Sunday, February 1, 2009

It’s a Small World

“It’s a small world” isn’t just a slogan for Disneyland and doesn’t just apply to children wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Other lands and cultures are not the mysterious settings for fairy tales and novels they once were. Now, we know people from those places, we may have toured them, or features on the Travel Channel makes us feel like we’ve been there.

Other than rare trips to Sedalia or Kansas City, we shopped locally when I was a child. We bought clothes at Nolting’s Department Store and groceries at Cooper’s. My dad was a builder and he bought building supplies at Fagen’s Lumber Yard. Our choices were limited. The world was huge and Stover was just a minuscule blip on the surface.

Now, we have access to online stores and can buy merchandise in a worldwide marketplace. Our choices are unlimited. My co-worker, Brenda, found a rare 50th anniversary National Rural Electric Cooperative Association hurricane lamp on E-bay. A few days later, she got a call from one of her neighbors who said, “I’ll just bring it by and refund your postage.” What are the odds that you buy an item off E-Bay and the seller is your neighbor?

The Internet makes our world smaller whether transactions are with a neighbor or someone in another country. Millions of us reconnect with old acquaintances or make new friends on the Internet every day.

How many people do you know that fell in love with a “soulmate” they met online? I watched an NCIS episode where Tony posed as a female to play a trick on McGee who thought he had finally met the perfect “woman”. It sort of reminds you of a Brad Paisley song, doesn’t it? A lot of people need Brad’s disclaimer, “I’m so much cooler online.”

Through Internet searches, I tracked down two of Jim’s old army buddies. When Jim developed dementia, he couldn’t give the information we needed to file a PTSD claim. I turned to the Internet to contact two of the men he served with in Vietnam. One man had a fairly common name, but I found a piece of paper in Jim’s wallet with an address. Of course, it was unlikely he would be in the same hometown twenty-six years later. The other army buddy had an unusual name, but I had no idea where he lived. After some Internet detective work, I discovered one friend had died from alcoholism and the other lived in Maine.

When I began this blog about a year ago, I didn’t expect many people would read it. Last week, my blog was viewed 222 times. Of course, that isn’t much considering I potentially have a worldwide audience, but it’s a lot for someone who grew up in Stover, population 757.

I often receive emails that say, “I just found your blog today.” One of those emails came from my former sister-in-law. Which makes me think…it’s a small, small world after all.
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