My life in google

I often wonder how our parents managed without google. I mean, when you think about it, it’s just extraordinary. You can have an answer to any random question that comes to mind in a matter of seconds. At the risk of sounding like my Nan, I remember a time when you could spend a whole film agonising over where you’d seen that bit-part actor in scene 1 before.

“COME ON! He was in that thing we watched in 1999 – with that girl. You were eating gummy bears. Or maybe dolly mixtures. COME ON!”

If you were lucky, the answer came to you about 2 weeks later, otherwise you might never recover from the frustration. Nowadays, one quick click on IMDB will tell you who the actor is, where he went to school and what brand of washing up liquid he buys.

Step away from the screen
When Elysia was a newborn, my phone was surgically attached to my hand (who am I kidding? I still have palpitations if it’s out of my sight for 3 seconds…) Most google questions started with ‘is it normal…’

  • Is it normal for a baby to feed every 20 minutes?
  • Is it normal for a baby to cry for 6 hours without stopping?
  • Is it normal to want to dropkick your husband for bringing you the wrong flavour of hula hoops?

Is it normal to put a dress over a sleepsuit?!(In my defence it was Christmas!)

Or my personal favourite as a new Mum – ‘how do I?’

  • How do I express milk?
  • How do I survive on 45 seconds sleep?
  • How do I dress a baby without squashing its head?

I drove myself mad with my googling. Contradictory answers, peer pressure from smug Mums with babies that slept all night from day 1, reviews for rubbish baby products that no-one needs. While I’m grateful that there was always a back-lit screen to keep me company at 4am, looking back I was so caught up in finding the right answers that I missed the opportunity to relax a bit and just use my own judgement.

Answer me this…
Four years later, I think I have a healthier relationship with google. But I still ask a lot of strange questions. Here are the last 5 things I googled (genuinely!) and the story behind them:

Can you juice chili peppers?

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I’m really into juicing for health. I rarely use recipes anymore as I’ve developed a pretty good understanding of what works well together. Every morning we have an eye-watering ginger ‘shot’ which consists of juiced pineapple, lemon (with peel) and a huge claw of ginger. My brain wondered what other ingredients would have such an intense effect. Turns out that you can, indeed, juice chilis and not only that, thanks to an active ingredient called Capsaicin, it helps to speed up your metabolism and decrease your appetite. Probably not one to share with the children though…

How are tobacco stocks performing?

A totally bizarre question from a life-long anti-smoker. I was writing an article for a client about ethical investment strategies and needed to know how some of the ‘sin’ stocks were doing for a bit of balance.

Being a freelance writer, I get to know a little bit about a lot of subjects. Thanks to my last few assignments, I know how nursing homes are regulated, what the different shapes of conservatories are and how early you need to get up to run a veg box business. I’m a veritable fountain of random knowledge that I’ll probably never need again…

Can humans actually digest sweetcorn?

Blake eats a ridiculous amount of sweetcorn. I was wondering whether this was a pointless exercise as it seems to…ahem…reappear the next day. No more explanation needed. The answer appears to be that we can’t digest it very well but apparently that’s not a bad thing as we need insoluble fibre to feed good gut bacteria. I’ll add that to the random knowledge fountain.

Why does a wasp sting you?

My friend Jamie has a theory that a wasp won’t sting you unless you actually squash it a bit. I think that wasps are more sinister and will sting you for a laugh and to impress their hard wasp mates. Google says we’re both wrong and they will sting you if you annoy them or flap about near them not just because you squash them. Incidentally, I also found out that they can summon for back-up just by changing their wing beating pattern! So they’re basically a gang. I’m not taking any chances and will continue to run in the opposite direction when I see one.

Where was Harry Houdini born?

Harry Houdini Image
This week Mitchell managed to get himself on our local radio station. He called into the Radio Exe morning show to take part in their ‘cash dash’ where you have 30 seconds to answer 5 questions of increasing difficulty to win £1000. He got to question 5 where the Alan Partridge-esque host asked him, “Where was Harry Houdini born?” I mean, for goodness sake, does anyone actually know the answer to that?!! He ventured a random guess at ‘Cardiff’ but it turned out to be ‘Budapest’ (why, of course!!) I’d already spent the £1000 in my head. Stupid quiz. I googled the answer to check that we didn’t have some kind of legal come back. Still, we’ll remember the answer forever now so that should be totally useful…

Where would I be without google to answer all of this?
My fall back position would be to ask my Dad. But I can guarantee that his answers to the above would be:

  1. Forget it. Just eat chicken (despite the fact I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years, he hasn’t quite accepted it).
  2. I don’t know but I can give you a tip for the 3.30 at Aintree.
  3. You don’t get this problem with ice cream and Kit Kats.
  4. Do I look like David Attenborough?
  5. Ask your Mum.

With answers of this quality, it’s got to be 5-0 to google. So come on, what was the last thing you googled and why?


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