Google it

Saturday, December 12, 2015

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Be govern’d by your knowledge,

And proceed

I’ the sway of your own will.

— Shakespeare, King Lear IV, 7

At first it started with comic books that my brother would bring home, then I broadened my scope to perusing the pages of my parents’ encyclopedias from Abacus to Zoetrope. "Knowing that I loved my books, he furnished me from mine own library, with volumes that I prize above my dukedom," said Shakespeare.

Oh yes, that set of Colliers Encyclopedias was not only my source of all things scientific and artistic, but also served as my escape from the real world. But reading so much at an early age also had its drawbacks, for armed with so much information in my brain sort of made me a know-it-all among my peers. "Here comes Anthony again… Mr Know-It-All. He says that the Sun is bigger than the Earth… hahahahaha."

Very few seven-year-olds knew how the solar system was structured; or that white light, when passed through a prism, comes out the other end as different colours. Now you’re going to ask, "What’s a prism?" Google it.

All that was before Google. Now we haven’t got to pore over pages of books…. yes, pore, and not pour… or engage volumes of encyclopedias to know stuff. Now all we have to do is Google it.

We’ll find out how to Google it right after these responses to ‘Walkabout’.

Hi Tony,

We truly live in an island that offers so much. Who would have thought that there are places that are still so remote and enchanting right here in our back yard! I have never heard of Fish Dunn Falls, but I commend you and your group of adventure seekers for sharing the experience with us. We often look to other countries to seek adventure, but a walkabout right here can prove to be even more exciting.


Hey Tony,

You ask the question, ‘Are you up to it?’ For me, the short answer is NO. From your description, the trek was gruelling and taxing through uncharted rainforests, with tracks so high, steep and narrow, and I imagine uphill. In my youth, I may have taken up the challenge, but today in my ‘old age’ and [with] bad knees, it is definitely out of the question. Thank you for sharing the experience, my brother.


Years ago when I first got my BlackBerry phone, I loaded the Google Maps feature on it and had such fun locating places all over the world and right here in Jamaica too. After a while, when the novelty wore off, I deleted it from my system as it took up too much space from the memory, plus it also drained the battery too quickly. That was my first experience with Google, and I was fascinated.

Now Google is as commonplace as A-B-C and is used by all and sundry. Information is just a click away and no one has any excuse not to know anything anymore. "If you want to find the answer, just Google it, man… Google it."

It was once said that a little learning is a dangerous thing, but too much knowledge can also have a deleterious effect on people who can’t handle it, especially if their brains can’t process the information in a logical way and they simply accept what’s placed before them. Even in the Bible there is the question, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" And that was long before Google even existed. Now Google has almost replaced the Almighty.

But Google does help to make our lives easier in many ways. My good bredrin gave me this story of how he surprised his girlfriend who lives in Florida with an unplanned visit, all with the help of Google. It was his first time visiting the USA and he was not familiar with the territory, so he turned to Google for directions to her address, hopped on a flight and landed in Miami.

While there he ‘Googled’ her favourite restaurant, went there and waited until she showed up as he knew that she always dined there on a Friday night. What a surprise when she walked in and saw him, but frankly folks, what a chance he took. I said to him, "Dude, what if she had walked in with another guy and not her girlfriends?" But Google makes people take risks, all because they’re armed with a little knowledge.

Apart from that, Google is the new fix it, repairer and builder around the house. Many of my colleagues, when stumped while effecting repairs, simply turn to Google, and voila, they know exactly what to do. "How do I fix that leak in the toilet bowl?"

"Simple, just ‘Google’ it."

Sure enough, Google will supply you with a thousand different ways to fix that leak, along with information about the history of the toilet bowl, the inventor, how many types of bowls exist and where they are located. It’s up to you to sift through the tons of information needed to fix that leak. Remember what I said about system overload.

No longer do people go to libraries to do research, instead, they just ‘Google’ it and it appears on their smart phones or laptop.

"What was the name of that great African warrior who defeated the British?" ‘Google’ it and, sure enough, you’ll see tons of information about Shaka Zulu.

Google also helps with interpersonal relationships, although the answers may not always be to the person’s liking. I know a man who ‘Googled’, "Why has my wife lost interest in sex?" He got so many answers his computer crashed, so he asked Dear Pastor instead. What Google won’t tell him is that his wife has another lover. But then again, maybe it will.

But remember what I said about too much knowledge being a dangerous thing. I recently came across some medical research where doctors were warning people not to self-diagnose themselves using Google. Every human being is different and that’s why the same symptoms in different people may not mean the same illness.

Google gives almost all of the possibilities so that people either are lulled into a false sense of security or freak out at the medical possibilities. Someone will have a headache for days, and instead of going to the doctor, they Google ‘headache’. What pops up is as frightening as reading Revelations in the Bible.

The cause of headaches range from lack of sleep, a blow to the head, hunger, blood clot on the brain, tumour, parasites in your head, stress, migraine, or a prelude to a brain aneurism. The possibilities are endless and scary, and Google lists them all.

This other guy was urinating frequently, so he ‘Googled’ to find out why. When he saw that the causes ranged from kidney problems, urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted disease, prostate problems, to simply drinking too much water at night, he swore that he was going to die. "Why you crying Blakka?"

"Google seh mi a go dead."

Some people even counter what the doctor says, for Google has all the answers. The doctor says that they have high blood pressure and type two diabetes. But what does the doctor know? "I ‘Googled’ it and the doctor talking foolishness. Mi not taking any medicine at all."

Oh yes, Google is the new source of diagnosis, and maybe pretty soon doctors will become obsolete. Now, if only Google could write prescriptions some people would be very happy.

Anything you want to know, just ‘Google’ it. "What is the average penis size?" "How often should I have sex?" "How many orgasms are normal?" "What is love and how can I find it?" All the answers are there. All you have to do is ‘Google’ it and get the information.

What Google cannot answer though, is the age-old Jamaican question, "Who tief Miss Mattie white fowl?"

More time.

Footnote: Something crossed my mind recently, the fact that major power cuts are so few and far between nowadays. I hope I’m not talking too soon or putting goat mouth on the grid in this festive season, but it’s a long time since I experienced a sustained power outage caused by load shedding.

Gone are the days of three-hour blackouts on a scheduled basis. Mrs Kelly Tomblin, CEO of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), deserves much credit, for she and her team have really brought some stability to the system, even while facing enormous challenges such as electricity theft.

I do recall someone from the JPS saying that the only country that tief light more than Jamaica is the Dominican Republic. Even the sophisticated anti-theft machines are laughed at and breached by our people. Maybe they should employ those people to build anti-theft machines for the JPS.

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