When you google my name, as I do on roughly an hourly basis (my fingers got tired when I did it every minute), besides my pieces on Huffington Post and several other sites, you find a picture of me with a former girlfriend (yeah, I make that vampire-cross sign whenever I see it, and a cat-hissing noise as well) and a news story from 10 or so years ago about some idiot in Kansas City who carved "Fag" into his own forehead and claimed a bunch of homophobes had beaten him up and done the carving. Really, there's not enough homophobia in the world, crazy dude who has the same name as me, you had to make up some more just to give homophobes ammunition? Thanks for that. Could you change your name, retroactively to the mid-90s?
Google has made all the money in the world except for what Microsoft made in the '90s and Bill Gates then spent on buying Third World babies -- I might be mixing him and his Foundation up with Madonna or maybe La Jolie, now that I think about it -- and what Facebook will soon be making. Google made these gigabux because everyone uses their search engine for everything, including personal hygiene and babysitting, and because they had the foresight to name their service after what everyone would in the future call searching the web, just as Kleenex had the perspicacity to name their product after what we'd all wind up calling a snot rag. (How'd they know? I'd have called it "booger nap.") It just wouldn't feel the same to talk about "binging" someone, plus they might easily get the wrong idea.
Google has also become one other thing: The best meter we have of what other people know about us. In my case, what others know about me from Google is that I write crazy shit and used to date crazy people (I'm trying to quit, but seriously, dating crazy people is like smoking crack, in that it's addictive and it makes you go broke and smell bad.) (The woman I am now dating, who shall remain nameless except to say that she's totally not crazy, is not at all crazy.) (On the street, they call me Smoove Floyd.). Given the two facts preceding, unless you know me and know that I would never be caught dead in Kansas City except on a barbecue-eating junket, I could be the forehead-carving guy too, I suppose, though I'd have more likely carved, "I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of Fermat's Theorem that this forehead is too narrow to contain." That would have taken a glass or two of wine to complete, I think, and maybe a Percocet or two.
(Math jokes! Who doesn't love math jokes?)
(Hmmm... I may have misjudged my audience.)
A better question might be: Why do I care what other people think of me when they Google me -- or that they do Google me? Am I so insubstantial that I don't exist unless others see me (Tentative answers: "dunno," and "yuppers.")? I expect on the scale of people who need external validation, writers probably rank pretty high, except for the "probably" part, only just being edged out by actors and ventriloquists' dummies ("I'm only alive when your hand is up my ass."). I'd further guess that certified public accountants by and large fall pretty low on that scale, but I wouldn't know, since I don't know any certified public accountants, because of how they're ungodly boring. People who need external validation, on the other hand, are often very entertaining. Sure, it's like when insane asylums used to let people walk through and gawk at the loonies for a penny, but as long as you don't mind the moral aspect, dude, that's entertainment! Be it a schizophrenic or an attention whore (in Charlie Sheen's case, it's a little tough to discern any difference), crazies are fun to watch, especially if there are bars or a television or monitor screen between you and them.
Perhaps in the Warholian future we really will all get to be famous for 15 minutes -- that future being the past 15 years or so of reality television, a genre devoted to the concept that ordinary men and woman, people with no discernable talent other than being visible to a television camera (one imagines that their CVs contain the line, "Opaque to most wavelengths of light"), deserve our attention. I exempt shows like Top Chef and Work Of Art, which require some degree of talent at something worthwhile. Not that I'd know but talent is hard; why shouldn't people look at me and make me feel special just because I'm me? Why shouldn't I feel like Brando just because my only talent is that I can fart loudly (I bet he could too -- we're like twins!)? That 15 minutes would be a memory I could dine out on for the rest of my life (unless I get amnesia -- I'm pretty sure that's happened before) and would make the rest of my sad desperate life all worth the while. Your gaze, even so brief a gaze, would bring me for the first and last time to life.
So Google me! Make me real!
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