“Just as we all know from The Birds that the mere sight of Tippi Hedren in a boat, bringing all her big-city sexiness to chaste Bodega Bay, will drive all the birds in northern California (what else but) apeshit crazy.”—john hodgman “the areas of my expertise”
I waste some time, now and then, thinking of how our generation will deal with the day our children discover the archives of Our Internet Lives. Usually this wasted time is spent sliding down an emotional and theoretical hill: at first, amusement (having children! That’s for older siblings! Man, I’m just trying to live for today! But okay, okay, what if); then, perhaps, a little bit of mirth (it’s like I’ve pre-filtered my musical taste!); then, inevitably, fear and anxiety (can you erase it all? You can’t erase it all. There are screenshots. I’m sure there’s a bong in a screenshot. Wait, do you really have to pretend you don’t smoke pot when you’re a parent? Is that something you commit to, for the rest of your life? Or is it just the years between birth and eleventh grade? Or do you get a few years between when they’re born and when they’re toddlers where you can sneak outside and do it after you put them to bed? Is that still bad??).
The other problem is how quickly we seem to change every year in our 20’s. Is that why they’re so stressful? There are so many things to do habitually and with great enthusiasm, then reject and give up for good. See that huge pile of cigarettes? 2006 was a year where I liked to smoke a Camel light, then chase it with a Camel Menthol Light. I would have smoked them both at the same time if I hadn’t shellacked my hair with enough highly-flammable Aqua Net to freeze a marathon runner. And do you know why I had a beehive? It was because, back then, I thought I was going to work my way up to owning my own vintage store. Three months later I would rather have died in a menthol explosion than have spent another day sorting shoes that smelled like old sweat. At least when my future children find this photo, I will have sufficiently confused them as to the decade I was in — that is, if I crop out the Powerbook.
Your kids will be able to browse through all the places you lived (this one: West Hollywood, two years and change — I’ll tell them stories about our neighbors when they’re getting noise complaints in the shit-hole they’re renting with their friends the summer after their freshman year of college). They’ll see the moments, tapped out at a desk and on a computer (that will, to them, seem unbearably retro, so uncool) of your fright about whether you’ll ever make it or not. And they’ll know the answer. They’ll see the pets that died before they were born, the dog toys you threw away, the dinner you ate when you were twenty six and the bottle of 1983 Dom Perignon you drank when you booked your first real job, your big-deal job. It would have been just fizzy vinegar if you’d saved it for them.
I wonder how all that will be. For all the horrors I’m sure we’ll feel when they start using the computer, isn’t it kind of wonderful? Imagine knowing your parents that way.
I have nothing to add to this. I simply want to save it here, forever, so that my children may find it one day when they go looking for me.
I’m going to have to explain so many in-jokes to my future kids. I hope they’ll appreciate memes.
we are documenting so much of our life online, i have started thinking, that no child will be persistent enough to look through all of it. maybe we should prepare short summaries of every year, so it comes down to manageable amount of info. and this way inconvenient details will be left only for most curious.
“And America has the highest infant mortality rate — 6.9 deaths per 1000 live births, compared to 5.4 in Canada, or 4.7 in Belgium.
The US has the lowest number of hospital beds per 1,000 people amongst developed countries. It has the second shortest length of days spent in acute care. And it has the smallest number of doctor consultations per capita — just 3.8, compared to Canada’s 5.8, or Germany’s 7.4. For each dollar they spend on healthcare, Americans receive smaller increments of service.”—How to Think Constructively About Healthcare - Umair Haque - HarvardBusiness.org
“It’s awkward to say openly, but now-departed President Bush is a religious crackpot, an ex-drunk of small intellect who “got saved.” He never should have been entrusted with the power to start wars.”—Council for Secular Humanism