Remember in school when you’d have to do a historical timeline for some famous person? On the timeline, you’d mark all the important events like date of birth, accomplishments, and corresponding historical dates?
If I had to do one of those for my parents, I’d be so screwed. I’d have their date of birth and then…probably April 24, 1984—my birthday. There’d be a gigantic gap of nothingness, like when Jesus went MIA for 33 years and nobody seemed to know where he went. Maybe he went abroad and his school didn’t document? The monks at Saint Anselm College never really gave me a plausible account for those missing years so if you’re wondering if I went to church this Easter Sunday, I didn’t.
Anyways, this is not to say my parents weren’t doing anything pre-1984. I’m sure they led eventful lives filled with kid-free bliss. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t know much about it. My mom worked for the phone company way-back-when and my father swears to me that he should have got the lead role in his high school play South Pacific but he was feeling nice so he let his friend have the part. That’s about all the things I can add to the timeline. The reason for my shitty knowledge is most likely the result of one of two scenarios:
One: I’m a selfish person who hasn’t asked them enough questions.
Two: We see our parents as mythical figures who just so happen to exist in our lives. We don’t really think about their personalities or pasts as individuals. They’re just our parents. Or maybe I’m just a horrible son. It’s all possible.
But seriously, we hardly have ANY evidence to suggest our parents existed before our timeline began. Sure, I’ve seen 3 or 4 pictures of them as children but I can’t be 100% sure that’s really them. They look like alien strangers to me in those photos. My dad isn’t that single-looking guy. His REAL identity is found somewhere in our living room, in his boxers, watching an episode of NCIS.
And then Al Gore invented the internet.
Game changer. Because NOW, there will be secrets and evidence EVERYWHERE. I mean I don’t exactly lead a ninja-celebrity life but there are Facbook/Instagram posts, Youtube videos, internet purchases, Keath Otis emails…all over the internet! I don’t know why it’s just dawning on me but my future children will have access to it all. That ridiculous Amazon Deal of the Day I bought? It’s out there. That time I went to drinking camp? It’s out there. If you
build post it, they will come.
Our shitty digital footprints are everywhere and when these kids reach the age of 12 (and they will be absolute wizards at 12 on the computer), they can just go searching our names on Google. And just like that, I’m no longer an infallible creature. How am I supposed to get away with any lies? All those stories we used to hear from our parents about never-ending paper routes and 18 hour workdays? They don’t have any alibis or photo-evidence to prove one way or another so we kind of had to believe them.
It’s all quite horrible for us, though. Nowhere to hide. I searched my name yesterday. Just shocking that this evidence exists and it only took 3 seconds.
That’s me on the cover of some 2002 MIAA hockey magazine. To be honest, I didn’t know this existed and wonder why they didn’t get approval from me to post. Anyways, I had to really examine it because quite frankly, I wasn’t cover-worthy. But that’s my team and that’s my number, and that’s my skinny neck. The good thing is, if my future son or daughter sees this, I can pretend I was a really great player.
Buttttttt thanks again to Al Gore, because the internet tracks everything and some dipstick put the entire magazine on the internet because there are stats on EVERYONE.
“Hey Dad, I thought you said you were good! Says here you only had eight points.”
“No, son. That must have been my freshman year. I had infinity points my senior year.”
“But Dad, it has a “SR” next to your name which means Senior so you were a senior.”
“Go to your room.”
How do you get around this type of eternal documentation?! I was content living the rest of my life, and the rest of my children’s lives, telling one glorious lie after another. What do I do when my kid finds out I have ONE LinkedIn friend and it’s my real best friend? Embarrassing for the whole family. The internet is going to get my kid beat up.
I just know some fat kid is going to push my kid to the ground saying, “My dad says your dad wrote some gay hot tub blog.” It’ll be true and I’ll cry a thousand tears but not in front of him. Either way, he’ll be ruined.
And if a seemingly normal guy like me is ruined, what the hell is going to happen with Keath Otis’ kids? It’s one thing finding out your dad was a mediocre hockey player but how do you bounce back from an investigation that leads to the discovery that your dad spent over a year reviewing a hot tub?