The Searchers.

by Alexa on August 3, 2009

Somehow I have become the number one Internet destination for questions about face sleeping. My tracking statistics are filled with variations on a theme:
sleep with hands on face
sleeping on your hand
sleeping on your hands
sleeping with face on hands
sleeping with hands on face
sleep and your face

(I’m thinking of writing a book called “Sleep and Your Face,” actually. I have no doubt it would be a bestseller).

{Confidential to the person asking whether it is best to face inner demon in sleep: Yes, OBVIOUSLY.}

Reading search keywords paints an unsettling picture of Internet users in general. Someone searched for what brings you here, and then, when that didn’t garner the desired result, amended the query to what brings you TO here, (capitalization mine).

I worry when I read things like change a skirt into gauchos (WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING?) or does a messy house mean that you are a “bad mother”. You know, some of the more upsetting reactions I have gotten in my years of writing online were email messages and comments following what was supposed to a little light joke post (einekleine joke post!) about how messy my house is sometimes, and how little it resembles the photo shoots in, say, Cookie magazine. One comment admonished me, saying that its author would be “ashamed” if her house looked like mine, and the word choice made me pause. Embarrassed, fine. God knows I’d be embarrassed if someone showed up unannounced on one of my apartment’s bad days. But “ashamed” suggests something deeper, as if having a messy house is a character flaw, and your housekeeping says something about your worth as a person. I doubt many men feel like failures because the laundry’s piled up again. When will women stop DOING that to themselves, and to each other? Soon, maybe?
(The entry also generated a comment telling me to get back to posting baby pictures and wondering whether the post was my attempt to “Pit women against women in the ‘whose house is the dirtiest’ contest,” regarding which I can only say HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS CONTEST, AND WHAT DO WE WIN?)

But not all of your searches inspire tedious rants like the above. Some merely inspire confusion, like sexy prairie hat (Really?) or what tolstoy does on christmas (watches the snow blow across the dead), or grape nuts heartbeat, which has an eerie “Tell-Tale Heart” quality.

Then there’s solipsism birthday card (How about “Your birthday makes me ponder my own mortality”?), miracle blanket crocodile (I don’t see why not, just cut a hole in the pocket for his tail), long torso short legs physics (most of the same principles apply), pregnancy gin & tonic float, etiquette for rectal exam, and my personal favorite, toddler food refusal insane.

And occasionally the words that bring people here aren’t search terms at all, but rather sentences typed into the void, as if we are in War Games, and the computer itself might respond with comfort, advice, or at least a game of Tic Tac Toe. Recently I was upset to see that someone had found me by searching “i’m afraid he’s going to kill rebecca.” Probably it was just a remembered song lyric or line of dialogue, but still I felt as if I should call the authorities. Except what would I say? That there was going to be a murder, maybe? Someone named Rebecca? No, I don’t know where, but I can give you an IP address?

Others are merely revolting, like “fucking a concussed girl.” That one doesn’t make me want to call the police so much as drive to the home from whence the search is originating and smack the searcher in his delicate place with a truncheon.

The Internet is a strange and sometimes lonely place. The other day, someone spent FOUR HOURS on my site after Googling “make your own girdle.” I would like to think she stayed because she so enjoyed my writing that she got distracted, but perhaps she was just really damn determined to find instruction. I think chopsticks broken into sections and taped onto an ace bandage would work, but truthfully, I’ve never tried it.

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