Oh, dear me, I have had too much fun sitting at the computer with French Ferguson today. He’s never been webbing and the entire thing has captivated him and set off an endless string of requests.
I suspect I’ll either get over this electronic sloth that has kept me out of the shop, or I’ll soon be destitute. But, oh, the irresistibility of it all.
French has a difficult time speaking in a way that anyone who does not know him could ever understand. However, I am a trained Frenchologist. We sat side-by-side at the desk and I did not care about his typical odor. I am used to it, I suppose. Instead, I got us beers and I set to showing him this window on the universe.
His fascination with the instant capability of Google to deliver material off of virtually any request he could make was the stuff of a little kid seeing a very good illusionist at work. Rapture, plain and simple.
What a joy to see this moss covered grub of a fine human sitting here with the wonderment of a child, cold beer in his right hand, gesturing with his left, the light of the Angels in his “eyees,” his free hand pushing his unkempt hair back out of his face just before he’d take a healthy pull on his brew.
He would say to me things like, “Ehhhh, Taggs, kin uwe check to see wad da tempersure izz in Chesterfeeeld? (Chesterfield is a place just below the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Eastern Canada, the Native regions where so many British expeditions insanely searched for the Northwest Passage and perished centuries ago.) My brodder is widd da fish up dere, still, I tink.” (French hails from the east and his brother is a cold water fisheries policeman.)
My God, I got the temperature in Chesterfield and Baffin Bay in 15 seconds and Frenchie was stunned!
“Look, Frenchie, it’s all the way up to minus 16 (celsius, which is minus 3.2 degrees F.),” I said.
“So, izz is preddy dammned cold, eh?” he asked, just shaking his head in disbelief at what he was watching. “Ehh, Taggs, izz dis here for reeel? Dis ting here, how can dis be, widdout no radio for to tell us wadd da tempersure is over dere? Man, cold dere, ehh?”
“Yes, Frenchie, this is real. That’s how cold it is in Chesterfield right now. Pretty damned cold.”
Oh, the bloody wonderment of it all. What a joy, his expression!
My favourite request was this – “Eh, Taggs, wadd is da biggest fish in da whole world?”
I typed in his question and this is what we got:
updated 2:01 p.m. MT, Fri., July. 1, 2005
Thai fishermen netted a catfish as big as a grizzly bear, setting a world record for the largest freshwater fish ever found, according to researchers who studied the 646-pound Mekong giant catfish as part of a project to protect large freshwater fish.
“It’s amazing to think that giants like this still swim in some of the world’s rivers,” project leader Zeb Hogan said in a statement. “We’ve now confirmed now that this catfish is the current record holder, an astonishing find.”
Others have made claims of finding larger sturgeon, but the International Game Fishing Association says the largest sturgeon on record is 468 pounds. That fish has also held the record for largest freshwater fish caught.
Pictures accompanied the item. Frenchie leaned forward in amazement. “Ha! As big as de grizzley bear! Ha! Lookie dere at dat. Man, dat’s a big ugly one dere, ehh?”
He laughed so hard, pointing at the huge fish on the screen, I nearly fell out of my seat. Bonefish and Elliefish, the “daags,” as Frenchie calls them, got very excited.
“Oh, damn,” he said, “I sure hope dey eat ‘im so he don’t be goin’ to no waste,” Frenchie said. “But, oh man, bigger den da grizzley.”
He laughed again, slapped his knee, the “daags” spun around and wagged their tails like windmills. We drank our beers and got two more.
We were having a party!
“Okay, den, dats a fresh wadder fish. Waz da biggest fish in da whole sea?” Frenchie asked.
“Well, let’s have a look,” I said.
I typed in “the biggest fish in the sea” and hit the button.
The answer: the whale shark, followed by the basking shark. The largest bony fish is the ocean sunfish.
But, what caught Frenchie’s eye was a description down the Google page of a boy who caught the “biggest fish in the sea,” but then “the fish ate the boy, his family and the boy’s whole town,” according to the little bit of type they have on these Google things that pop up.
“Taggs! Did ya see dat? I wand to see dat!”
I clicked on the item and a web spot popped up.
It turned out to be a description of a child’s book called “The Biggest Fish In The Sea” by an author named Dahlov Ipcar. One could buy the book off this web spot, if one were so inclined.
“Ohhh, Taggs, I got ta reeed dat one, ehh?”
As I said, joy…