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The Meaning of Life.
and Other Computer Glitches.
by Frank Kaiser

They say there are about 15 million seniors on the Internet now. That's a heap of chatting, searching, e-mailing, and crashing.

Maybe the best reward for all our time on the Web is its ability to search and find answers to questions, no matter how deep or arcane. As old coots getting older, we have some important questions to be answered.

Why are we here?

Is there a God?

What's the meaning of life?

Where did the last 60 years go?

Let's start with the heavily advertised iwon.com search engine. Of 9,574,081 answers, or matches, to the question What is the meaning of life? the very first one is — drum roll, please — "Tennisball: A Sport that Gives Life Meaning."

Hmm. This may be more difficult than I thought. Let me try another.

How old is old?

This time there are over 7 million answers, the top one being, "The old Farmer's Almanac is America's oldest source of weather… and other information."

Give me a break.

Here's an easy one. As we all approach the age when we start cramming for final exams, I'll ask the popular Ask Jeeves, Will I go to heaven?

Don't count on it. Jeeves' answer points to "Absolutely free lesbian heaven." I'm not sure what that means, but I know I don't want to go there. The snooty butler has a second answer, a question itself: "Will I see Fido in Heaven?"

Is there a God? Yes, His name is Bill Gates.

I think I'll go to Bill Gates' "MSN Search" for What is the meaning of life? Bill, you know, is famous for straight answers. The meaning of life is: 1) A song by the Reggae group; 2) "The Godfather" says that accumulation of power is the highest goal in life; and 3) "The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy life without the chance, and the last half consists of the chance without the capacity." Mark Twain said that, but I haven't a clue what he's talking about.

Whatever, it's not much comfort. But then, no one ever said computers were comfortable.

Next, I ask search engine Google Is there a God? You can almost feel its spider-like reach going out to a billion Web pages and coming back with, "An archaeologist digs deep into the desert sand and finds a piece of an old clay pot. Did this archaeologist ever see the civilization that produced this pot? How does he know that it ever existed?"

Profound, huh? Kind of makes you wish you didn't sneak out of Sunday School all those years ago.

Suddenly Trivia: How many major religions are there in the world? a) 3, b) 6, c) 12

Dog, spelled backwards, is God. Let's ask if there is One at the search engine Dog Pile. Press "Fetch" and up comes this truth: "God's something rather than nothing."

Gee, Descartes couldn't have said it better.

Finally, since it did such a fine job with God, I'll ask Google, Why are we here?

Reading from the top, it lists four golf sites and a "Time to do some real surfing" before I get to this: "You are here to complete your seven levels of initiation and become hence an Ascended Master and therefore break the wheel of reincarnation and achieve liberation."

That's more than I wanted to know, really. Anyway, I'm not sure I want to come back.

I don't know about you, but I'm concluding that computers are silly things without much sense.

I may not know much, but I know the answers to all my big, important questions conclude in loving others as we love ourselves. That may not take megabytes of RAM, but it's good enough for me.

© 2001 — Frank Kaiser

Suddenly Trivia Answer: c) Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Paganism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

For other recent Suddenly Senior columns, the week's 111 best senior links, best jokes of the week, plus interesting and humorous articles and poems written by and for seniors, visit http://www.suddenlysenior.com.

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