A few years ago when I was still discovering the incredible information I could get from my computer, I Googled myself. I had Googled other people and places to get information about them: How old is Shirley Temple? Where is Angkor Wat? How long is the Great Wall of China? Who was in the movie Gandhi? All the answers to any question I had — about anything or anyone — made me curious. I wondered what Google had to say about me.

I typed in Shirley W. Mayhew and I popped up as the author of Seasons of a Vineyard Pond, a book I had written about 40 years ago. Although it had been out of print since about 30 years ago, Amazon listed four second-hand bookshops around the country where it was still available. For three of them the price was less than the postage they charged to ship it, but the fourth was several dollars more than it originally cost, which was $2.95 in the 1970s. This used book-store upped the price to $15.95 because it was inscribed by the author. Me — it was inscribed by me!

But what did I inscribe? I was tempted to buy it just to see who had bought it and then sold it to a used book-store. A stranger on a trip to the Vineyard? Unlikely. One of my friends? Probably. But I decided that $16 plus postage was too much to pay for my own book when I still had about 3,000 copies to get rid of.

Still, it was flattering to have my little book listed on Amazon’s book sales. I went on with my life and Google went on collecting information about me — although I didn’t realize it until this week. Horrified with all the news on CNN as well as the stupid shows and interminable ads that interrupted every six minutes to entice me with products I no longer needed or never had wanted, I decided to Google myself. It would be more interesting than the Viagra ads or toilet cleaner ads I was forced to watch while waiting for Mash to continue.

As soon as I typed in my name a page appeared and said that there were 45,900 results for Shirley W. Mayhew. I was overwhelmed. I don’t have enough years left to read almost 46,000 items, even if they are about me. So I only opened a few to see what they said.

I discovered that they weren’t necessarily about me — many were articles that just happened to have my name in the text. For instance, in several of her mystery novels, Cynthia Riggs mentions my name in her acknowledgments, along with the other members of her Sunday night writing group. So by Googling my name she gets her books acknowledged at the same time. And when Susanna Sturgis let me include one of my essays in her blog, the whole blog turned up.

I found a list of 67 Shirley Mayhews, from the east coast to the west coast and all in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. I guess Shirley has lost its standing in the list of popular names for girls. I taught school from 1966 until 1986 and never had a student named Shirley. Google had 33 Shirley Mayhew birth records, 22 Shirley Mayhew marriages, 11 Shirley Mayhew deaths, and one Shirley Mayhew divorce. For a small fee I could even find out how many Shirley Mayhew arrests have been made. I discovered a fierce looking mug shot of one James W. Mayhew — not related, I hope. And there is a website you can go to in order to find out if I have ever been arrested. I got a speeding warning once, but Google missed that one.

Every review that our Island papers have written about the four books of Martha’s Vineyard Writing produced by Cynthia Riggs when I was in the Tuesday morning group at the Howes House can be found when you Google my name, because I had an essay or two in each volume.

Google will tell you all the genealogical inquiries I have made trying to find the Piner branch of my family and it even lists my present age (94 as of two weeks ago). I found a list of my family members: John, Caroline, Katie, Greg, Sarah, Betsey, Margaret, Deborah. Wait a minute. Where are Jack and Lucy? Betsey is a nickname for Margaret, my daughter-in-law and Greg is a distant cousin, once or twice removed. Google goofed on that piece of information.

You will find every letter-to-the-editor I have had published in the New York Times in the early nineties. One was in defense of the book Final Exit by Derek Humphrey, a book with explicit directions on how to do away with yourself when pain — or life itself — becomes unbearable. Protest letters poured in from people who believed that suicides would greatly increase if people were given the directions on how to do it. I replied with a letter stating I would be happy to be in control of my life — and death — if it ever came to that. I hadn’t even read the book but the publisher called me to thank me for my letter, and then sent me a copy of the book.

The entire West Tisbury town report published in April of 2012 can be found if you Google Shirley W. Mayhew because in their annual report the selectmen thanked me for suggesting that the WWI and WWII memorial stone be moved from its obscure location at Brandy Brow to the property of the new town hall.

Finally, early in 2012, my husband’s obituary was included because, of course, I was mentioned in that. As for the other 45,000 mentions, I’ll save them for another time. If I try to work my way through them, I won’t have time to live my life, let alone read about it.

Shirley Mayhew lives in West Tisbury.