When it comes to news, the Internet can’t hold a candle to newspapers. This long time media that has served humanity faithfully since Gutenberg printed the good book is still the best.
Recently I picked up bits and pieces about a certain issue. And even though I loathed it ten years ago, five years ago and even a year ago, I still turned to the Internet. Hoping it has improved since then was only wishful thinking. It hasn’t, and I still loathe it.
Regardless of how they occur, when reading news nothing is more annoying than interruptions. And so to me, that’s what news on the Internet is, one mass of interruptions. While this doesn’t apply to a column, I was always taught when writing a news story to make your point in the first paragraph and then add details. This way an editor can trim minor data from the end in order to fit the available space.
With exaggerated headlines, the Internet screams in caps and bold print: YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT SCARED THIS LADY STIFF CROSSING HER PATH.
And then a photo appears. It’s the back of a woman with hands in the air looking as if she’s suffering from a bad hair day. Her follicles extend in all directions as if she was experiencing a moment of deadly fright. There’s a lead-in sentence or two just to keep you interested, but no more.
So you click open the next "page" and the tease begins. In addition to being as vague with the story line as possible, on both sides of the page along the top and at the bottom are more advertisements than acorns on an oak.
Nevertheless, you try reading. After all, your curiosity has peaked trying to figure out what crossed this women’s path. Two lines later you’re interrupted again with advertisement. Ignoring it, you continue scrolling.
With a deep hankering to satisfy that curiosity, and with hopes of reaching the promised land, you plod onward. But one more interruption directs you to click the next page.
By now your interest is waning. Nevertheless, from little on up you’ve been taught that when the going gets rough for everyone else, it’s still just right for you. Knowing that if you quit you’ll never reach your goal, you persevere, and clicking page number four you trudge on.
Scrolling down, you’re happily shocked at the few interruptions. Eureka! You don’t see many ads and just may be home free. At last you’ll discover what has the lady on pins and needles that tries crossing the path.
You get through the first run on sentence that takes up almost a quarter of a page. Halfway through the next sentence it strikes. You’re flabbergasted!
An annoying pop-up ad appears; a questionnaire inviting you to take a moment to answer a few questions about their Internet service. By doing so, you could win a gift that’s worth between $50 and $100. Immediately you search the box for the ‘X’ to exit and get on with the story. Not surprisingly, there is none. The only choice you have is to answer their query and hope they put you back on the same page.
Midway through the questionnaire the screen goes blank. A message apologizes for the interruption caused by an error, and to try again.
I never did find out what gifts they had for me, nor what it was that scared the lady half out of her wits.
But I reached for my newspaper and said a silent prayer thanking Divine Providence for the black ink print stain that darkened my finger tips and vowed it’ll be a cold, frigid day at the equator before I ever change.
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