Humor by Greg Schwem

My cursor hovers over the "cancel" button. A simple click and I will save anywhere between $200 and $300 per month. If fingers could talk, they would be screaming, "Do it. Do it NOW."

But my brain won't send the downward movement to the fingers. The brain is saying, "Beware. There will be consequences."

The brain is overly cautious because I am considering canceling my monthly payment to Google. And, quite frankly, the idea of crossing Google scares the heck out of the brain, and every other part of my being.

For the past few months, I've been experimenting with Google AdWords. The concept is simple: I create a two- or three-line business ad that appears to the right of Google search results. When somebody searches for something related to my business, hopefully my ad appears and the inquisitive user clicks on it. Somebody at Google (I assume an intern) actually keeps track of the clicks and charges me for each one. I can see the results via a series of indecipherable pie charts and spreadsheets that a senior Google employee dreamed up.

This is the problem with doing business in cyberspace. Sometimes one must make assumptions as in, "I ASSUME nobody is royally screwing me." I'm not accusing Google of any financial hanky-panky, mind you. It's just that after a few months of this "pay per click" marketing campagin, the only thing I can say with certainty is that Google is making a monthly profit off me. An actual customer has yet to step forward and admit that yes, they found me by clicking on my puny Google ad.

So now I'm faced with the frightening dilemma of whether to cancel my AdWords account or, to put it more bluntly, fire Google. Normally I would not give this a second thought. Over the years I've fired accountants, stock brokers, building subcontractors and mechanics. All were let go for the same reason: I wasn't satisfied with the service they were providing.

Unfortunately, my bricklayer does not wield the same power as Google, a company that more or less controls the human race due to the vast amount of knowledge it has accumulated and seems to have no trouble sharing. Want to see somebody's backyard? Google Earth at the ready. Who knows? Maybe Google's satellites can catch the homeowner when she is sunbathing topless.

Any desire to build a weapon out of Christmas lights and a kitchen sponge? Chances are Google has a recipe and can even point you to the closest hardware store in case you are missing a few ingredients. Purchase them with the handy Google wallet and share your creation with foreign bad guys using Google Translate.

This is precisely why I do not want to upset anybody at Google. For if I hit "cancel," I can only imagine what might happen:

An alarm bell will sound in Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. Immediately my photo will appear on all employee screens as well as in the Google cafeteria. From there, Google will commence the drill it practices daily. One employee will find my credit card numbers and "accidentally" purchase $250,000 worth of non-returnable lumber from Oregon. Certainly Google knows my address so the delivery truck will have no trouble finding my house and dumping the contents on my front lawn.

When I step outside to complain, Google cameras will stop photographing the topless sunbather and instead videotape my screams, rants and uncontrollable crying. The video will immediately be uploaded to YouTube (conveniently owned by Google) and placed on the home page with the title, "WATCH THIS VIDEO AND THE SCREAMING GUY WILL SEND YOU A FREE IPAD!" My cellphone number will scroll across the screen throughout.

Once I realize Google workers are behind this, I will contact them, most likely from a pay phone. After a lengthy hold time, featuring a recorded message that repeatedly says, "Thanks for contacting Google. We already know why you're calling," a Google operator will inform me that all of this shenanigans will stop if I extend my AdWords account for another month. Or, better yet, sign up for the "five year, direct withdrawal from your back account" plan.

Now my cursor is moving away from the "cancel" button. Instead it goes to the "search" box. I type my own name.

Do I hear a sinister laugh coming from my computer speakers?

Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad

Humor & Satire

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