Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dumb it down, please!

I’m sick of learning things. I’m tired of knowing what’s living between the creases of my mattress (bedbugs) and in the inner recesses of my down pillow (mites). I don’t want to know what the five most dangerous skin moles look like, how to determine if my car’s idling might be telling me something, or which sexual positions burn the most calories (well, maybe this last one is important).

I’m just so tired of the diarrheal stream of extraneous information coming at me with every click, by way of internet articles on a freakishly wide range of topics. From “How-To’s” to “Top Ten” lists, I’m over it.

Oh how I long for the days, circa 1975, when advice came along once in a blue moon, and boy could a person see it coming. In fact, everything I really need to know I learned in the seventies, and it was all summed up with this:

“Eat right, get plenty of rest, and take Geritol every day!”

I honestly don’t know what Geritol is, so I have replaced that with “wine.” I also exercise. That helps me to burn more calories than I take in, another important piece of advice discovered before the Internet “How To” article spawned the Age of Enlightenment Part Deux. I know better than to beat my children, and I refrain from using a blow dryer in the bathtub. All valuable bits of information, and all learned without the use of the Internet. In fact, all learned before the advent of the Internet.

What if people incorporated all the globs of unnecessary web data they’re exposed to into their daily routines – routines that have existed for centuries, without the benefit of knowing exactly how things might turn out. Even better, what if people started getting all the crazy amounts of info out there all mixed up, and turned into paranoid, confused little creatures who can’t keep it all straight? For example, what if I said this to my ten year old daughter:

“Turn off the TV, go outside, and get some vitamin D.”


“The sun is a natural source of Vitamin D and 47% of American children do not get enough vitamin D in their diet. The popularity of advanced sunscreens is not helping either. Plus, you’re absorbing gamma rays and probably lead from the TV screen. Is that a melanoma on your earlobe?”

“Whatever, Mom. I’m going outside to ride my scooter.”

“That’s what I said! Go outside and play!”

Wait a second. That’s not what I said. What I said made no sense to her, and exhausted me. What I said (in my imaginary conversation, because I swear I don’t do this) was complete garbage. I told her to go and do something constructive. For ten year olds, that’s garbage. It ruins the journey. I have to admit, I can’t keep everything straight – all that information that jumps off Yahoo! homepage headlines is hard to keep track of! Just last week I mixed up “Five Steps to a Better Complexion” with “How to Find the Male G-Spot” and had a real situation on my hands. Not to mention the fact that I’m pretty sure a little bit of “10 Turkey Recipes You Can’t Live Without” may have slid its way into the mix.

Trust me when I say, it’s all I can do to drop the right kids off at the right schools each day and return home to the right house. On top of that, I have to plug back into the right computer. Now let’s see…was I working on that document on the upstairs PC, the downstairs laptop, or my new vacuum cleaner-word processor hybrid that allows me to work while I’m working?

It’s a lot of pressure, knowing everything. Some people really get off on it. They find out all possible options and explanations and consequences for any and all choices. Then, and only then, do they proceed with caution. I’m a curious person by nature, but I am at the saturation point for stuff I really do not need to know.

Why are we all so afraid to misstep?

Here’s why: We’re being told how dangerous it is to make one false move, whether we’re having our bra sized, buying produce, or making a birthing plan. (Don’t even get me started on the number of birthing options today. My plan was, and still is, until the last little creature is off to college, “Get the hell out!”) Anyway, it’s a simple case of TMI. I understand that articles attract eyeballs, and eyeballs have fingers attached to them that click and buy. I know it’s all about the bottom line. Big sigh.

All I really want to know on any given morning is who likes me enough to have sent me an email. I promise. I just want to know if my best girlfriend has something funny to say. If there’s more I need to know, I’ll Google it.