Robert Lalah, lalah landWhat? You didn't know that St Elizabeth, that beautiful place down south where the sweetest melons grow, was named for Lady Elizabeth Modyford, wife of Governor Sir Thomas Modyford?
Why, that's elementary.
And what's that again? You believe Trelawny was so named because it has a lot of trees and well-kept lawns? Tsk tsk. I'll have you know the parish of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Usain Bolt and the like got its name from Sir William Trelawny, a one-time governor of Jamaica.
You really should brush up on your local facts, you know. 'Tis an embarrassment to be so uninformed.
All right, all right. I'm just teasing. Nobody really has this sort of information on the tip of his tongue. Well, nobody I know, anyway (that might be saying something about the company I keep). The ruse I have orchestrated here is quite simple. I checked it on the Internet then pretended I knew it all along. A vile indiscretion? Maybe. But it's quickly becoming the way of the world.
KNOWLEDGE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Think about it. Being alive in 2012 has a lot of perks, and one of them surely is the accessibility of random, interesting, though often useless information. Say you're having tea with the Queen at 3 p.m. (it could happen!) and realise around noon that you and Her Majesty roll in completely different circles. She's palaces and stagecoaches, you're apartments and station wagons. Whatever will you two talk about?
Not to worry, all you have to do is hit up Google about an hour before the shindig and you can learn all there is to know about hats and crumpets, in time to make a lasting impression. By the end of the get-together, the Queen will no doubt be so impressed, she'll let you slide down the banisters at Buckingham Palace in your unmentionables (now I'm jealous).
Information at your fingertips. Now that's where it's at. What a privilege it is to be able to pretend to know things you really don't. Sites like Wikipedia and Ask.com have been a godsend for the sub-genius masses for a few years now. And we're grateful.
I'll admit, the info I quoted at the top, about Lady Modyford and what not, was news to me when I read it on diG Jamaica last week. And there were other things, too. Lots of other things. I was clicking around on the site for only a few minutes and my head nearly popped open from all the facts being stuffed in.
There's important information on how to do things like renew a passport, and report a robbery. There are charts on Jamaica's economic performance over the years and documents of all sorts. And then there are things you'd never think to ask for, but could prove useful, or at least impressive to those around you.
Say you needed to urgently contact the library at the Department of Cooperative and Friendly Societies (perhaps to check who didn't tell their neighbour good morning on October 12, 1997), the site actually lists the contact information, including the name, number and email address of a point person at the library.
I can hardly wait for the opportunity to make use of all that I now know because of just a few minutes of web browsing. And I'm sure I'm not alone. It will be even sweeter now that there's diG Jamaica. The skullduggery can be localised.
But I must go now. I'm fixing to travel to Mandeville to tend to some personal affairs and I insist on getting there early, before the afternoon crowds converge in the town centre. You see, with a population of 191,378, Mandeville is known to get a bit congested at times. But then you already knew that, right?
Robert Lalah is assistant editor - features and author of the popular Tuesday fare, 'Roving with Lalah'. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.