Sometimes in life it's important to count your blessings and express thankfulness for those little things that make life so wonderful. On Monday 11th October it was Canadian Thanksgiving and their American neighbours are due to follow suit on 25th November. I think it's quite healthy and positive to have a day where the entire country has to stop being so fecking ungrateful for a change and actually think about the good things we have going for us. We have no such day here in the UK (potential Facebook campaign? Oh wait, there are at least three already. Fair enough.) and so it is in this spirit that I have today decided to write about something that really matters to me. Something that has enriched my life for many years and provided comfort and companionship when I needed it most. I speak, of course, of my deep love for the Interwebz...
The Internet* and I go way back. We were first acquainted back when I was at the tender age of twelve, when a burgeoning interest in IT led me and a friend to enroll for a week's IT summer school run by a local university. In the end we learned very little about IT in general but we did discover a little blue 'e' icon on our computer desktops. So this was the Internet - that crazy new invention that all the kids were talking about. But what to do with it? Not having discovered search engines yet we started looking high and low, in newspapers and on advertisements, for web addresses to visit and explore. However all that was pushed aside when we discovered Yahoo, and with it the wonders of the humble chat room. Much entertainment was gleaned that week from the random strangers on the other side of the world, but that was pretty much all the Internet really had to offer, right? Easy access to a quick laugh and a chat with some oddballs from the USA?
Fast forward six years and in an entirely different chat room, there I was, wasting my A-level "revision time" by chatting to yet more randomers (and "random" really is the most appropriate word here) and fending off approaches from horny teenage boys whose introductions were along the lines of "hi wanna cyber?". No thanks! Then, just as I was about to call it quits, up pops a message from a young man my own age from across the Irish Sea, also avoiding studying, who seemed, well, "normal" isn't really the right word, but in comparison to some of those other crazies, we'll stick with normal. An agreement to move from the chat room to MSN Messenger (yep, we were just that cool) later and we were off, chatting merrily away and getting to know one another.
Fast forward another seven years and we were getting hitched. To think I wouldn't have met my lovely, funny little Yorkshireman without the Internet is reason enough to give thanks for it. But there's so much more!
How exactly did one plan a wedding, or book a flight, or discretely find out what the heck someone was on about when they started speaking all intellectual-like before the Interwebz came along? Google is now my bestest friend. The majority of my communications with family and friends are by email or Facebook, on occasion even when they're in the same room. I can window shop without leaving my sofa. And what of the wonders of inventions like Google Street View? You can virtually walk down a street or figure out exactly where something is and what it looks like while you're thousands of miles away in your PJs! Don't even get me started on Google Earth or we'll be here all day.
Yeah so there are bad things about the Internet, but in reality they all have their counterparts in the real world. You can be spammed or scammed through junk mail through your letterbox as well as your inbox; paedophiles can troll kids down the local park as easily as on Bebo; and you probably get more inaccurate information from your mates than Wikipedia.
So, in conclusion, I am entirely grateful for the incredibly shiny Internet, as it allows me to while away the lazy evenings typing rubbish to you fine folks about how grateful I am for the incredibly shiny Internet. Wow we could totally go into some kind of paradox situation here. To prevent the collapse of the universe I best go and pay homage to my beloved Interwebz in some other way; I haven't been on I Can Has Cheezburger? in at least six hours...
* Yes, I know, I know - the Internet is the term for the physical network and the correct term for all the rubbish I browse on a regular basis is the World Wide Web, but seriously, who has the time or energy to be that pedantic? Oh wait, usually me. Ah well, feck it.