I used to be a well-spring of useless knowledge.
Actually, in the past, it was kinda useful. Friends and family would call me up, and ask me something – anything – such as “Who was that French Canadian guy you said that swore on the radio in his rookie season, you know the one who didn’t know English yet and his teammates told him what words to use? And one of them was ‘$#!%?'”*
No one calls me for stuff like that anymore. They just Google it on their iphones.
Today, I meant to enter “Buffalo Sabres” into Google, and mistakenly typed in “Buffalo buffalo.” The drop-down search hints included “buffalo buffalo buffalo.” Right under that drop down box, as the first selection on the search engine, was a website entitled “buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.” Interesting.
I wasn’t looking for this. I didn’t even know that this particular useless information existed. I immediately clicked on that site to find out what it was that I was missing out on.
Turns out that “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is actually a grammatically correct sentence. Really.
The explanation, if you want it, is as follows.
- [Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [whom] (Buffalo buffalo) buffalo, buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
- [Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.
- Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community, also happen to intimidate other bison in their community.
- THE buffalo FROM Buffalo WHO ARE buffaloed BY buffalo FROM Buffalo, buffalo (verb) OTHER buffalo FROM Buffalo.
Ok. I can’t argue with that. Besides, a guy from Buffalo came up with this – William J. Rapaport introduced the sentence to the English-speaking world in 1972, when he was an associate professor at UB. Another feather in our fine city’s cap.
Still, as I read through this weirdness, I realized that my own well spring of useless information has become obsolete. My friends and family no longer need to rely on me when they need to know what that thing that hangs down in the back of our throats is called,** or if they can’t remember the name of that actor, you know, the odd-looking guy in Reservoir Dogs, and The Big Lebowski, and Desperado.*** Heck, I don’t even need to rely on me either.
All I have to do is go back to Google, and type in “useless.” That’s all anyone has to do now. “Useless facts,” “useless trivia,” “useless information,” and “useless knowledge” all immediately appear in the drop down menu.
There’s plenty of websites to choose them, and unlike me, they are categorized. They even have links, and pictures. There’s no way I can compete with all of that.
Sure, I guess it’s more convenient.
But it just makes me feel a little buffaloed.
*** Steve Buscemi! Why does everyone always forget his name, anyway?
**It’s a “uvula!” And watch out, if you mess with it, it will trigger your gag reflex.
*The answer to that one is Donald Audette, who responded to a reporter about being knocked around during a game “That kind of ‘$#!%,’ it happens.” At least that is one thing you can’t look up on Google. That is, until I publish this post…