Google Knows Your Grandmother

It’s been some time, I fancy, since I last lowered my hairless hand into the lucky dip of search terms (last september, as it turns out). One would expect a sea of strangeness waiting to engulf me – and one would be right, for strangeness is certainly never far away when it comes to search terms. The world is simply jam-packed full of people typing peculiar things into search engines, only to arrive, for one reason or another, at my battered old door. Today I have picked just four of the many weird and wonderful lines I found lurking on my search term list. Trust me when I say that there were many more.

The first is ‘it becomes difficult not to fall in love with death’: an unsurprisingly mournful statement – one which must have led, I imagine, to one of the many articles on everybody’s favourite miser Pyetr Turgidovsky. But who might have written this, and what exactly were they looking for? Consolation? Like-minded nihilists? Or is it the title of an early Turgidovsky short story?

The aim of our second searcher seems more obvious. One doesn’t type ‘bapless burger’ unless one is, well, after a bapless burger. The question remains (and it is, I think, one of the big questions of our age): why is one after a bapless burger? To what extent would a recipe for a bapless burger differ from a regular burger recipe, save the absence of the bap? And how did this phrase link to my website? (is this, too, a title of a short story by the young Turgidovsky; the bapless burger being a symbol of his empty adolescent life perhaps?)

From the profane to the sacred. ‘Sunday of last judgement simplified’ is our third term (and here’s the article, I fancy, towards which it led). Now this one moves my mind in all sorts of ways. People do yearn for simplicity, and who am I to roadblock their highway of desires? Having said that, the Last Judgement (one of those strange historical things that is nonetheless yet to happen) is one of those things that, I would say, tends to resist simplicity. Here is someone, however, who clearly wishes to have the whole thing not only cut down to size, but timetabled. Maybe their Sundays tend to be busy, and they’d rather the Last Judgement didn’t encroach too heavily. Would it be possible to be judged after lunch, since I was planning to invite the vicar? How long do you reckon the judgement will take? Will there be toilet breaks?

Talking of last things: ‘conclusion on my grandmother’ is our last term (this the destination, I presume). Yet another case, it seems, of using the internet to seek the answers to purely personal questions. Someone is perplexed by the behaviour of a grandparent. They seek elucidation. Options abound. They could use their own mind. They could ask the help of other people: family, friends or professional counsellors. Or they could, of course, just see what google says. Google knows your grandmother like nobody does. This, as we well know, is nothing short of a fact.

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