I, Search Engine

I, Search Engine

My parents live in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1974. By this, I mean that they live in a computer-free environment. Not rustic or back-to-nature or any crap like that. Just without any network connectivity, much like the cavemen. My dad had a horrible experience back in the 70’s when his office was computerized. Due to a poor choice of computer vendors, what was supposed to be a 6-month upgrade cycle stretched out over two years, and at the halfway point, they could put data into the system, but could not retrieve it, which meant everything had to be done twice, once on paper and once to feed the computer.

As a result, my father hates computers. He refers to the internet as “the Devil’s tool”, not out of any religious conviction, but simply to register an appropriate level of disdain.

So my parents are not wired individuals. When they need something off the internet, be it a book or a name or a company, my dad calls me to “get on the Devil’s tool” and find information for him.

The single best part of the internet is IMDB. It has saved me hours of sanity and my friends hours of sleep not having to call at 1AM to ask, “Who was the guy who played the Fifth Doctor?” (Answer: Peter Davidson)

But since my dad lives in 1974, before the invention of IMDB, I serve as his search engine proxy. Earlier this evening he called, and we had the following conversation:

(Disclaimer: My dad can set up a joke quite well.)

Dad: John, I know you’re a minor history scholar, having read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and The Rising Sun (both books he gave me). So I have a question for you. On Rocky and Bullwinkle, one of the moon men was named Gidney. What was the other name?

Me: Cloyd.

Time between question and answer: less than one second.

I did not have to look that up. I haven’t seen a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon in easily 25 years. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

But I remember Gidney and Cloyd. God help me.

(Note: Cloyd is the one on the far right, wearing the scrootch gun. And yes, I remember the name “scrootch gun”.)

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