Much Ado About Netting

Sometimes I let my mind wander. Not the way one lets a dog out into the yard or a newly-wed lets their partner hang out with old friends. There is no fence when my mind wanders. No phone call when the sun goes down to inquire its current location or when it’s coming home and if it could pick up milk on the way back. I let my mind go and dutifully waits for it to come home, like a wife waits for her partner to return from a tour of duty. Now that I have a blog, I feel compelled to share the details of its most recent trek.

You, me and everyone’s grandmother are familiar with the word network. That’s right. You too, reader of undetermined age or gender, must be familiar with the word simply because you are reading these words. You (or someone else) found where I placed it on the Internet and through undetermined steps since then, you are now reading it. According to Wikipedia, the Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. Which means my network is connected to your network and our networks worked to get this post on the screen you’re reading it on. Or paper, if you’re the kind that likes to print things. I’m not judging you. My point is there’s no way you’re reading this that isn’t a result of networks working.

I’m in the process of learning Japanese. I’m at the stage where I can identify individual letters, but not words. Japanese people don’t use spaces in their sentences. Don’t ask me why. I’m still at the stage where the method behind their madness is eluding me. A side-effect of their spaceless writing is I spend a ridiculous amount of time dissecting every word that is a combination of other words. For example, Wednesday is 水曜日. 日 is the character for sun or day. Makes sense so far. But why is the word ice (水) part of the word Wednesday?? I challenged myself to learn Japanese so I’m not backing down. Not in the face of utter madness.

My mind started trying to dissect the word network. “It’s obviously a product of the word net and work“, you’re thinking. You’re clearly cut out to learn Japanese too, I’m thinking.

Wikipedia says a net is a device (!!!) made of fibers and woven in a grid-like structure. It blocks the passage of large items while letting small items and fluids through.

In other words, a net is a grid and the work it performs is catching objects of predetermined size. A net’s work is catching. Network is catching.

It’s important you know the size of what you want your net to catch. Fishnet stockings, for example, don’t catch leg hair. They catch the attention of perverts, who are bigger than the proverbial and literal plenty of fish in the sea. If you want to catch a non-pervert (fish or man), fishnet stockings are not the best net to use.

Social networks are designed to catch all things social. Nobody wants to be caught, though. Not even social people. They tend to revolt when they see how much of their social activity has been captured by networks. But that is what networks do. They catch things.

Every creature on this planet is wary of nets and their work. Builders of nets strive for transparency. Spiders build their net from hard-to-see materials. Flies fly right into a spider’s net and the net works. Credit card companies build a net out of hard-to-see materials. High school graduates fly right into the net and the net works. They might escape from the net just in time to warn their own kids, but only the sharpest of kids see the net and avoid its work. The rest become haplessly tangled in it.

I think I’m unwittingly giving nets a bad image. They aren’t bad. It’s just that their work is valuable to all sorts of people, good and bad.

Firemen and trapeze artists rely on nets to provide safety to their often dangerous work. They aren’t bad people. Their work isn’t bad either. Many governments provide social safety nets. I can’t say if these governments are good or bad, but they are doing tremendously good work with these specific nets. I won’t comment on other nets they use, like stuxnet. All I’ll say is they had no desire to catch stux.

I like the Internet. The Cartoon Network website caught me as a child and I challenged myself to design for the Internet. I sift through other people’s nets and find funny pics, interesting comments, videos (all legally, Internet Police; nothing to see here), music (also legally) and articles. The Internet is a major contributor to the type of person I am and what I do. You can even say I wouldn’t be doing what I do without it.

I was caught by the Cartoon Network’s net’s work and my life has forever been changed.

The next time you get caught in a net of some sort, don’t get annoyed. Take a moment and think carefully. You might find sheer delight and a lucrative career path in it. If anybody disagrees with you on this, tell them to come to me. I’ll win them over to the net side.