Saturday, September 25, 2004

Googling Yourself into Humility

It may be the most fundamental of human experiences to find one's purpose, one's raison d'etre. Why am I here? What is the Big Man Upstairs' purpose for me? I got a wild hair and decided to see if Al Gore's patented internet machine could help me answer this question. After all, I have a blog now. I'm somebody dammit! There must be something on the World Wide Web that could be affirmation of my significance.

Only the fine people at Google could help me.

I decided to start by searching for images. Not only are they easier to look at than words, but I figure it would only take a moment of recognition for me to spot if my place on the Infobahn was secure. After all, I spend probably 5% of my day looking into the mirror. What I found was shocking.

Oh sure, there are lots of Bill Shannon's in the world. And I mean lots. I mean, for goodness's sake, the priest who baptised me was named Monsignor William H. Shannon, just like me! (The "Monsignor" part was a title he later acquired. But wouldn't that have been a coincidence if that was his birth name? Or perhaps it would have been destiny!) But there really is one me. But how do I distinguish myself from all those many who have come before me? Why, by seeing who has more hits, that's how!

Unfortunately, adhering to that criteria has proven remarkably disheartening. Let me introduce you to some of the other Bill Shannon's I've met. Sure, we haven't seen each other face-to-face, but I feel as if I know them. First, there's Coach Bill Shannon, Head Coach of the Mercyhurst College Men's Hockey program. Since the 1998-99 season, Coach Shannon has amassed a .671 winning percentage. That means he's won more than 2 of every 3 games! Way to go coach! Stiff competition already, I can tell.

Next up is Watertown, New York's Bill Shannon, is a WWII Navy Cross winner, elite high school athlete in both baseball and hockey, and father of seven children! Children with which he probably even keeps in contact! How can I live up to this?

But the most important Shannon (empirically proven by most web hits) is Bill "CrutchMaster" Shannon, "a disabled choreographer and dancer, [who] delivered a refreshing, street-style breakdancing and skateboarding presentation on crutches to a sold-out audience" at the University of Houston Clear Lake not long ago. This guy is the King of Bill Shannons. His fans are legion. This guy does old-school dance moves on crutches that Chicago's own TNT2000 has trouble with on two good legs. Even if I learned the exact same skill and went out today and started doing this crutch dancing, it would take me years to amass the number of website articles that "CrutchMaster" has.

There are tons of Bill Shannons out there that are doing so much more than I. William "Bill" Lee Shannon runs a successful funeral home. Dirt Fans know Bill Shannon as a flagman at Brown County Ohio, Lawrenceburg Indiana, Whitewater Valley (Union County), Indiana, Tri County(Queen City)Ohio, Springfield Ohio, and Florence Kentucky Speedways. Stuntman Bill "Billy" Shannon did stunts for Spartacus, The Wild Bunch, Magnum Force and Blazing Saddles before his untimely death in 1981.

Imagine if they had a convention of Bill Shannons. Would I even be invited? What if I was? When the awards came out, would I win one? Would all the Bill Shannons swap stories about beating the University of Rochester in the 2003 Division 3 College Hockey Finals? Or about falling off a horse so that Tony Curtis didn't have to? Or being considered part of The Greatest Generation? Or doing Boogaloo Shrimp-like breakdance moves on durable medical equipment? What would I say? What would I say?!

"Uh, hi, I'm Bill. Well obviously! Ha ha... uhmmm.. I have over 500 CDs and tapes of rap music. I do a pretty decent Sean Connery impression. I'll do it for you later if you want. I can fall asleep anywhere, on any surface. Let's see... afraid of heights. Been to games in all four major sports, except the NBA. Hmmm... oh! Bad with directions. Unhealthy index-card categorization fixation. That's about it. So anyway 'Bill,' is your job anything like that show Six Feet Under?"

I've gotta do something with my life, pronto. Or at least get my name on the internet.

1 comment:

Ban-dingo said...


You may all be Bill Shannons, but you're still the only "Bungalow" Bill Shannon I know. And in this wacky work-a-day world, who's to say that's not good enough?