HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I try not to Google stuff. I really try. I know it’s better to keep my brain remembering on its own, to keep it is top-notch thinking shape, to keep that retrieval system well-oiled and nimble.
So when people ask—was it “we must love one another OR die”? Or “… love one another AND die”? Were there characters on Captain Kangaroo called “Littles?” What was the name of the flying bird/animal thing in Harry Potter? What’s the ball in Quidditch?
You know what happens—people dive for their iPhones and start looking stuff up.
And it’s so gratifying when you can retrieve it! I had to get to S, but--The SNITCH! (Ha! Take that, brain.)
But sometimes, there’s no other way than to look it up—a bet, for instance. Or a bit of info that you cannot “retrieve,” because you simply never knew it. (Which is kind of wonderful, isn’t it? Because then, you’re off the hook. No guilty-brained fear of-whoa, I used to know that. Why don’t I know it NOW?)
And I burst out laughing when my “history” popped up. Because it’s the funniest list! Almost like a history of my social encounters and questions and thought processes for the period of time before the history is full and falls off the screen.
Here’s my current search history from my phone. (I have redacted a couple of things, basically the number of times I checked my Amazon numbers, because you know I never do that.)
we must love one another or die
Goldfish song commercial
A song for goldfish
Three graves full
Beany and Cecil
Giant turkey legs
Miami station fakes live report
Isn’t that hilarious?
The first numbers are from a book I was reading. I thought they might be a clue, and more than that I cannot say unless the author says I can. So I’ll just go on from there.
The Auden line is from Laura Lippmann’s brilliant keynote speech at Sleuthfest. I remembered having a big conversation with my favorite high school English teacher, Mr. Thornburg (are you out there?) about whether it was AND die or OR die. Turns out, it was OR die, until Auden rethought the whole thing years later, and decided to change it. That’s pretty fascinating. Talk about revisions.
Linda Fairstein? Another Sleuthfest look-up—she donated a critique in the auction, and, as the auctioneer, I was quickly researching how many books she’s written and how often she’d been on the NY Times list, and when her new book TERMINAL CITY was coming out. (The critique went for BIG bucks.)
Goldfish song commercial and A Song for Goldfish? I has having dinner with Lisa Unger (and her darling husband Jeff) and Jennifer McMahon (her darling self) and we were talking about how Jennifer and Lisa’s daughters both love goldfish, and I said, remember that great goldfish commercial?
And we all did, that it existed at least, but there’s nothing harder than trying to sing the goldfish song while blary music (it was a Mexican restaurant, what would it have been?) is blasting over the sound system. And, though right now I could sing you the whole jingle (Here’s a song for goldfish, we wrote a song for goldfish), at that moment, over music and margaritas, it was impossible. So I had to look it up. (I never really found the one I was looking for. But now I’ve remembered. On my OWN. Ha!)
Three Graves Full is, of course, Jamie Mason’s much-buzzed, much-lauded novel, which (embarrassed) I haven’t read yet, so had to order instantly.
Beany and Cecil—we were talking about favorite cartoons, and I mentioned B and C. Someone I was talking to (I won’t say who) had no idea, so I was obligated to come up with the photo. I tried to show them an entire cartoon, but inexplicably, they didn’t hang around to see it.
Giant turkey legs. Well, we were in Orlando, and what are those things anyway? According to Google, they’re either actual BIG BIG turkey legs (which engendered a whole “how do they walk,, then?” conversation,) or turkey meat smooched onto pig ones (really?) or emu legs (a myth.)
And “Miam Station fakes live report” was a click-through from a journalism newsletter. My new book, TRUTH BE TOLD, is about a reporter who makes stuff up. So I am always interested in this .
My search history. A little walk down mind-memory lane. I love it!
What’s in your history? Go look, and then tell me.
A copy of THE OTHER WOMAN to one lucky commenter!
(And the flying thing in Harry Potter was a Hippogriff. What was its name, though….? Lisa and Jeff Unger, I know you know!)