I am terrified of Chinese people

It all started when someone discovered that if you typed “i am terrified” into Google and waited for the list of suggestions to appear, the first one on that list was going to be “i am terrified of chinese people”. There are loads of pages about the phenomenon, tackling it along the lines of “have a laugh mate and that’s that”.

Nobody seems to ask the obvious quesiton though: why is this such a popular search? If you actually run it, you get several copies of a solitary racist article written by extremely thick people in the finest traditions of racist pamphlets, including the mandatory anacrusis: “I am not racist, but”. Apart from that, there are…no prizes for guessing…yes, hundreds of websites pointing out how funny it is that this is Google’s first suggestion, thus perpetuating the joke. Nice. Hundreds plus one now. Oh, well.

But enough about Chinese people, reading search phrase suggestions offers much better entertainment than that, provided that you have a sufficiently sad life and your expectations are low enough. It’s a web 2.0 Klondike to people desperate for a laugh, starting off almost any question can lead to the discovery of something amusing! Or at the very least, the fact that there’s a barrage of questions on pregnancy, most of them alarmingly stupid. (On a sidenote: it would be interesting to see a proper study about these questions, which, I believe, represent the fears and beliefs of teenagers more precisely than any anonymous survey ever did.)

Out of all the silly and absurd phrases encountered “When do I harvest potatoes?” is the one that caught my imagination the most, however.

You planted your potatoes several months ago, right? You’ve been waiting and waiting. You’re growing a bit impatient, sitting in your muddy boots at the computer when suddenly it strikes you that you haven’t got the faintest idea as to when to harvest them.

Okay, I admit, it’s not that funny after all.

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