Finding the Answers

We live in a golden age.

Sure, there are still people who die every day from hunger, despite there being enough food in the world to feed everyone. Okay, yeah there always seems to be war breaking out. Russia, we’re looking at you. You’re right, political corruption seems to be at an all-time high. Yes, we seem to be slipping back to a time when Nazis were running wild. But at least we live in a golden age where information and answers are at the tip of our fingertips. What a time to be alive!

Let me give you a prime example. Have you ever wondered how peanut butter is made? Buckle up peanut butter cup, ’cause it’s a breeze:

  • Step one: Fire up YouTube.
  • Step two: Search for “How is peanut butter made?”
  • Step three: Watch as many videos as your heart desires until you’re a peanut butter-making pro!

Or, if you have a lot of time on your hands:

  • Step one: Summon the mighty Google.
  • Step two: Search for “How is peanut butter made?”
  • Step three: Dive into a sea of articles until you’ve absorbed all the peanutty knowledge you crave!


  • Step one: Just ask ChatGPT, the wizard of all knowledge, “Tell me how to make peanut butter in the simplest and quickest way!”
  • Step two: Voila! You’re whipping up homemade peanut butter to sell at the farmer’s market like a boss.

It’s that easy.

Did you know that when Betty White was still alive (sadly she didn’t live forever as we all hoped and thought she would) she was older than sliced bread? Literally. I’m not making a “she’s so old joke,” but if I were, it would be funny and factual.

You know how I learned this? I wondered what year she was born. In less than ten seconds I had my answer: 1922.

When was sliced bread created? 1928.

Where am I going with this you may be asking yourself. Well, the point is, nowadays if you have a question or you’re not sure about something, finding the answer is so unbelievably easy. A few keystrokes and you’re there at the doorstep of your answer.

“Back in my day,” said in an old folk’s voice, if you wanted to know something, it was a much harder task.

Again, sticking with peanut butter (hope nobody is allergic) if you wanted to know how it was made you had to:

  • Open your phone book.
  • Find the number to the nearest peanut butter plant.
  • Call the plant’s office.
  • Ask if they give tours. Phew, they give tours! Fantastic! Note down the date and time.
  • Wait till the day and time they’re giving tours.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Wake up early.
  • Wake up the kiddos.
  • Get everyone in the car.
  • Unfurl your map and trace out the quickest route to the factory.
  • Realize that you need a magnifying glass to see this godforsaken map.
  • Retrace the quickest route to the factory.
  • Start your road trip.
  • Halfway there, get a flat tire.
  • Lose interest as you wait for a tow truck.
  • Yell at the kids for getting on your nerves.
  • Yell at your spouse for getting on your nerves.
  • Decide you don’t really care how peanut butter is made.
  • Get a divorce.


  • Go to the library.
  • Sign up for a library card.
  • Go searching for books related to peanuts and the process of making peanut butter.
  • Hope that this type of book isn’t already taken, forcing you to wait for someone else to return it.
  • The book is there! Read it.
  • Answer found.

Maybe even…

  • Ask that pretentious cousin who brags about canning their own vegetables.
  • Spend over two hours on the phone with said cousin.
  • Take copious notes and equal shots of vodka while navigating through the family gossip you’ve thus far been able to avoid just to get to the needed recipe.
  • Spend the next 10 years wondering why your peanut butter always comes out wonky.
  • Finally realize that your cousin doesn’t know how to make peanut butter.

What I’m trying to say is, there’s no excuse to not know things nowadays, especially things that you can easily look up for yourself.

The other day I saw this post in my Agatha Christie Poirot group on Facebook where some young person was confused when a movie star was mentioned in an episode because… they didn’t think there were televisions in Hercule Poirot’s time. So how could they watch a movie?

I digress here for a moment to say that Agatha Christie wrote the Hercule Poirot stories from 1920 to 1972 and, for the most part, they were set in the year in which they were written. The televised adaptations (with the incomparable David Suchet, pictured) were all set in the 1930s (for whatever reason). Now, the TV was invented in 1927, but movies have been around even before then with the first moving picture dating back to 1895. You may not know this (but you should cause…Google), but film and television are also two different things. You don’t need a television to watch films (no, really, it’s true), and they certainly didn’t need them back in the day.

Luckily, someone with much more patience and understanding than me chimed in to explain that yes, there were movies back in the day, but they were called films and they were shown in this thing called a cinema. The original poster ended up laughing at themselves and saying “obviously I’m from the streaming generation.” As if that explained it all away.

I realize that the Facebook group is meant for socializing and whatnot, but why not look up something like this before posting a question for public critique? I mean, for the love of Pete, you have the knowledge of the world at your fingertips. Another person, equally as kind as the first – and loads nicer than me – said there are no stupid questions. Really? Are you sure about that?

All I could think of were the America’s Funniest Videos clips where parents watch their kids struggling with a rotary phone or a rolodex. Rather than feeling “smart,” my having the knowledge that films did and can in fact exist without the need for a television somehow made me feel… old. And that was unexpected.

3 thoughts on “Finding the Answers

  1. There are soooooooooooo many stupid questions! The question is whether or not the entertainment value of mocking and humiliating the questioner is worth the grief we’ll get for doing so.

    The proper peanut butter question isn’t “How’s it made?” (you squish peanuts, duh!) but “Crunchy or smooth?”

  2. I love google!
    I’m so glad it exists now!
    Like you I was born in 1980, and as a kid if I wanted to know something, I either depended on encyclopaedias or adults to tell me!

  3. So, with the, modern day advances in, technology, we don’t have to do, a single thing, which will only, make us all, dumber than the, previous, generations, and, our next generations will get, even, DUMBER than, we are, and, the entire human race is, declining in, overall, intelligence…but hey, who cares, we can always, solicit the “sound advices” of ChatGPT, right???

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