Two tiny events this morning to illustrate the power and indispensability of Google.
1. When you get to be the age that Susie and I have reached, you find yourself taking lots of pills -- I take seven each morning, to lower my cholesterol, lower my blood pressure, and protect against heart attacks and strokes. Susie, who suffers from MS, takes many more. When we travel, assembling our pills and labeling them to keep them straight is a big part of our preparation. In addition, Susie broke her shoulder in January, and still suffers a good deal of pain from it, so we brought along lots of Tylenol. This morning, as she was sorting out her pills, she came upon two little glassine bags of white oblong pills that were unlabeled. Each set had letters and numbers imprinted on them. What were they? In fifteen seconds on Google, I ascertained that both were batches of Tylenol [acetaminophen].
2. I have two [darling] grandchildren, Samuel and Athena, as I have often remarked. My sister has four grandchildren, one of whom, a brilliant young woman named Emily who has just graduated from college, is spending the summer with my son, Patrick, and his family in San Francisco as a sort of volunteer au pair. Emily has a blog -- http://mills-middlebury-mainz.blogspot.fr/?m=1 -- on which she has, among other things, been reporting her interactions with Samuel and Athena. This morning I was wondering what the genealogical relationship is between Emily and Samuel and Athena -- second cousins? first cousins once removed? Something else? Ten seconds on Google settled it. They share common great grandparents [my mother and father] and hence are second cousins.
I realize that my younger readers will greet this information with the same level of excitement that is aroused in them by indoor toilets rather than outhouses and electric refrigerators rather than iceboxes. But I am old enough still to stand in awe of the power and speed with which information of virtually any nature can be retrieved from the Internet.