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Tom Ouellette

Surfing the Web
By Tom Ouellette
Jan 29, 2004 - 3:38:00 PM

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Surfing the Web enables us lucky modern folks to gain access to unlimited amounts of information which we can use to great advantage in our daily lives (namely, how to get treatment for acute tendonitis brought on by endless pointing and clicking).

Of course, web-surfing is still much safer than real surfing, which involves paddling into the ocean over ravenous sharks on a flimsy fiberglass board that is specially designed to fool the sharks into thinking you’re a wounded baby seal. Of course, you purchased your surfboard at the ‘Extreme Surf & Outpatient Surgery Shop’, conveniently located right on the beach and whose slogan is ‘No Extremities? No Problem! Free Prosthetics W/Purchase of Wounded Baby Seal Board!’ If you’re fortunate enough to ‘catch a wave’ you then have the pleasure of being hurled toward the beach at speeds approaching Mach 1, where you are gently deposited face first onto the sand. There the sound of the rolling surf soothes you as you pry your toes, which are frozen in a vise-like death grip, off of the board. Your adventure continues as you return to your spot on the beach. You grapple with a dozen shrieking seagulls for the remnants of the sand (and likely salmonella)-laced tuna sandwich that you forgot to put back in the cooler.

This brings back fond memories of your childhood, when your mom would cut the crusts off your sandwiches and eat the middle herself, unless, of course, it was full of sand and salmonella.

Now we can see that the dangers of web surfing, such as repetitive-motion injuries, are not as great as the dangers of real surfing, such as being mistaken for a large tuna sandwich crust by a crazed flock of sand (and likely salmonella)-laced seagulls. Also, it’s much safer to be ON the web than IN it. If you’re stuck in a giant web with a giant hairy spider coming your way, I’ll bet you’re thinking ‘Boy, would I like a nice dose of salmonella just about now.’

Anyway, myriad amounts of information can be garnered from the web just by using your search engine and looking at the number of ‘hits’ that were found for your search. By the way, ‘myriad’ comes from the Greek myrios, and is often used interchangeably as a noun or an adjective, which drives English teachers nuts, which is a good reason to use it.

  • NOUN: ‘There’s a myriad of salmonella bacteria in these tuna sandwiches we forgot to put back in the cooler.’
  • ADJECTIVE: ‘ There are myriad dead seagulls on our beach blanket.’

Here are some interesting search results based on the number of ‘hits’, and the conclusions we can draw from them.

  • Isaac Newton: 4,500,000
  • Wayne Newton: 392,000

(Obviously, more than ten times as many people would rather suffer severe head trauma from a falling apple than hear a sixty year old man sing ‘Danke Schon’)

  • Lawyer: 4,500,000
  • Shark: 1,620,000

(Only one-third will admit it! By the way, why won’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy! Ha!)

  • Seagulls: 124,000
  • Tuna Fish: 338,000
  • Salmonella: 376,000

(Sadly, approximately two out of three bacteria infested beach sandwiches are not consumed by seagulls)

Highest number of ‘hits’:

  • Sex: 75,600,000
  • Money: 48,800,000
  • Food: 40,100,000

(Sad, isn’t it? But don’t worry. Drugs, Guns and Alcohol scored high, too!)

Low, but still a surprising number of ‘hits’:

  • Flesh-eating bacteria: 20,800
  • Pinworms: 16,700
  • Dwarf Tossing: 8670

(Not totally unexpected, but disturbingly high numbers for these rather unpleasant subjects, wouldn’t you say?)

See? There’s a veritable plethora of completely useless knowledge just sitting out there waiting to be ignored.

(Plethora-from the Greek plethora, meaning ‘another really cool Greek word that I learned from Mr. Spock’.)

Hey, let’s try something. Hang on.

Ok, I’m back. Check this out.

  • Plethora: 347,000
  • Myriad: 919,000

(From this we can deduce that there are myriad ‘ plethora’s and a veritable plethora of ‘myriad’s. Neat, huh?)

Even little used, outdated words can’t elude your search. How ‘bout these?

  • Nincompoop: 8080
  • Blunderbuss: 15,900
  • Smithereens: 54,500

(This particular set of words fits nicely in one sentence; "Hopefully, if we give that nincompoop a blunderbuss he’ll blow himself to smithereens")

You can research politics:

  • Bill Clinton: 1,700,000
  • Cigars: 550,000

(There’s only one third of a cigar for each Bill Clinton, which would explain why he offered one to Monica but not to Paula or Jennifer)

Study to be a food critic:

  • Tripe: 76,100
  • Blood Sausage: 70,700
  • Potted Meat Product: 4270

(Even people who are willing to consume the digestive tracts and bodily fluids of dead animals have SOME standards)

So now you can see how, with only a slightly increased risk of permanent inflammation in your wrist (and a measurable loss of some higher brain functions) you can drive away most of your friends and family by incessantly spouting reams of irrelevant search data and the completely erroneous conclusions you arrive at.

Or, you can just go down to the beach and throw tuna sandwiches to the sharks.

(Oh, and by the way, a few desperate sharks have eaten lawyers. They taste just like prosthetics)

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