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 Then, the next year, these encyclopedias would be out of date and completely useless.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.
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…