— Settling a Bar Room Argument —
Ten Years Ago


I hate Google. I consider it an arch nemesis; a kill joy. Google is the dork in the back of a class, who –just as everyone is enjoying themselves– reminds the teacher that a quiz is scheduled. Google is a teacher’s pet.

Why do I hate Google so much?- well, in a way, I am a victim of habit destruction. Google has invaded bars. Now, when a man runs his mouth at a bar (as I love to do), some vanilla with an iPhone immediately disproves him: “ah, no Sean, I’ve just googled it and ‘Ben Hur’ did not cost more to film than all five space shuttles cost”.

They are bringing google into bars! We already work (as near drones) in a world of facts and forms, and dates and exact names- now they want to make bars that way. Bars –the last place where we can still have brassy, exaggerated conversations; even lie to each other– are under threat. Swagger is going the way of the dodo bird.

It was not, of course, always like this. Twenty years ago, every bar had a couple of men who were completely comfortable lying about their role in a war; drunks proposed solutions to the gas crisis based on half-memories of grade school physics; old men flat-out invented baseball stories- placing hitters inside stadiums that never existed during their career, hitting home runs that are impossible. And, best of all, disproving them was a social event.

Back then, the entire bar would join together –much like how the Amish build a house– to disprove a loud mouth. Almanacs were passed around; people introduced themselves after overhearing the argument; the bartender would even phone the library, for answers. You met people. You worked it out socially, spending the time laughing, talking. Now, some one types a dozen keys into a phone and shuts down the entire discussion, before it even started.

But, THERE IS HOPE. Just as the coyote now prospers (after changing its eating habits when its original habitat was lost), I too have adapted. I have moved beyond the world of exact dates and dollar figures, of country names and treaties, of public records and statistics, in my arguments. I have moved into the world of ungoogleable. I now combine real technologies, with unreal uses; I talk in quantities that are too big (or too small) to have been calculated; I put extinct animals into the present day, and current civilizations into the very far past. In short, I only argue –at bars– about things that can not easily be put into a a single google query.

I argue in the margins and shadows- where google can not find me. This blog chronicles that effort. One man’s journey, to argue in a world with google:


7 thoughts on “Ungoogleable”

  1. My friends from back home and I were just talking about this shit; remembering fondly the day we drank a bottle of whiskey and almost came to blows over who started for the 1996 Seattle Supersonics squad that lost to the Bulls. Ironically, I just had to consult google for what year the Sonics played the Bulls in finals. I’m merely a sheep hiding in a wolf skin, and for that I’m in mourning. Good work and godspeed.

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