A wise woman of the cloth once asked, how do you solve a problem like Maria? And as the story goes, there were in fact many problems, including, but not limited to:
- Climbs a tree, scrapes knee
- Underneath her wimple she has curlers in her hair
- Always late for everything, except every meal
- Could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
- Is a riddle, a child, a flibbertigibbet
While my understanding is that the convention of WWII Austria was to express your cares through song, the mother of a modern abbey might kneel at the altar of information and query Google, “Problems with uppity nun.” Because that’s what we do now. We consult the higher power that is The Net.
Today the Unhappy Mediator wonders, just what is our problem? That, as it turns out, is a rather different question from, what are our problems?
First, the results from searching “problem with”:
A clear theme. You’re on your computer, you run across a problem, you look for a solution. Problem solved (Goog willing).
But what if you’ve got problems? Yes, sir, a whole heap o’ troubles.
Similarities, no doubt, and telling ones at that. Windows Vista and the Blackberry Storm are two of the biggest scourges of this year’s technophile, while Facebook and the iPhone (the one he bought after giving up on the Storm altogether) keep him occupied throughout the hours of the day he once spent looking people in the eye and going outdoors. I assume, bee tee double you, that the answer to “problems with internet explorer” is “Get Firefox, grampa.”
We’re not talking one-time offenses here. We’re looking for crucial answers to recurring technical assaults. People have invested themselves in these products and are being let down over and over again. They got problems.
At the heart of it, though, it’s not a simple matter of man versus machine; it’s a question of power. Our gadgets literally and figuratively drain us of our power. But there’s one place where the power is endless. The Government. From the first flawed attempt at a Federal writ in the 1780s, to the dubious efficacy of Bush’s 2002 education act, to allowing foreigners to hop our fences and take our medicine, we drink of the government’s fuel and walk away invigorated, but gassy. So it is that we turn to Google, not with a problem, but with Problems, and plead pathetically for a byte from the tree of knowledge. For as we know, knowledge is power. And feeling powerless is what got us all stewing in the first place.[Ed. note: referenced search results were correct at time of writing, though current results may differ slightly.]