The Dark Side of Information Addiction

telescope oboe music

I am an information junkie. I have a lust for information so powerful that it would probably qualify as one of the seven deadly sins. No matter how remote the possibility of usefulness, I cannot, simply cannot, pass by an opportunity to make a note of something that may come in handy to me within the next hundred years or so. This addiction to collecting information used to take the form of paper. My black filing cabinet was crammed with spiral notebooks, grocery slips, and random sticky notes scribbled with “irreplaceable” data.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, in recent years my lust for information has gone digital. Gone are the spiral notebooks and the bulging manila folders of sticky notes. In their places I have collected…internet bookmarks. I have an avalanche of bookmarks saving my place on hundreds of web sites that I just might remotely have a use for someday. I have so many bookmarks on my massive (and growing) dropdown menus that I have defeated the very purpose of creating bookmarks, for I can’t find a single thing easily any more. It’s embarrassing when I know I have marked an interesting web site for future reference, but can’t find the site again without Googling.

One day last week I sat down and forced myself to sort through my gigantic menus. Of course, I can’t get rid of the Chambers Book of Days online. Even though I own a print copy that I haven’t looked at since 2010, what if I lose it? Then there are various colleges and universities. I have never gone to those places and don’t have plans to, but what if I should change my mind and want to take a class? Those survival skills web sites, I haven’t read anything on them since I marked them three years ago. But what if there was some kind of natural disaster and I had to learn how to start a campfire with an AA battery and a shoelace? I certainly can’t delete information that could save my life one day. Odds are I will probably never need to know how to lay joists for a log cabin floor, but what if I have the opportunity to do so? I know how to garden, but what if I want to raise a lemon tree indoors? I’ve always wanted to teach myself Icelandic, learn how to pilot a light aircraft, raise milk goats, play the oboe, build a solar-powered bake oven, learn chemistry the easy way, compile a family tree, make my own sky telescope, find the esoteric meaning of rose quartz, create homemade jewelry, dig my own swimming pool, locate the country of Bhutan…

Clearly, I need help. But not today, for I have made some progress. I started with 1000 bookmarks and now I have 998. There’s nothing like a good “housecleaning!”

About Julia French

Writer of contemporary horror fiction.
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