I am a compulsive Googler. Google has been a savior to my perpetually inquisitive, journalistic, non-stop mind of mine. Whenever I’m mid-discussion and there is a fact of which I’m uncertain, (How old was Marilyn Monroe when she died? What day is the exact middle of the year?) I Google. Don’t we all?
Kids today take it for granted (allow me one paragraph to pontificate on this) the lengths we were forced to travel in the name of research. In the late 1980s early 1990s, I had to go through sleet and snow employing three modes of transportation to get to the New York Public Library to work on a 100-page biology report on the porpoise. Ninth graders in the same program today take out a small pocket-sized device and ask it for the answer.
I was coined the “Go to Google Gal” long before it was an app on my smartphone. I earned this title not just for my fast typing skills, but for my skill at crafting a detailed query, for my art at constructing a keyword-laden formula which elicits answers in an organized list. (OMG I feel a little like Donald Trump saying, “Only I can do it and I can do it quickly.”)
I remember the first time I met Google. It was 1998 and I was working for a startup Website from home and my boss showed me their exquisitely CLEAN front page. It was love at first site, a calming searching respite from the cluttered chaotic pages of Yahoo. Google was instantly easy; perhaps the only relationship I had no qualms about locking it in with immediately.
I’m a girl with questions and Google gives me answers. Google helps me navigate uncertainty. Google gives me an inside entry into the seemingly infinite virtual card catalog of the universe. They talk about people having dreams come true and sometimes I think Google is my dream come true. I wander through life questioning everything. How do you grow ginger? What is tachycardia? How do you fight panic attacks? How do you breathe from your belly? Best restaurants, best ice cream, best hotels, best beaches… Can you deduct your leased car from your taxes?
I come up with thousands of questions a day; my mind a never-ending student with a constant “I can do this” attitude. I won’t go as far as to Google how to perform brain surgery, but “how to remove a skin tag” is not outside my comfort level (duct tape). Most of my well versed medical knowledge has been compiled from reading and dissecting thousands of complex articles online. When my aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I watched seven hours of medical talks on chemotherapy on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Website.
My Google obsession goes beyond satiating a quest for knowledge. Learning about how everything works gives me a sense of (false) control. If I can understand it, everything is somehow easier to swallow – or at least function within. If I can be armed with information, I can trick myself into feeling safer. I know it’s ultimately bullshit; I know you cannot prepare for the unexpected. I also know I can arm myself with information to defend anything I want to search.
I am uncertain at this point if Google is like medicine I take for a headache or more like Tourettes edging on my OCD. Hold on, I’ll Google it.