Advice at our fingertips
May 30, 2011
by Ivan Raconteur

There was a time, not so terribly long ago, when if one wanted to know about something, one actually had to make an effort to go look it up.

Today, through the richness of the digital age, we don’t need to go looking for information – we are bombarded by it around the clock and from every direction.

One place I have been noticing this recently is on the home page from whence I check my e-mail. I am astounded at the wealth of information that is available to me just by clicking on one of the tantalizing links that my benevolent e-mail provider thoughtfully serves up each day.

There are always about half a dozen links covering a staggering array of topics and promising to solve problems I didn’t even know I had.

There is advice on matters from social activities to home improvements, from legal affairs to health care.

Some posts are both timely and helpful.

For example, one recent offering came under the heading, “Six ways to flirt this summer.”

Well, that was just perfect, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had just been wondering to myself how I was going to do my flirting this summer.

The post was chock-full of practical suggestions.

Well, most of them were practical. Number five advised one to take note of one’s summer wardrobe and “show some skin subtly.”

I don’t think that would help me at all.

I suspect that must be one of those suggestions that doesn’t apply to everyone.

I can think of a lot of people for whom showing some skin would be a good thing, but even though I am reasonably well-adjusted and comfortable with my body, I can’t help thinking that the more of my skin I keep under wraps, the better it will be for everyone concerned.

The fact is, I’m not as young as I was, nor as fit, and whether it is subtle or not, I don’t think showing more skin is the answer.

I’m probably better off keeping my hide hid. Or rather, hidden.

Another post that appeared at about the same time optimistically offered to reveal “Six unexpected places to find love.”

I enjoy a mystery as much as the next guy, so I clicked the link.

Not only were the suggestions unexpected, they were, in my view, a bit impractical.

One of the suggestions was to meet that special someone while taking one’s cat to the vet.

Well, as much as I love cats, I am not allowed to keep one at the bachelor pad. In order to implement this scheme, I’d have to borrow a cat, and borrowing a cat and using it as a prop to meet women seems a trifle insincere.

Another suggestion involved striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to one on a long flight.

I don’t have enough vacation time as it is, nor can I afford to be taking random flights in the hopes that I will meet Miss Right at 10,000 feet.

Something tells me my odds of success would be much better at a Vegas craps table.

Some of the posts offer thoughtful safety advice, such as the one titled, “Five hidden dangers lurking in your kitchen.”

I didn’t like the idea of anything lurking in my kitchen, so I checked it out.

Unfortunately, the dangers described in the article must be hiding in the kitchens of simpletons.

One golden tidbit advised against leaving a dish towel or other flammable items laying on the stove. Well, anyone daft enough to do that probably has bigger problems to worry about.

That isn’t a hidden danger, that’s just common sense.

Another recent post was titled, “How to make your home feel good.”

That was all about color psychology, and how one can use color to change people’s moods and even actions.

My favorite part was a gem that suggested painting one’s dining room red, because red improves the appetite, and this might make people think one is a better cook.

I’m all for having people think I am a better cook, but I don’t really have a dining room, so I was at a loss as to how I could implement this. I suppose I could get a red tablecloth and some matching accessories for when people visit.

I will have to be careful, though, because the article cautioned that, because red improves appetite, it can also lead to weight gain, and I definitely don’t want that.

I was excited to see a post about bug-repelling basics, because I have a strong aversion to bugs, but I didn’t find it very helpful. The best advice it could offer about not getting stung by wasps and similar nasty creatures is to avoid them.

Well, I do that anyway, whenever possible, so that was no revelation.

Most of the advice in that post was rather lame, and much of it applied to bugs that don’t even live in this area, so avoiding them is easy. I can avoid flies that are native to coastal saltwater marshes without even altering my daily routine.

There is no doubt about it. We are treated to an endless flood of information every day. It may not all be useful in every situation, but, if nothing else, it can provide some light entertainment, and some days, that can be just as valuable.

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