Some poor misguided soul ended up at my blog after typing into a search engine the phrase "turnip boggle." What would a turnip boggle be? A game, a device for protecting turnips from the depredations of wild creatures, or an elaborate series of gates installed outside the front door to prevent kindly neighbors from delivering bags of turnips?
Other blogs get queries involving literature and writing; I get someone looking for "poison ivy africa swimsuits," which sounds like an odd sexual fetish. Searchers find my site after asking Google how to wash towels, how to distinguish between a suit and a tuxedo, how many tubes of toothpaste a family of four uses in a year, and "what is the english equivalent of fat free half and half?" Surely there must be a better place to find the answers!
Someone wants "rhyming verse for instructions for contract bridge" and someone else is looking for the World's Best Beef Brisket. Turkey vultures and Javier Marias make regular appearances in searches, along with the Declaration of Idependence and intestinal viruses. However, in the twelve months since this blog began, the three most common search terms leading here are variations on "dead mouse smell," "the banner with the strange device," and "how to cheat on Excelsior exams." A year ago I was not aware that Excelsior College existed or that so many people would be looking for ways to cheat on its exams, but now even more of them will end up here. I am not sorry to disappoint them.
Still, I wish someone would ask a question I can actually answer. I don't have the solution for intestinal viruses or the dead mouse smell, but ask me about semicolons or Stephen Crane, subjunctive verbs or Salman Rushdie, whifflers or William Dean Howells. Nobody ever asks about William Dean Howells. They want to know how to boggle turnips.
Even if I knew, I'd never tell.