Did you hear the one about the internet and the spade?

The internet. It seems like such an all-powerful thing doesn’t it? A 24/7 access to everything around us, available at the touch of a fingertip.

A way to socialise, to work, to sell and to find information. A digital land of happiness, cat memes and dark, evil corners.

When I think of the internet, the first image that comes to mind is a giant cyber brain. That’s constantly pulsating and growing. Growing bigger and bigger by the day.

It’s a complicated thing. Few of us really understand it, and even though we take it as part of our day-to-day it’s still an awe-inspiring thing.

Let me take you now to the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi. A place of cobblestones and art Noveau buildings, among many other things.

One day, not so long ago, a 75 year old woman was out digging for scrap metal. She was just on the outskirts of the city and had been working really hard that day – the more scrap she got, the more money she’d head home with.

tibilisi

As she was digging her spade accidentally ripped through a cable. Naturally this worried her, but after a quick look around all seemed okay and there was no one around to notice. So she continued her day’s work, set the memory of the cable aside and as dusk fell across the city she headed home.

Meanwhile, web-users in neighbouring Armenia were having a tough day. No matter how hard they tried they just couldn’t get online. It took five hours for them to realise that something had gone wrong in Georgia, the country that provided 95% of their internet.

You’ve probably guessed what happened.

The cable that the old lady had damaged was a fibre-optic one that provided Armenia with their internet.

Sure they fixed it soon enough, once they’d realised.

But, it just goes to show that even though the cyber world around us is so advanced and complex, it isn’t invincible.

Something as simple as the spade can conquer the internet.

It’s the same with life. As intense and complicated as it may well be, we need to make time for the simple things and look out for the simple problems – as they could very soon evolve into much bigger problems.

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