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My know-it-all friend

Published August 27. 2011 09:01AM

I have a buddy that's a total know-it-all.

Remember those black "magic globes" that could answer any question? They were fun, even if the answers were usually "maybe" or "it's doubtful."

Well, my buddy is way better than that because his answers are always long and informative. And, he's usually right.

My buddy answers to the name of Mac, as in iMac and he is next to useless without an Internet connection. But when I combine Mac and the Internet, I can find the answer to anything.

Faced with buying a new roof and meeting with several roofers to get bids, I was dazed trying to decide who offered the best shingles.

I felt as if everyone was speaking a foreign language. So I turned to my know-it-all friend and was amazed.

A Google search to compare shingles gave me the Consumer Report site that did exactly that.

Best yet, my know-it-all friend told me something no roofing contractor mentioned: I can get a rebate on my taxes if I pick an energy efficient shingle. On the Internet I also got detailed instructors for what form I need for the IRS and what proof.

Ahhh, what a smart teacher.

Curious about anything? Don't wonder. Ask Know-It-All, better known as the Internet.

When I was curious about how much professional dancers get paid, the Internet spit out the answer.

I turned to the Internet again when my husband and I were having a debate about Glen Beck's religion. He said Beck was Jewish. I said I thought he was Catholic because some of what he says seems to come straight from the Baltimore Catecism.

We were both wrong. According to Wikipedia, Beck belongs to the Mormon faith and is a member of the Church of Later Day Saints.

Confused about any product? Know-It-All can help.

When I wanted to buy Dave a macro lens for his birthday, I turned to reviews on the Internet, reading the pros and cons of each.

I wasn't sure what I was doing but the Internet didn't lead me astray. Dave said I picked the best lens, the one he's been coveting all year. Thanks to my know-it-all friend.

When I wanted to find a unique place to stay during our mini-vacation to St. Augustine, again, I used the Internet to come up with a one-of-a kind place. In fact, each of the 15 suites at the bed and breakfast are one of a kind.

I picked the Coquina Suite that featured a wall made from those colorful little seashells.

Again reading the customer reviews prepared me for the pros and cons about the bed and breakfast.

Are you curious about any celebrity from the past and wondering what they are doing now? Google the name and all that information is at your finger tips.

Because I keep making jokes that my husband is fitness master Jack LaLanne and I'm Elaine LaLanne, the wife he pushes to train harder, we started to wonder what happened to her after Jack died earlier this year. Once again, the Internet tells all.

The most obscure facts pop up when you ask Google a question. I was writing a column about longtime marriages and wanted to use a quote rumored to be by Mark Twain.

But then I wondered if Mark Twain really said it. Through the internet, I was able to discover the year Twain wrote it in his journal.

My husband and I both find joy watching the birds in our backyard. Now, we have some really pretty doves which he insists are turtle doves. I don't think they are.

A dash inside to my computer and bird photos didn't quite solve our quest to identify the doves.

They are not turtle doves and not mourning doves. According to the photos, they look like common ground doves. But the jury's still out on that one. We're going to try to take photos so we know for sure.

Whenever I get a physical ailment, I type in the symptoms to check out possibilities. I'm surprised at the number of times my doctor agrees that I have pinpointed the problem.

But that can backfire too. Sometimes it leads to needless fright when symptoms sound like something life threatening but turn out to be something simple.

The important thing to remember when working the Internet is to make sure of the reliability of your sources, especially if you're researching medical facts.

I find my know-it-all friend to be very helpful in determining the side effects of prescription pills. I especially like the consumer comments.

Sometimes this information about side effects can save you grief and problems.

When a new doctor (who knew me for 10 seconds) prescribed a pill for me, I looked up the side effects on the internet. It said the pill lowered blood pressure so much that some people black out while taking it. Since my pressure is always extremely low to begin with, I questioned another doctor if I should take it. His answer: No way.

Saved again by my know-it-all friend.

Every day, in some way, my know-it-all friend teaches me something new. I'd say that's much better than an answer ball.

I just read an article that said people lose their brain power if they rely on Google to cough up what they want to know.

But I agree with Einstein. He said we don't need to know everything. We just need to know where to find it. And through the Internet, we can do exactly that.

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