mouse flew through the files, clicking ever so faultlessly on the icons in front of me. The internet connection was good. The computer showed no signs of trouble.

Finally, after minutes of work, virtually eons to my generation, I had done. My internet came to life. I found all of the things I had missed (“@nathanbeckrules checked in at Homer’s Coffeehouse”) and could, once again, rest easy knowing I would know everything that happened the second it occurred.

Some day, the internet I have will go the way of those encyclopedias, replaced by a faster and more efficient means of information. Maybe someone will send everything we need to know directly to our brains via lasers.

Hmmm… maybe I should buy stock in a laser company. That sounds like it could really pay off…

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15 thoughts on “My Hour Without Internet

  1. Imagine that the first half of my life, there were NO COMPUTERS (at least not the home variety), let alone the internet. How I ever survived, grew up, endured puberty, I do not know. Even more interesting, when the internet finally came around, how did I manage to adapt to this brand-spanking new medium at my then already advanced age? Only to develop the withdrawal symptoms that you describe above. The world is a strange place…

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  2. Hahahaha, I come from the encyclopedia era and went through the transition into the Internet era. True, everything is a lot easier and faster thanks to this new technology. I remember the time I got locked in inside a library while studying and doing research for a paper. Hours went by while I was totally absorbed into piles of spread out books and encyclopedias on my table. I think the librarian was so touched by the geeky sighting, that she decided to leave me there until the next day. I had to open a window to escape, later that night… Something that romantic might sound like a fairy tale these days…

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  3. Okay, I’m not old, but I’m old, you know? There was no internet until I was in college. At least, not the widely-available internet. All of my reports and papers through high school were generated from my parents’ full set of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias, and when I was in college the information came from research journals in the actual library, and microfiche. I bet you have never seen a microfiche machine. And you’re maybe… ten years younger than me? Now where are my teeth?

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    • I was actually just talking about microfiche machines at work the other day. In elementary school, they made us learn to use them. I don’t know if they thought that this medium would last forever, but we had to use the library’s microfiche to research papers. I felt very old, though, because then I had to explain what microfiche was. Apparently, I’m from the only class of my generation that had to learn to use these.

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  4. It kind of scares me how much I rely on the internet. I spend way too much time here and not enough time doing other creative things. Balance is what I need. Sometimes I think someone needs to pull the plug for me and force me off!

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  5. I assume I’m younger than you because I don’t go to work yet. I still have encyclopedias at home and, yes, I still use them. During very rare bored occasions but still… One advantage of using encyclopedias: you have no distractions available at one click so you can finish whatever research you need quicker. And it can make you seem WAY smarter than you really are, no matter how smart you truy are. Another advanatage is that you won’t have much of the same answer as everyone else. They’d be relying on Google alone. Maybe those big heavy and old books aren’t so useless after all.

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  6. Haha…funny post 😀 However, I have felt lost at times without Internet, especially since many things today can only be done on the Internet, like finding jobs abroad and even only being able to apply for some jobs through electronic application as many entities have done away with the paper application process, even in the U.S.

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  7. Pingback: How Wikipedia Destroyed Encyclopedia Britannica « The Life and Times of Nathan Badley…

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