Why Can't Ohio and Florida Find Love?

Google does something cool whenever you perform a search. As you start to type in the search bar, Google will use its Autocomplete function to predict what you're typing and suggest a related topic.

For example, if I'm in Louisville, and I type "Molly," Google will suggest "Molly Malone's," the name of my favorite Irish restaurant in Louisville.

It will also suggest Molly Ringwald, my favorite 1980s redhead actress, and Molly Bloom, my favorite female poker player to be arrested for her involvement in a $100 million poker ring.

I have oddly specific categories of things I like.

A lot of these Autocomplete suggestions are based on other searches people have done. That is, the more people search for a topic, the more likely that topic will show up in Autocomplete.

As I was writing this, I typed "I punched" and was given several suggestions like "I punched a wall," "I punched myself in the head," "I punched a Nazi," and "I punched my music teacher in the face." This means that not only have several people punched walls, but there are a shocking number of people punching themselves, Nazis, and music teachers.

Which was surprising because I figured the algebra teachers had it coming.

Google keeps track of all these searches, plus all the other things you search for when no one is looking. And according to a recent story from New York City's NBC news station, there are a lot of people searching for answers to some unusual questions.

According to the story, AT&T has tabulated the top "why do" questions people asked Google, and listed the top questions asked the most by each state.

For example, Alaska has most frequently asked "Why do we celebrate Halloween?" while folks in Rhode Island and West Virginia want to know "Why do cats purr?"

That's what Google is for. It's the world's biggest search engine, and as of November 2016, it has indexed over 130 trillion pages, so it can easily find an article or blog post that answers why we celebrate Halloween and why cats purr.

It's the questions from some of the other states that worry me.

For example, Idaho and Ohio both asked, "Why do men have nipples?" And Colorado and Indiana want to know "Why do my boobs hurt?" After the news we've had over the last few weeks, I'm not addressing any of those questions. Go ask your mother.

Alabama, Nevada, and Oklahoma all want to know, "Why do dogs lick?" That's a nice, safe question, and one I feel comfortable in answering.

"I don't know."

Except now I do. I Googled it and learned that dogs lick because it releases endorphins in their brains which calms and comforts them.

Florida needs a dog, because their most-asked question was "Why do I feel so alone?" which made me feel bad for all the people who asked this question. We just need to get them all together for coffee.

"Why do I feel so alone?" was also one of California's frequent questions (they had nine). It says a lot about our society when two states that are known for surf, sun, and fun are filled with people who can't make a simple human connection.

It gets worse. They also wanted to know "why do humans kiss?" and "why do humans cry?" That's just heartbreaking.

They also asked, "Why do birds suddenly appear?" which is the opening line from that old Carpenters song, "Close To You."

That's so sweet, California, you've got a poet's heart. You won't be alone for — wait, they also asked "Why do flies like poop?"

I think I see your problem. Why don't you talk to Pennsylvania? They want to know, "Why do farts smell?" I think you two will have a lot in common.

Michigan had similar scatological and relationship questions: "Why do I have diarrhea?" and "Why do people cheat?"

Honestly, Michigan, I couldn't answer either of those, I only hope the two aren't related.

Back down south, Texas is having some serious health issues. They had eight questions, and nearly all of them were medical in nature:"Why do I bruise easy?" "Why do my kidneys hurt?" "Why do my legs ache?" and "Why do veins pop out?"

Texas, please Google "what is a parasitic infection?" and then talk to your doctor.

Meanwhile, Georgia has been asking "Why do you love me?" which is just rubbing it in Florida's face. Knock it off, Georgia. You're being catfished by Wyoming; they asked "how to kiss."

Sadly, Ohio has also been asking "Why do I hate myself?" Come on, Ohio, you're not so bad. You're quite nice actually, you're just going through a bit of an awkward phase right now, but you'll grow out of it. Just quit talking about Ohio State so much. Maybe you and Florida should hook up. You're already tied together by I-75, so maybe you could get something going.

Finally, Washington DC wants to know, "Why do I sweat so much?"

Umm, Washington, how do I put this? Just Google the name of a good criminal defense attorney, stop talking to the Russians, and try to make a good deal with federal prosecutors. You'll be fine in six to ten years.

The 3rd edition of Branding Yourself is now available on Amazon.com and in your local Barnes & Noble bookstore.