Last week I was in my local big box bookstore which of late, to be honest, seems to have morphed into a purveyor of fashion and home decor and, now that I think about it, makes what I learned at the conference about matching books to my paint colour evermore useful. But already, I digress. As I was walking past one of those tables laden with “books you might like by subject” I was struck by the bright red lettering of one titled “The Day My Brain Exploded”. Beside the title was a cartoon-like picture of a bomb primed to detonate. My first thought was “What’s to write about? I feel like that almost everyday!” Of course, my curiosity got the best of me and so it was that I learned this particular title was more literal than figurative as the author recounts his life story of survival after a cerebral hemorrhage with, as the jacket tells me, humour. I guess that was a good enough reason for the publisher to have included the little “bomb” thing on the cover. Having dealt with the requisite guilt of making light, if only in my own mind, of this literary work I had to admit that, as my week progressed, the title stuck with me. In fact, as I continued to mull it over I realized that it provides a remarkably accurate description of how I feel a good deal of the time.
This feeling of mine became particularly intense during a recent 2 hour workshop I attended that promised to help me learn everything I need to know about Google Docs and in so doing, inevitably make my life immeasurably more productive, if not better. And this, I am led to believe, will be simple to accomplish as all I have to do is learn how to use Google Docs the “right way”. Now if you have learned nothing else from this blog you surely know that, as a shallow person I like things to be simple. I mean if I had to boil it down, along with being irreverent (see paragraph above) the one most important piece of advice I can give to those who aspire to this way of life is to keep things simple. And by simple I mean, not complicated. (Please note: I throw in these little tidbits of advice to meet one of the mandates of this blog which is to help others help themselves become more shallow). So I had high hopes as I walked into the workshop and my friend the trainer, who I must admit is perhaps just a tad overly enthusiastic about the possibilities of this suite of online tools, began sharing with us his extensive knowledge of all things Google.
Now I’m no slouch when it comes to technology as the use of it contributes substantially to my standard of living. And I’m open and willing to learn new things. Not only that, but I figure I’m kind of a Google Docs expert since I use it to write this blog. You see it allows me to access my document from anywhere which is important because I never know where I’ll be when a shallow thought strikes me. So when I sat down in my chair I was optimistic that I would be leaving with new ideas on how to simplify the work that I do, and by so doing, my life. And for the first few minutes he had me hooked as he explained how I would no longer need to share a document by attaching it to an email message and sending it to the many people who need to see it. Sounds good to me so far. I can use Google Docs to share stuff. Ok. Of course, in order to really make this work he suggested that I set up a Google Group and a Google Site so that I can put my Google Doc in the Google Site and then proceed to share it with my Google Group. He warns however, that I could run into trouble finding the Google Doc that I want to share with my Google Group so, to avoid this inconvenience, I should create a set of naming conventions to share with the members of my Google Group in order to ensure that I can find said document by searching, using boolean logic, through the potentially thousands of Google Docs I will accumulate in my Google Drive.
That’s when it happened. My brain exploded. At which time I turned to my neighbour and asked “what the heck is he talking about?” using not exactly those words. Because at this point it seemed to me that it was all pretty complicated and the better option would have been that attachment to the email we talked about at the start. Now don’t get me wrong. This revelation had nothing to do with the trainer who was very skilled in his craft and I am sure that the others in the room benefitted greatly from his knowledge. But I’m a shallow person who likes things to be simple and this simply was not.
Having thought about it for a day or two I’ve made a decision. From now on, if you want to share something with me, just give me a call…on my landline. And if you don’t know my number, you can probably google it.