I’m thankful that I could type in the question “Can you substitute rum for bourbon?” in an online search engine and find an answer.
The answer is no, by the way.
I didn’t need this information; I was just doing my part yesterday to resolve a disagreement between co-workers. Tina had found a recipe for a bourbon cake that you heat in a crock pot. Jamie, hearing the phrase “bourbon cake” immediately requested that Tina make it. Tina, alas, doesn’t have any bourbon. Thinking about the alcohol she does have at home, she pondered aloud, “I wonder if I can substitute rum?”
Jamie had already emphatically answered, “No!” and offered to supply the needed liquor from her own stash when I volunteered to look it up. Moments later, I was able to convince Tina that Jamie doesn’t just have a bourbon fixation, she really knows that rum won’t work. Plus, I was able to inform them that you can substitute pineapple juice for rum.
I didn’t bother to look it up when they asked, “Why would you do that?”
Personally, neither cake with bourbon nor with rum appeals to me. Finding the answer to the question was more satisfying to me than a forkful of any dessert.
I’m of an age that I can remember when idle curiosity required a trip to the library. I had to hold in my who, what, when, where, whys and hows until I could get my hands on a reference book. While I have fond memories of thumbing through the card catalogs in search of answers, I have since fallen in the love with Googling.
Some people may complain about the glut of information online, much of it of doubtful accuracy. I would counter that I often ended up with books full of crap I couldn’t use after several hours of research among the stacks. At least online I realize more quickly that I have crap.
I know that the internet is not infallible. Just today a young man stopped in our office asking, “Is there a payphone around here?”
Once I recovered from the shock of the query (What is this payphone of which you speak?), I searched online for possible locations here in town. Unfortunately, I received only sponsored results that left me and the guy who asked as ignorant as before.
Despite these flaws, the next time I hear a sentence that begins with “How do you,” “What is a,” “Where is the” or “When does,” you can be certain that, if a computer is handy, I will Google for the answer.