Joanne Palmer: I’m addicted to Google |

Joanne Palmer: I’m addicted to Google

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Google has got me in its clutches, and I can't escape. I am a compulsive Google Girl. I love Google. I am obsessed with Google. I am completely and utterly hooked on it. I am constantly Googling. I must Google something 25 times per day. And that's a slow day. Usually, it starts with something benign like an address. Or a question like, "What date is the Academy Awards?" (Feb. 26) Or a recipe.

For example, yesterday, I wanted to make turkey chili with black beans. My recipes are, ahem, not well organized. They are not in a binder, file folder or neatly written on 3-by-5-inch index cards. Rather, for some crazy reason, they are spilling out of a bank money bag. The bank bag doesn't hold much, so the recipes are overflowing and crumpled up inside it. I looked in my recipe pouch, and after finding several duplicate recipes for tuna casserole and something called Spanish Delight, I gave up. It would be faster to Google it. So I did, and voila! In one uncrumpled second, I had my recipe. I printed it out and was off to the store.

After I made my turkey chili, I went out to walk the dog. I always return from a dog walk with a lot of Google-worthy questions. For example, if a new house goes on the market, I must Google it and find out the asking price. A glance at the sky may bring up a question about the weather. But the thing that really captured my attention on this walk was the return of the bull elk. Every winter, on the exact same weekend as Winter Carnival, three or four bull elk show up in our neighborhood. How do they know to come back at the same time every year? I couldn't wait to get home to find out. Naturally, I found some frequently asked elk questions and learned they are creatures of habit, and when warmer temperatures arrive, they retreat to lower elevations. I also found out that the location of one of their eyes enables them to see directly behind them. How cool is that?

Google is kind of psychic, really. It's one part Ouija board, one part Magic 8 Ball. It knows what I want to ask before I even finish typing. And if I make a mistake, I love how it corrects me. For example if I type in, "What happened to Wilbur Houston?" Google replies, "Do you mean Whitney Houston?" That's when I stop typing and cry out, "Yes. Whitney. I'm sorry. I meant Whitney. I'm so sorry she died."

On Valentine's Day, I awakened to find a fabulous animated Google greeting.

It was the sweetest thing. Of course, I wanted to know the name of the song, so I had to Google the back story. Here's what I found in an article in PC World: "The doodle tells the story of a boy who has a crush on a jump-roping girl, and in an effort to woo her, uses Google to search for gift ideas. With Tony Bennett's cover of 'Cold, Cold Heart' crooning in the background, the boy tries again and again, lavishing her with flowers, chocolates, a diver's helmet and magic tricks, until he's almost defeated. Then he reappears one day with a common interest — a jump rope — and wins her affections."

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Awwwww, how cute.

I know I need to remind myself that Google is a search engine and nothing more. I might even need a 12-step program or a week in a Google rehab institution. Hey, maybe I can Google it and see if they have one.

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