December 4, 2013
Vol: 20 No: 49

Dr. Wes

Internet bookmarks aren’t books or marks. But if you save enough of them, they begin to tell a story

by: Dr. Wes Browning

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The Internet tells me almost everything I know. Years ago, I learned that cats can haz cheezburgers. Earlier this week, the takeaway was that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be the next Republican presidential candidate. Last night I learned that a comet died in the sun, and it will snow in Seattle someday.

I’ve learned that pythons in India eat drunks who pass out next to liquor stores. This must have happened because there was an actual picture of a python so fattened by what obviously was a drunk in his stomach that he could not slither away from stunned and upset onlookers. He was probably very sorry and wished he could relive that moment in his life when he made the decision to begin swallowing said drunk.

I save bookmarks to all these bits of Internet information in bookmark folders of different kinds. There are personal items, just for me, which includes such things as descriptions of 44-clove garlic soup. There are less personal items, such as the snake item, which I save in the off chance that I meet someone who may want to know whether snakes eat drunks. Perhaps he/she is a drunk, or he/she knows a drunk who should avoid hungry serpents.

A less-used and often forgotten bookmark folder is one I call “work items,” which consists of news that may have something to do with work I get paid to do at Real Change (unlike this column, which is a labor of love). I try hard to forget that this folder exists or has ever been necessary. Finally, there is the folder for column items. These are bits of news I can talk about here, provided I clean it up and figure out some way to put it in context. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can’t. 

Like, take this one from back in September: “Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state.” That’s sounds promising doesn’t it? I could write a column around that, couldn’t I? I just would have to figure out why anyone around here would care about the king of Holland and whether the end of that welfare state should have anything to do with whether we’d start or end one here. How much does a king of Holland make? Do kings of Holland work at all? Or do they sit around and declare ends of things and then eat giant roasts and belch magnificently?

I couldn’t think of anything to say about it, so that one never got used, and I will be putting it in my “fuggedaboutit” folder.

Here’s another example: “Club brings competitive running to St. Paul’s homeless.” Oh, so promising. It has the word “homeless” in it. The article, about a program that encouraged homeless people to compete in marathons, had a quote from its founder, “Homelessness is a very depressing place to be. ... Running and any sort of exercise is one of the best things we can do for ourselves,” which could probably have been bent into some sort of uplifting message, I thought, as I bookmarked it. Then, later, I thought, Nah.

I have no idea what ever I could have been thinking when I bookmarked some of these. What could I possibly think I was going to have to say about “City Council plan would target Seattle leaf blower noise.” Ooh, there goes that city council again, doing something. What? Gosh darn those leaf blowers, snow plows, airplanes, kids get off my lawn. I had something in mind but it blew right out of my head.

I almost went with this one for today’s column: “Mormon bishop in homeless disguise teaches lesson.” It’s got everything. It says “homeless.” It happened because the Internet says so. It’s not just a minister disguising himself as homeless but a whole bishop, so it has extra impact.

But thankfully I ran out of space, so I didn’t have to figure out why we need bishops to pretend to be homeless people, when we already got plenty.

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