Friday, August 13, 2004

Is This the End As We Know It?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day -- something that I have the luxury of doing two or three times a week since my job doesn't always have pressing, demanding present requirements. Don't get me wrong -- I do my job, but it doesn't require the same urgent timeline that I've been used to in the past. No real deadlines. No huge pressures hanging over my head. Just a steady, plodding, daily, show-up-to-work-and-do-what-you-can type of a job. As such, I have some down time to spend talking on the phone and browsing the web. The phone and the computer are both tools on my desk, after all, and it'd be a shame to ignore them for the sake of work.

Anyway, we were talking about my downtime and lack of urgency this job presents, and she asked me, knowing that I spend a bit of time on the internet, if I had reached the end yet.

"The end? The end of what?" I somewhat stupidly asked.

"The internet," she replied.

I laughed, because what an absurd thought! The end of the internet, indeed! With billions of people who think they all of important things to write, preach or sell, it surely must be infinite. But then I figured it really, by definition, would have to be finite. It might be circular, landing you right back where you started from, but that doesn't make it infinite, I don't think.

As a mere human, I myself don't have the resources to find the end; I'd need several hundred computers or programs or something to do that for me, but really, how hard could it be? If I eliminate all porn and non-English sites, I ought to be able to find the end in only a couple of weeks. Okay, maybe not that soon, but the very fact that I can put definite parameters around finding the end of the internet means it is not infinite; it's gotta end somewhere.

Sadly, I don't have the resources available at my fingertips to do the necessary searching. And I really DO have a job to do, contrary to popular belief. So I decided to do, what else? a Yahoo! search.

And guess what? I found it. Right here.

Go ahead, check it out. I'll wait. You can always use the Back button on your browser to get here. Finding the end of the internet doesn't mean you can't work your way backwards.

Are you back? Okay, good. Because guess what else I found? That's right. Another ending.

And yet another one.

And another one.

One more.

Still one more.

So, what does it mean? If there's only one internet, one world wide web, shouldn't there only be one ending to it? I guess it depends on your definition of ending. I purposely did not include links here to sites claiming to be the last of the internet pages that included other links to other sites. Because then that's not really the end, right? So I have just imposed upon you my definition of The End.

Am I right? I don't know. Look at life. (Not for very long -- you'll get depressed.) How do you know when one phase of your life has ended and another one begun? Sometimes you can tell based on dates -- the date you graduated from high school or college, or the date you were married, or broke up with your significant other. Those may seem to be definitive, measurable beginning or ending times. But are they really? Just because you say your wedding vows on a certain date doesn't really mean that's the beginning of the marriage, does it? It seems to me that would start during the courtship process. And the courtship process would begin when you start dreaming about the type of person you want to date, and....well, you see where I'm going with this, right?

And some people really never leave high school, even if they do have a diploma to prove they graduated. You know who they are -- you've dated at least one in your lifetime.

So, how do you know when you reach the end of something? How do you measure it if there are many possible different endings? I don't know. But I will share this with you, a piece of wisdom gleaned from my first tai chi class. Maybe life really is like the hokey pokey -- you make a circle with your friends, and put your left foot in, take it out again.

Why are you looking at me like that? I don't know what it means! Don't ask me!

The point is (I think I really do have one), all we can do, rather than measure time or define beginnings and endings, is to do what all of those "last page of the internet" sites said -- go out and play. Read a book. Be nice to each other. Get along. Hold hands, and keep putting your left foot and taking it out again. Enjoy the moment. Even if the moment sucks, try to enjoy it.

-----The End. For Now. -------

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reading: I'm trying out John Lutz' suspense stuff.

Listening to: Dress Rehearsal by Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Watching: The Olympics. Even if it does mean putting up with that mealy-mouthed Bob Costas. What other choice do I have? Besides, I LOVE the Olympics!

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