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100 Days of Gladness: Day 30

Everything Good About the Internet

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It seems almost heretical to say so, but there are some ways in which the internet has made me happy.

  1. What’s wrong with my dishwasher? The printer? A Leica camera handed down to me by my brother? The rose bushes ailing in the back yard? The stitches balling up in my Bernina sewing machine? Grandma Google has the answer and tells me how to fix it.

  2. I was going to make a pie for some new friends, but learned that they were avoiding gluten and carbs. Googled “no gluten, no carb desserts,” and found the most delicious chocolate pudding you can imagine.

  3. We were planning a move 3000 miles away. We found a house. We found it on Our real estate agent walked us through it on FaceTime. Communications, financial transfers, and legal documents — all done online. None of that possible without the internet.

  4. Unpacking after the move, we found a little halter. We must’ve bought it for our Yorkie at some point — but we couldn’t figure out how to get it on her. We YouTubed the brand “Wander Walker” and boom! A 2-minute video told us everything we need to know.

  5. And speaking of ‘need to know’, education! Master Classes. I’ve learned detailed techniques for structuring a memoir, baking focaccia, making an art quilt, and drought resistant gardening — because the internet opened those doors.

  6. When I want to find Seattle/L.A. flights so I can be with my grandson, there are many airlines that can get me there — all waiting for me in my laptop.

  7. And when I just want some relief or distraction, countless reels make me laugh, open my tenderness, or provoke new thought — they flow by, courtesy of my thumb, and my phone, and…the internet.

It’s woven so deeply into the fabric of our lives that we’re blind to 99% of the ways in which we depend on it. Dark theories burgeon from that blindness, I know. The dark web, deepfakes, AI, hacking, identity theft, and the loss of real choice in the world. That’s true, too.

We can focus on those aspects, fill with fear, and live our lives trying to defend against every possible negative outcome.

Or, we can turn our attention to what is positive, thrilling, and imaginative about the internet. We can learn about people raising money for genuinely humanitarian causes through GoFundMe campaigns, encouraging others to make big differences with small means.

We can take deep dives into mathematics or physics.

We can learn how to care for tropical fish — or learn why we should have left them in their original habitats.

We can read about the training of search and rescue dogs.

We can ‘travel’ to Bali. Or Alaska. Or Paris.

The internet is neutral, like a knife is neutral. In the hands of a murderer, the knife is one thing. In the hands of a surgeon, it’s another. And in the hands of a woodworker, yet another.

So, today, I focus on the good stuff.

Think of all the brilliant things available because of the internet. Make a list. No matter how much time you have, you will run out of time. It’s a long list.

And you are at the top of my list. Your presence here, your eyes reading this. The internet has given us a certain kind of connection. It’s not the same as physically sitting across from a friend. But it is its own kind of connection.

And for that, I’m filled with gladness.


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