As we reflect on the past year, it’s normal to ask questions. “Did I achieve my professional and personal goals?” “What do I hope to change in the coming year? “Why were so many people googling ‘How to be a flight attendant?’”
The last question I cannot answer for you, because I too am confused. All I can tell you is that it happened, and in fact it was the seventh most popular “How to be” Google search in the United States for the year.
The company has released their annual “Year in Search,” and while there are some expected topics floating to the top (Alec Baldwin, “How to be eligible for stimulus check”), there are a few search terms that make me wonder if we, as a nation, are doing alright. Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.
10. “Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer”
We must let Friends go. These two aren’t dating, and if you thought they were I am sorry but you are a fool. They are not Ross and Rachel, they are two former co-workers who hung out in a professional capacity so that you would become an HBOMax subscriber.
9. “Aquarium near me”
This is how I know we’re all depressed. Contrary to other entries on the list, “Aquarium near me” did not have one major news-related spike. Throughout the whole year, people were desperate to go to a big, dark building and stare at a ton of fish all at once. Whatever you need to do to feel a little good for an hour or two, I guess.
People were not just googling the Hogwarts house willy nilly. Rather, they were searching for it as an “aesthetic” (a category that will come back up on this list). I assume that this was driven largely by teenagers who want to dress as the “sexy” house or who look really good in a dark green. I worry that our country’s youth has not discovered any other fantasy novels upon which to base their sartorial decisions. Maybe 2022 will finally be the year that Golden Compass-core breaks through.
7. “Effect or affect”
This has been kicking everyone’s ass since 5th grade. Let me tell you once and for all, unless you are specifically “effecting change,” “effect” is a noun and “affect” is a verb. Now write “I can’t affect the effect” 50 times on the chalkboard and move on.
6. “How to style rings”
Just put them on. Don’t mix gold and silver unless you want to, in which case go off. This search term tells me that we have lost our confidence. Hear me now — you do not need to watch a 20-minute YouTube video to learn how to wear rings.
5. “How to be a baddie”
Again, we are in a dire confidence drought in this country. The answer to this question is not that you need to go get lip fillers and a BBL, but that you just need to start telling yourself that you’re a baddie. Fake it ‘til you make it, queens.
4. “¿Qué es eutanasia?”
I cannot figure out why this was the third most popular “Qué es” query — it was beat by “¿Qué es bitcoin?” and “¿Qué es heterosexual?”. It would appear a disproportionate number of our Spanish-speaking residents are gay separatists who are looking to either invest in cryptocurrency or die with dignity.
Another entry from the “Aesthetics” list, and a baffling one at that. I do not want to google this myself because I’m concerned that it’s some kind of sex thing. Or, worse, it’s something people are doing in earnest that’s being googled by perverts. There is a dark energy here, I am certain of that.
2. “How to pronounce Michael Jackson”
This one makes me feel like I’m losing my mind. It was the second most popular “How to pronounce” question of the year. Michael Jackson is pronounced exactly how you think it’s pronounced. The name Michael, and then the name Jackson. Two names that are common outside of the context of the late singer. I would be more sympathetic to a search for “How to read.”
1. TIE: “How to be happy alone” and “How to be happy with yourself”
If there has ever been a time for universal healthcare it’s now; everyone in this country needs a therapist. When you google “how to be happy alone” the first result is an Insider article that opens with “Develop a relationship with yourself.” That’s what they came to you for help with! We are in a dark place, team. I hope you all learn how to be happy with yourselves without the assistance of a Big Tech in 2022.