A fool and her internet

By Carolyn Plath

I’m a sunflower.

Yep.  Oh yeah.  I am a regular ray of sunshine.  Facebook told me so.

The social media giant’s newest package of postponement is delivered as, “What kind of ________are you?  Take this simple quiz and find out!”

I found my floral identity this morning shortly after reading the Daily Good’s article entitled, “How to eliminate procrastination.”

By the by, according to another Facebook/Quiz Social questionnaire, the best tattoo for me is …wait for it … a human skull!  Yes, that’s right.  This little sunflower has a dark side.

Quiz Social zeroed in on my shadow personality and matched me perfectly with that symbolic representation of my cranky alter ego.

The skull is suited to me, says Quiz Social, because it’s “bold and powerful.”  That is so me!

I am the bold and powerful sunflower who declares her “opposition to the natural order of things and her unwillingness to be limited by anyone’s rules or expectations.”

This nonconforming little blossom cannot be repressed.

And this:  In the yin and yang yoyo of things, if I were a super hero, I’d be none other than Superman, the Goodie Two Shoes of the super hero set!

And here’s how they reconcile the skull tattoo with the embodiment of truth, light and the American Way:  “Sometimes you are tempted to use your powers for evil, but lucky for the rest of us, you have a heart of gold.”  It’s me!  So very me!

In a past life I would have been an Egyptian queen, states the Department of the Obvious.

In the next life?  After I answered their quick quiz, the pronouncement came down – I’ll be reincarnated as … a single grain of sand?!

Not sure I’m looking forward to that in quite the same way I was anticipating my return as a mountain lion or even redwood tree, or Empress of the Universe.

But Quiz Social trots out none other than William Blake to make life on the beach with the masses seem Zen: “To see a world in a grain of sand …  Hold infinity in the palm of your hand…”  OK…

Sensing the lack of enthusiastic response to such a gritty future, the quizmaster extrapolates, “There is nothing that separates us from the sand.  Nothing separates the sand from God.  We are all here.  We are all everywhere.  We are all forever.”

Oh brother!

I’m beginning to see the wisdom of Fred Stutzman, a 2009 graduate student at the University of North Carolina.  Daily Good reports that Fred had trouble concentrating long enough to finish writing his thesis.  He blamed access to the internet.

Stutzman, like other people I’ve heard of, found himself distracted by the endless supply of sappy pastimes and useless but fascinating crapola at his fingertips — even when she, er, he really wanted to get some writing done.

Like any addict, he told himself he could disconnect any time he wanted to.  But it wasn’t that simple.  He tried aversion therapy and the ‘step down’ method.  He went cold turkey.  He wore the patch.

OK.  He didn’t do any of those things, but it was hard for him to look away from the screen.  No.  It was impossible.

So he did what any red-blooded, skull-tattooed sunflower would do:  He went home and created a software program that would solve his problem.  Oh, I should have mentioned – Stutzman was a computer programmer studying Information Science.

His creation, called “Freedom,” is simple.  All you have to do is turn the application on – after you pay your $10 – tell it how long you want to write, or focus on something else, anything other than the electronic pabulum you’re Jones-ing for and it blocks your computer from going online for that amount of time.

If you need a fix before your time is up, you have to turn your computer completely off and reboot, which, in theory, is so much trouble you’d actually rather write something you’re not ashamed of or embarrassed by instead.

I’m thinking of getting it.  Right after this last quiz:  What Tarot card are you?

Seven quick questions and…The Fool!?  I beg your pardon!

Carolyn Plath is a life-long writer, first receiving recognition for her work in 5th grade.  More recently, she placed 3rd in the Jack London Awards competition of the California Writer’s Club.  “Think Dream Play,” her weekly slice of life/humor column, published in The Benicia Herald, also appears online in Epiphany Magazine, as does her writers’ advice column, “Dream Writer.”  Unable to stop herself, Carolyn has a third column wherein she offers advice based on readers’ submissions of their nightly dreams.  Called “Send Me Your Dreams,” it appears in the Examiner.com.


One thought on “A fool and her internet

  1. Freedom has saved my life! I discovered it a couple of years ago, and now when I sit down to write, I’m not constantly distracted by emails, google searches, facebook, etc. Thanks for writing about this wonderful app!

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