Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is It Just Me...

… or is January shit? No energy, no sunshine, no very good grammer and no clever way of introducing the thing I sent to the newspaper this week so… here it is.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it but it’s a fairly regular occurrence for me to conduct a conversation with a woman and not have the slightest clue as to what she’s talking about. Normally I’ll just nod and agree and throw in a little fake laugh now and again in the hope that I can eventually steer the discussion round to a topic with which I’m familiar. Like pizza for example. Or Angelina Jolie. Or the technical specifications of the Death Star.

So you can imagine my discomfort last week when an old friend sidled up to me and asked, “Have you googled yourself recently?” As the question hung in the air, the first hint of a smile started to form at the corner of her mouth as if she already knew what the answer would be. Still unsure as to what she meant, my mind started to contemplate the likelihood that she had broken into my house to install hidden cameras and was now armed with reels of video tape containing all manner of compromising activities.

As I played for time by inducing a phony coughing fit, she continued with her devious feminine wordplay by adding, “Because I googled you last weekend. And fascinating it was too.”

“That’s weird,” I thought, in between all the coughing and spluttering. “I avoided the binge drinking last weekend so I’m sure I would have remembered such a delicious-sounding interaction.”

Sensing my desperate attempts to divert the chat to the merits of the anchovy as a pizza ingredient, she eventually put me out of my misery by explaining that she had typed my name into Google, the internet search engine, to see if I existed anywhere on the World Wide Web. The next night, I carried out the same exercise and what a thoroughly depressing journey it turned out to be.

The search resulted in just over 1.9 million entries for ‘Neil Sutherland’ and all but a handful (estate agents mainly) seemed to be doing far more exciting and rewarding things with their lives than I.

Take, for example, Neil Sutherland the professional photographer who seems to account for almost a million of the internet references on his own, such has been his success in having his work displayed around the world and in an endless series of books available at Amazon.com.

Then there was Neil Sutherland, the famous Australian composer who swept the board at the Screen Music awards in Melbourne last year. I wondered if he might be one of those annoying types who are good at everything they turn their hand to when I read that Neil Sutherland, the champion sailor and Neil Sutherland, the prize winning cyclist, also reside down under. At home too, Neil Sutherlands everywhere seemed to be showered with confetti-like plaudits for their work as award winning architects or highly respected designers of Highland homes.

As I ploughed through the success stories, I felt the urge to become a different Neil Sutherland and wallow in some of the fun and accolades that these other Neils seemed to be experiencing. Even the life of Neil Sutherland, Chairman of the Milton Keynes War Games Society (Meetings every Thursday, 7pm sharp - bring your own army!), seemed to be one full of daredevil risk and thrilling adventure. And at least my extensive knowledge of the Death Star would come in handy.

So be warned. Playing with the internet can be diverting and informative at times but googling yourself could lead to some serious identity envy and feelings of inadequacy. Especially if your name happens to be Angelina. Or Brad.

P.S. The original ending for this piece was much funnier (honest) as it included an alternative use for your time rather than googling yourself. Don’t think the paper would’ve printed it though.


At 17/1/06 11:15 am, Blogger DC said...

Neil ,

Maybe it's(?) just you.

Is a Blueyonder search the same as a Google? Anyhoo that's what I did for your goodself :

- 141000 results,
- 1st result- photographer in Sussex,

- 2nd result - estate agent - if you are an ex-pupil/friend/associte/family member Neil, ( as an former pupil), will give 5% to Coombe Road School - what a guy! WHY?

- 3rd result - some self proclaimed relocation expert from Atlanta - who cares?

- 4th result- some columnist for The Daily Record ( Scotland's best selling daily newspaper)

- 5th result - some street-smart writer for The Daily Record ( favourite read for those only interested in Rangers Football Club) ,

- 6th result - some world traveller type saddo going through some kind of identity crisis, searching for Starbucks & pizza in the 4 corners of Planet Earth,

- 7th result - blogger profile 41, Dragon, lapsed banker, loves Starbucks , Stella & pizza,

- 8th resu......................

Got bored with estate agents/ photographers/ academics etc & did what I should not have done ...

Search ... donald campbell,

Result..... wait for it.. wait for it.....


Ta, Ta


At 21/1/06 12:48 am, Blogger Gunnella said...

What an excellent bblog/article had me rolling around laughing ;-9 as well as yahooing myself, *pulls on a showoffie face* nannnannnannnnaaa the firts sixt refrences are all directly linked to me ;-) Fame......of a rather depressing sorts ;-P

At 23/1/06 12:54 pm, Blogger Stuart Sutherland said...




and you're less likely to be presented with triathlete, trisexual, vegan, action hero, mountain climbing, emotionally sensitive, golf pro, celebrity Neil Sutherlands in the mix.

At 29/10/06 12:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The estate agent Neil Sutherland is a real-life philanthropist. He went to Coombe Road School as a boy, and now donates regular sums to our PTA from his sales commission. He's a good guy.
Janice, Deputy Head, Coombe Road School


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