Using Google, I Taught A Farmer About Farming


Here’s the nice thing about online search engines such as Google and Bing — they do the work for you. In the olden days, if you had a question about something, you had to go to the encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus or an expert if you wanted answers. If you didn’t have any of those things handy, you had to go to the library. By the time you got to the library, you forgot why you were there.

Now, you just press Enter and your question is answered. You can even get it answered by multiple sources. This has made the writer’s job easier. We barely have time to lose our train of thought, much less get sidetracked by coffee shops or, in my case, bars.

Search engines have also put an end to countless family arguments and settled bajillions of bets.

Case in point: My daughter Jen and son-in-law Greg own City Bitty Farm out in Missouri. It was a cute backyard idea when they started, but, because Greg is a born salesman, within a year they were furnishing micro greens (we used to call them sprouts) for most of the restaurants in Kansas City. They have greenhouses and gardens and washing stations and packaging stations and, of course, full-time jobs with other, completely unrelated companies.

At any rate, one day Jen was telling me that, in China, they serve orange and tomato slices after meals as a palate-cleansing dessert.

“Well, that makes sense,” I said. “Since the tomato is a fruit.”

“Uh-uh!” she scoffed.

I was shocked. I thought everyone knew the tomato was a fruit! This kid graduated from college with honors. How could she not know that? Plus, it reflected poorly on me, her mother, that I had left this gaping hole in her education. With all the tomatoes I’d served her as a child, it certainly must have come up at least once.

“Let me Google it,” I said, still on the phone. “I’m typing in ‘Tomato. Fruit?’”

And boom, there it was. “Oxford Dictionaries says, ‘Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit.’” I relayed the information proudly, explaining that fruits develop from the base of the flower and contain the seeds of the plant.

“But if your theory is correct, cucumbers are fruit!” she countered, outraged.

“My theory is not a theory; it is fact. But let me just Bing it for you. I am typing in, ‘Cucumber. Fruit?’ Now I am hitting Enter.” Pause. “The cucumber is a fruit.”

“Oh, for crying out loud. What about eggplant? Fruit?”

“Are you mocking me?”

“I’m just asking!”

“Ding-ding-ding! The eggplant is a fruit.”

“You are rocking my world. You have turned it on its ear.”

“The pumpkin is also a fruit.”

“Stop it! Now you’re just showing off.”

“I’m not the one with a farm! I thought farmers knew this stuff!”

“Well, I do now.”

“As long as you’ve learned something.”

When we hung up, Jen was laughing and happy as always, but I was all puffed up with pomp and know-it-allness. I had rocked her world.

Haven’t been able to do that since she was 8.

I’ve still got it.