I consider myself fairly tech-savvy under most circumstances. I know my way around my iPad and iPhone and can usually find what ever I’m looking for.
But there are some aspects of using the internet that I rarely take advantage of. For example, there’s YouTube. Now, this particular app at my fingertips is decidedly underused by me.
In fact, I don’t think I ever went to YouTube for anything much until my grandchildren came on the scene. To tell the truth, for the longest time I thought of YouTube as today’s internet answer to MTV – Is this showing my age? I must confess I remember when MTV didn’t exist.
My first encounter with YouTube was to watch things that once would have been fodder for MTV. When grandson Cade, now 12, was barely talking, one of the first things he discovered on my computer (because his parents had showed it to him at their house) was a silly little video entitled “I’m a Banana.” It’s a little ditty in which a guy walks up to a girl in the kitchen and begins with “I’m a banana!” He says it over and over, flashing in subsequent scenes in a banana suit. The gist of the video is just that, this guy bouncing around in this yellow banana suit yelling “I’m a banana ... Look at me move ... I’m a banana ... Banana power... Banana power...” Well, you get the idea. (Later the girl joins in wearing a chicken costume. That’s pretty much all there is to it, but 2-year-old Cade thought its was the funniest video ever.)
Following that, Cade’s parents were obviously more into the music offered on YouTube than I. Cade quickly learned the words to “I Will Not Bow, I Will Not Break” by Breaking Benjamin," and because he would ask me to play it over and over, I learned the lyrics, as well. We would watch the video and sing along at the top of our lungs. It was great fun.
But that was pretty much the extent of my use of YouTube.
As more grandchildren came along, I still mostly used the app at their bidding. When granddaughter Pearce, now 7, was just learning to talk and walk, she, too, found a favorite. She would dance to “The Gummy Bear Song” for as long as I was willing to play it – the song is about four minutes long, and she’d dance easily 30 minutes if you kept repeating the song.
But again, that was the extent of my YouTube use.
I think perhaps the first time I searched for something I, personally, wanted to see was when Darius Rucker recorded the song “Possibilities,” written by our own Turner Simkins and eventually recorded as a St. Jude promo – in recognition of the possibilities that came as a result of the fine care and concern given to Turner’s middle son, Brennan, when cancer threatened the youth’s life more than once. That video made me a fan of the former member of Hootie and the Blowfish. And I found myself this past Christmas seeking out Rucker’s new Holiday song, “What God Wants for Christmas.”
But over the last six months I have been reminded time and time again what a great source of random information the internet – and particularly YouTube – can be.
First, I took a class on Protestant Reformers at USCA’s Academy of Lifelong Learning last spring. The professor referenced a number of short videos on John Calvin, Martin Luther and the like, and all of those were readily available on YouTube.
You can find any number of full-length movies on YouTube, as well.
And last week I was able to watch all of the commercials that appeared on the Super Bowl 2020 game, without watching a single minute of the game itself. I have to say I’m glad I didn’t waste my time on the game. In my view, this year the commercials weren’t even worth my time. Well, there may have been one or two, most notable the Google “Loretta” commercial – “how to not forget ... show me photos of Loretta ... remember Loretta loved going to Alaska ... play our favorite movie ... remember I’m the luckiest man in the world.” If this one doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, there’s something wrong with you.
But I have now discovered what a wealth of information is out there on how to do all sorts of random things.
First, I threw a car phone charger base (without the cord attached) in a central bin that opens below the heater and radio controls in my car. The base flipped out of the bin and behind it. I might have ignored it, but where the charger landed, it kept the bin from closing. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my relationship with this vehicle having the bin open – partly because it was blocking where I usually stow my purse – so I had to find a way. Enter YouTube and “how to remove the utility tray on a Honda Odyssey.” While I was never able to remove the bin in question, the video showed me how to remove the side panel, which then gave me access to the spot where the charger had landed.
But over the weekend, I was truly singing YouTube’s praises. I bought a shirt for Cat for her birthday at a store in Mullins Crossing (at the end of the world, in my view), a shop that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the CSRA. But when I started to wrap the gift on Sunday afternoon, I realized the clerk had not removed the security tab – you know, one of those long plastic things with a button that has a metal prong that slips into it, designed to discourage someone from stealing said item. I was furious. The last thing I wanted to do was to drive way out there to get the tab removed. So I tried YouTube. I looked up “How to remove a security tag,” and at least three videos came up. One was concerned about potential dye packet and depended on making enough space to slip wire cutters between the garment and the security tag. I was afraid I’d end up snipping the fabric. But the second video worked like a charm. It said to use a fire starter to melt the plastic casing over the “hump” in the tag. Once that was done, it said to remove the spring that appears there and the central prong should release. While it wasn’t quite as easy as they suggested, after I pulled out all the metal casings around the prong, it loosened everything, and the tag came apart. Success!
So now you know. (I share this to save frustration, not to help shoplifters get the tag off of ill-gotten gains.)
The internet is indeed not all bad.