I have been told I’m not allowed to click on anything.
Ari, 21, has made it abundantly clear he is sick of bailing me out of my trigger finger; I may not look at these adorable cats, I may not see this amazing deal, and I most certainly may not wonder what Marcia Brady looks like after all these years.
The stupid thing is, I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to teach my sons the difference between a good source on the Internet and a bad one, and yet there I go down clickbait rabbit holes. Yes mom, if all the other kids jumped off a cliff, it appears I would go, too.
You’ve noticed your Internet pages and various feeds are locked in with algorithms that make them nearly impossible to ignore. You can put up ad blockers, but that is the modern equivalent of tearing the ads out of a newspaper before you read it; if those ads weren’t there, the paper wouldn’t be there …. oh wait. Never mind. Instead of ad blockers I subscribe to the major dailies and magazines that I read; I realize there are many people who believe if it flies through the air it should be free, but I am not one of them.
And so on other sites, I get helpful reminders that I need to buy more boots. The stupid thing? They keep suggesting boots and shoes I already bought. I guess they want to be super sure I’ll like them. The irritating thing? They show me the sale price. They suck the joy out of my new shoes. Instead of thinking I’m strutting around in 150-buck shoes that make me feel like a goddess, I am now scuffing around in $55 shoes. I hate you, Internet.
Of course, if I happened to buy them at the sale price, I believe I am strutting around in $150 shoes again.
Their advertising backfires sometimes. My sister and her husband both use the same computer, and every Christmas gift she was looking at for him kept popping up when he was on. Bad Internet, bad.
Ari asked me why there is a Visa card on my bedside table and I looked at him like he was nuts. Doesn’t he know how many shiny things go on sale late in the evening? When I complained to a friend that buying over the Internet is too easy, she helpfully suggested that I used her address in the autofill portion of the order form. We’re the same size; she likes my taste.
If you think about it, our computers know us more intimately than any human or journal. It’s terrifying that every mood or curiosity is captured, and the narrative we construct for others bears very little resemblance to who we actually are.
I’ve joked that my browser history is allowed to be as eye-popping and weird as it is because I’m a writer, but if you looked at it you wouldn’t know whether to get a shrink for me or a restraining order against me.
Murders have been solved through browser histories. And while thousands of marriages have blown apart over what’s in there, I think instead of a first date you should just take a boo at each other’s drop down menu.
Mine currently contains Martha Stewart, Innsbruck weather, Sommerfeld shotgun, how fast do airbags explode, Nine Inch Nails, Pokemon Go, Civil War, Bentley SUV, unicorn floaty toy, Yul Brynner, are forget-me-nots perennials, Lamborghini, hickory sticks, Hammer pants (I was proving something to the kids; don’t ask) and Jeep Wagoneer.
Thankfully it’s boot season soon.