Who am I? Who is me? If you’re reading this, the chances are high I don’t know you… in real life. Yes, a few people I know (IRL) follow my blog—my brother David, my friend Nancy, maybe some coworkers, Susan. Beyond that dear reader, you only know what I show you. I don’t hide much, most of my demons are hashed out ad nauseum in bits and bytes on this webpage, but still, that dude is two dimensional. I ignore my depth. Most of me is too boring to write about.
We all do this. We offer a different self to separate groups. My coworkers don’t know I love punk rock. The other coaches on Eli’s mountain bike team don’t know I’m a flaming liberal. My kids don’t know my sordid past. We, most of us, temper ourselves, except when we don’t, and everyone thinks TMI.
I shared something today on Facebook. I do this about five times a year. Today’s was a link to an article about the mountain bike team. It announced our first race is this weekend—five miles from Gettysburg. I thought some people might want to come check it out. Hundreds of people attend these races, it should be fun.
After I hit share, I checked my timeline to see if I did it right—I did. And then I scrolled to see what else I’ve posted. Oh right, my new math covid graphic; then the new jerseys we got for our team; a blog post I wrote for Tourette awareness month; a Far Side cartoon showing ‘punk accountants,’ nerdy guys with pencils piercing their ears and nose. plus a tattoo: Add, Subtract and Die. Quickly I get to the Trump posts. Bitching commentary highlighting his most egregious statements: Soldiers who died are suckers and losers and People are dying from covid. It is what it is.
This is the self I show on Facebook. That punk accountant post, Scott liked it with the laughing guy emoji. I posted it in early June. He died a few weeks later. I guess his account is still up. I see him on several of my posts. The backyard buck contest. People post photos of deer that wander into their backyards. We all tagged Scott, he started it. Mine is nice, eight or ten points—hard to tell, a grainy photo before barren winter woods at dusk. This is the type of post I would delete a year out. Make room for the next backyard buck. Now it’s on my timeline for life.
Scott liked all my posts, the nonpolitical ones, as a realtor neutrality was key. I resist the temptation to scroll his timeline. I don’t want to see the posts people wrote after he died. I think that’s a weird thing, makes me worry that I’ll still poke at Facebook when I’m dead.
My online presence is massive. Three blogs. Books for sale at Amazon and Smashwords. Op-Eds written for the local paper. Two and a half years of weekly columns at the Good Men Project. How immortal am I, how long does it last? Are these blogs up indefinitely, or do they start disappearing after ten inactive years? Bloggers fall out of my life all the time. They read every post then suddenly they’re gone. Their own blog sits idle. The ten-year clock starts. A countdown to deletion?
Or maybe my grandchildren will cyberstalk me. Maybe I’m here forever. Not me, but that person I chose to show.