It’s all Google’s fault.
Yes, Google, the great all-seeing eye of Internet search engines, with its unnatural ability to find out anything about anybody, is the cause of all my problems.
It’s turned me into Quasi-Modem.
Now, thanks to Google, each night I climb into my digital bell tower, a bitter, twisted gnome determined to relive the past.
I want to know all about the people I don’t like, people I haven’t seen or heard from in years, so I hurl my queries out into cyberspace only to have them come spinning back and hit me upside the head. It’s the Google-rang. And it gets me every time.
I search for anyone who’s done me wrong, two-timing girlfriends, grade school bullies, obnoxious ex-coworkers, and discover the worst possible news imaginable: they’re happy.
They’re not rotting away in a filthy dungeon in some sub-equatorial dictatorship; they’re not locked in a B-movie mental institution, trussed up in straitjackets and living on Thorazine and Rice Krispies. And they’re not starving on the streets of some gloomy metropolis, eating out of trash cans and arguing quantum physics with the pigeons.
No, these heretics have the gall to be getting on with their lives and are doing just fine; and what’s worse, they’re doing better than I am. Of course, that’s no great trick, which only makes me angrier.
Healthy, mentally stable individuals know how important it is to banish the past. They let bygones be bygones, get on with their lives, forgive and forget and look forward to the promise of a new day.
But who cares about them? I forgive nothing and forget even less. I don’t know what a bygone is and I certainly won’t let one be. I grab the past by its bristly tail and drag it out of its murky cave, where it can eat me alive.
If someone vicious little pinhead double-crossed me in kindergarten I’ll track the blighter down, even though today he may be a paunchy optometrist with three grown kids and two ex-wives. He still shouldn’t have taken my blocks.
A co-worker ratted me out to the boss during the Ford Administration? Let me at the keyboard. I’ll find the worthless weasel wherever he’s hiding—even if he’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company—and treat him to the full brunt of my internalized rage. That’ll teach him.
And the ex-girlfriends? Don’t get me started. With a few keystrokes I’ll find them in their happy homes with their adoring husbands and beautiful children, living their storybook lives. And when I do, boy, I’ll gnash my teeth and writhe to beat the band.
I know what you’re thinking: Golly, the Prozac Fairy really needs to make an emergency stop at this guy’s house. But you don’t understand. I’m not a stalker. I’m more of a lurker.
I don’t actually do anything with this painful knowledge—no bricks hurled through duplex windows, no BMW tires slashed to confetti; no animal parts sent C.O.D. These searches are purely for my own edification…and torture.
There’s an old Star Trek episode where Kirk and crew beam down to a strange planet and find their thoughts being turned into instant reality. Kirk runs into a space academy upperclassman who tormented him years before and, after taking even more grief, catches up with the wisecracking cretin and pummels him into the ground.
It turns out the aliens running the planet designed it as a kind of visceral theme park where people can unleash their fantasies without doing any real harm. By digging into Kirk’s psyche they learned what he really wanted more than anything in his life was to clobber that putz from the past.
With a resort like that, who needs Club Med? If I could only go there I’d really take of business. I’d start with the nuns in Catholic school, move on to that fat load of blubber who tortured me in the Seventh Grade, go on to my high school math teacher, and round off with every employer I’ve had since 1980. I might have to make two trips. Hell, I might have to move there.
Or maybe I could drop all this Web searching and get on with my life. Maybe I could forget Google and all the other Internet snooping devices and just live in the now. I like the idea of jettisoning the past and opening myself up to new experiences.
I just want to type in one more name…