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Searching for the Meaning of Life on Google

Life is absurd.

We spend our entire lives in a perpetual state of Google search: finding directions to coffee shops, Tinder date location scouting, the definition of ‘BAE’, salary expectations for backup dancers, celebrity child stars (namely, “Aaron Carter 1997”), Banana Republic sales, people we dig, their partners, and their lives.

Google is also my illegitimate on-site doctor, how-to therapist and elementary problem solver. It’s a white space with a welcoming search bar; a place where I can take off my bra, eat Frosted Flakes in bed and ask an assembly line of extremely random and embarrassingly trivial questions like: What is the name of the big canyon in Arizona? What is the French translation for “I want to fuck your brains out”? When will the sun rise this morning?

There’s no such thing as a stupid question on Google, and I love that.

Scrolling back to 2014, Google was my physician for undiagnosed hypochondria, mostly related to mystery dance bruises, missed periods (Google: How do I know if I’m pregnant?) and oddly shaped freckles that I strongly believed to be cancer. (Google: I found a turtle-shaped freckle, am I going to die?)

I’ll admit, I got a bit carried away and diagnosed half of my office with “stage one” dyslexia after finding a free multiple choice “Am I dyslexic?” adult quiz. When I later found out I was anemic (like actually), Google told me how to absorb iron into my frail, pizza pop-fueled body – with a collection of hilarious constipation warnings from The Iron Deficiency Anemia Support Group (my low-iron second family) who commented on their own bloated iron pill nightmares.

Around midweek at work, when deadlines stab holes into my confidence, I find imaginary fireside comfort in leadership advice from Google’s highly searched CEOs with pictures of swank women in power suits with a fringe that could cut a Kryptonite bike lock in half: Google, how can I be an adult at work? Do I have anger management issues? HOW DO I RECALL AN EMAIL!? How do I breathe? How do I not be a freak in front of colleagues? Clicks later, the answers are in front of me and I feel calm. Google reminds me how to do things I already know to do, with a handful of links to remind me how to do basic shit like keep cool, eat more vegetables, stop hiccups, breathe and count to ten.

Oh, and then there’s my Google sex life. Tired of advice from friends – “It’s him, not you!” – I discovered a sparkly layer of Google I never knew existed. Not to say that Google made my sex life any better, but hot damn, was it educational. During my Google sex advisor phase (May 2014 – current), I learned how to master Beyoncé’s Drunk in Love Surfboard move and found comedic relief in Cosmopolitan’s sex advice column: “To achieve sex-goddess status, you have to truly master his man bits.” – Um, does that mean I need a master’s degree in ball fondling? Cosmo, you kill me.

When I’m not diagnosing colleagues with Dyslexia or reading about Drake’s new winter poncho cape, I’m travelling the world on Google street view (the cheap girl’s paradise of palm trees, exotic travel and 360 adventures). I’ve visited Jordan’s lost city of Petra – then landed in front of the In-N-Out Burger at 922 Gayley Ave, the best burger spot in L.A; within seconds. I know, it’s nerdy, but I get a kick out of pretending to be National Geographic explorer while chomping on Doritos during lunch break, and life is all about the little things that count. You feel?

On Sundays, Google reads my palm and tells me the future, with inspirational horoscope readings to hint at “big” financial decision in the coming weeks, risky love affairs and which celebrity I should be spiritually “channeling” – Aries: Selena Gomez? Okay, cool! Then, in preparation for the week ahead, I browse through the 14-day Toronto weather forecast or check the blistering hot forecast of European weather destinations in December to remind me what it feels like to see the bright yellow sun icon with a plus sign again.

As we forget about the passing year and speed walk ahead through the below zero temperatures of Toronto’s -99 winter, remember that no matter what, Google will be there for you. For whatever mystery bruise, inexplainable stomach problem, random question, math problem and life concern – it’s there, changing letters into pictures daily to remind us of our history, the world around us and the people outside of ourselves.

Thanks Google.

Sarah Brown is a confidently confused twenty-something living in Chinatown; she loves mom jeans and hates networking.

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