Thursday, December 20, 2012
I was deceived, but I'm not mad. I honestly thought Google was being really nice this holiday season. The search page reminds us this morning, with some kind of board game, I figured, to share family togetherness: "Invite the whole family to hang out." See it? Isn't that sweet?
Just so happens we were thinking of board games recently, readying ourselves for a first in our family--a long weekend at a yet-to-be-seen cabin, somewhere in the hills in Arkansas, to celebrate our 40th anniversary, which occurred in late June, in memorable mid-summer sweat created by moving our treasured possessions (and a couple tons of other stuff) to this new old house.
You can't just not celebrate 40 years, so my wife and daughter got us a "vacation rental by owner" place in the hills far away. Soon enough we'll be there, and we'd just been talking about board games--which to take along? could we play Rook? will the kids like charades?--and Google Search opens up this morning with a board game and a thoughtful reminder to "invite the whole family to hang out." Very sweet, thought I. There's grace in this here machine.
I'm vastly less paranoid than some, but there are times when I wonder about Google, about this whole internet business, and who knows what about me? and how are they using what they know? and whether I'm happy that huge corporations keep electronic files on what kind of coffee I drink and how big my feet are. You know?
For instance, a couple days ago Huff Post kept showing me this.
And I don't mean Gabby Douglas. Honestly, I went to Ms. Gabby because now that Tom Tebow is on the bench she's become the latest saint jock and I wanted to read her testimony. And there, just off the sawdust trail, stands some doll peekabooing through the perfectly unkempt blonde locks spilling over her naked shoulders while selling a pair of perfectly opulent breasts. You know.
What's more, I can't get rid of her. Honestly. She's not just there with Gabby, she's all over--fiscal cliff, Hillary Clinton, and whatever silliness Fox and Friends were up to yesterday. Wherever I go on Huff Post, she's ALWAYS THERE.
Let's just say I went for it. Let's just say I dropped everything, went to Victoria's Secret website and picked up a bra like that, then wrapped it in pink and slipped it under the tree. No, let's not.
The thing is, I'm old but not dead. She--not Gabby--was a distraction. Wherever I looked there were boobs, for pete's sake. I couldn't get away from her. Click Religion, Sports, Weird News, Politics, Front Page. . .and there she was/is. It's a Hitchcock almost, a horror movie.
And I kept hearing Jimmy Carter--you know, "he who looks on woman, etc., etc." What's more, I'm wondering what blasted demographic I'm in that pitches me this ad so robustly, you might say. Just "male"? How about old fart Male? How about old fart Male with woebegone fantasies? How about Male who occasionally clicks on "wardrobe malfunctions." Sheesh. Who am I anyway that I'm blessed with this chick?
I can't get away from her, so I switch computers. Fire up the laptop. Click the desktop's seductions off forever, and switch desks and chairs and computers. Laptop fires up, I go to Huff Post, find the religion page, and click on Ms. Gabby, who's there, ALONE. Miss Christmas Breasts has left the building.
Drives me nuts. What I now can't determine is why. I'm the same guy: the laptop is also my computer; my tastes, however sinful, don't change if I'm somewhere on the road. Who's the desktop me that gets blessed with Victoria unSecrets, and why is the laptop-me somehow immune?
Who knows? But somehow the reason has to be--so saith this Calvinist--my sin. Somehow, it's has to be my sin.
Woe and woe. I swear, she followed me everywhere on that computer. Far as the curse is found.
And then this morning, Google sweetly reminds me to "invite the whole family to hang out," and I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, even those marketing sleuths in Silicon Valley are capable of some righteousness. Common grace, you know.
Check it out. Then click on the line beneath. What you get is "invite the whole family to hang out" all right, but, Google's saying, on-line. And the board game isn't a board game at all--it's a sort of silent movie of the "Red Riding Hood" that has little to do with family togetherness other than the fact that the girl and her grandma emerge from the wolf's distended belly very much alive, thank goodness. Maybe they exchange presents.
Alas, this world is not my home. And no, there'll be no pink bra beneath the tree; but we'll bring along a raft of board games to the hills of Arkansas, where we'll be safe.
Except, I'm told, the place is wired.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:21 AM