We’ve all got things we’re not proud of. Little regrets that chip away at our soul. Decisions that, with just a bit of foresight, could have been prevented and saved us a world of hurt and sorrow. But as we grow older we (mercifully) learn that we aren’t necessarily the same person we were when we were 17 and we can find peace with that and move on. Yesterday was a different day and it doesn’t matter that I willfully chose to keep my seat on the train and deny that small, defenseless, hungry, feeble, elderly woman respite from her achy-leg syndrome. No one will ever know anyway. Right?
Wrong. You’re forgetting one all-important, all-knowing being. Oh – you’re an atheist, you say? You don’t believe you have to answer to a higher power? There is no such thing as an omnipotent, omniscient entity that will call on you to answer for your wrongs? Let me introduce you to someone.
This is The Internet.
He can’t wait to meet you! In fact, he’s devoted his life to curating a giant regret museum that features all of humanity, and you’re the next rotating exhibit!
“Well I don’t Instagram a picture of myself every time I don’t get up for an old lady on the train,” you say. Oh, okay. Well three other people did it for you. You have no privacy.
I only thank The Internet that this sort of technology was in its infancy while I was in middle school. Imagine if every note you had written to a “crush” at age 12 was actually a text message that was still littering the information highway as a series of bits and bytes, only to resurface on your wedding day.
Imagine if you had written a blog documenting your gender-defying love of crafting beaded necklaces and Dropboxed all your secret PowerPoint files detailing the histories of obscure Star Wars characters.
DELETE DELETE DELETE.
Of course, this doesn’t really seem to affect anyone nowadays. We’re learning to celebrate the regret. After all, one-seventh of the world’s population shares their daily dump schedule on Facebook. And nearly 50% of Americans own a hand-held Regret Documentation Device (smartphone). Our children are primed to start memorializing their horrible decisions at an early age when we pawn them off to Angry Birds so they’ll shut up or – FML – get their own iPhone for Christmas. They might as well learn sooner rather than later that they have no hope of being noticed in this world without publicly making a series of rash, uninformed decisions.
Look, the bottom line is that anyone born after 1990 has no hope of ever being a credible parent. When your kids have access to archived pages of your Tumblr, you might as well apprentice them to a carny. At least it’s more useful than a liberal arts degree. But then again, perhaps all this sharing is making us a more honest society – more accepting of the other and the unique. A world where the other and the unique are rewarded and featured. Either that, or it’s turning our lives into one big episode of The Bachelor. But there is no First Impression Rose. And your boss replaced Chris Harrison. And the Bachelor is the personification of the unrealistic expectations you have for your life.
You know what? Forget I said anything. I don’t want to be remembered as being so pessimistic. Is it too late to remove this post? Yes. Yes it is.