It’s all on the Internet, only some of it is useful

October 7, 2012 

It’s all on the Internet, only some of it is useful

Did you realize that porcupine mating season is here? It lasts all the way until November. There will soon be a lot of little baby porcupines running around. Watch your ankles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I learned this interesting fact the way I learn most interesting facts these days: from the Internet. If porcupines aren’t relevant to your daily life, maybe you’ll prefer this useful item from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website, which asks and answers the question: How do you keep raccoons from getting into your garbage cans? The answer is simple. You call out in a firm clear voice, “Raccoon, stop.” This works much better than a scream, the report says. “Raccoon, go away” you may continue. Speaking clearly and loudly. Apparently the raccoon will be so surprised that it will stop what it’s doing and slink away, embarrassed by having caused a problem. In extreme situations, you may use a broom to gently push the critter away. Wildlife is protected in our state, so we must proceed carefully.

You don’t find information like this just everywhere.

I love the Internet. I know a lot of folks who feel that since they’ve lived six or seven decades without going online, they can surely make it the rest of the way without hopping on, but they don’t know what they’re missing.

For instance, last Sunday, our pastor told his flock that the average Mariners fan spends up to 436 hours per season watching baseball on TV and the Internet. He issued a challenge that we should find an equal amount of time for prayer to balance that huge commitment of time for recreation. As Father told it, a gentleman right there in the front spoke up. “Father, that’s just not fair. Mariners fans have to pray – a lot.”

I can sympathize. Anyone who follows sports online is just asking for trouble to rain down upon them.

For instance, my Fantasy Football season isn’t going well. For some reason, Google has barred me from signing in, so my virtual team is playing without my expert guidance and I’m losing to everybody. That’s all right. It saves me from the Grandma Guilt that comes with defeating the grandkids and the great-grandkids, which is the worst thing any grandma can do. The important thing is, we’re all playing nicely together.

I’ve just attended my 61st high school reunion. Our class photo is online at As in all of my previous class photos, I am nearly obscured by the classmate in front of me. That’s good. That way, it matches all the yearbook pictures. Buried among the other shots is one picture of three semi-elderly women (my friends and I) who were 6-year-old girls when they made friends across the garden fence in 1940. We keep in touch with email and online.

Last Friday night, my youngest son posted on Facebook that my grandson (his dad calls him “Ichiro”) was on his way to his first junior high school dance. You could almost hear virtual screen doors opening all over America as aunts and uncles and friends crowded in to watch for updates.

“What? Our baby is dancing?”

“When did he get to junior high?” his aunt asked from Seattle.

“Sunrise, sunset ...” wrote his uncle from LA.

“I believe he’s too young, and I would have kept him home,” posted a neighbor.

We all waited anxiously, checking our Facebook updates, thousands of miles apart but somehow together.

Finally, the report we’d been waiting for was posted by his Mom. “They had a barricade that halted the parents at the door,” she mourned. “The boy said ‘see ya’ and took off into the darkened, thumping gym.”

A phone call to anxious Dad allowed her to “valiantly press on to the mall to stroll BY MYSELF with mocha in hand. Maybe this is not such a bad thing after all.”

Across America, virtual screen doors closed. He’s home safe. All is well.

You can learn a lot on the Internet. You just have to watch out for the porcupines.

You can reach Dorothy Wilhelm at 800-548-9264 or Her teeny tiny book, “No Assembly Required,” is now available.

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