Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another Confession

Once, I confessed some of my Facebook sins. Now here is another confession. It is one for which I feel I must apologize in advance.

I Google myself at least once a week out of sheer vanity and paranoia. I use blogsearch, my full name, my friends names, my nick names, whatever it takes to lead me to a page where people talk about me. I have, on more than one occasion read a friends’ nominally private journal.

When I do this, it is a full invasion. They have posted it in a public forum, but they hadn’t used their own name or posted the address anywhere. While I might make a reasonable case that I was well within my bounds to read it, I know they would not see it that way.

I wish I could say I read the whole thing, because I take a deep interest in my friends’ and acquaintances’ lives. The truth of the matter is that I rapidly scan each page. Ctrl+F, type in my name, look for any mention of myself: complete narcissism. I don’t care if they are feeling down lately and I didn’t know that their uncle/dog/grandmother died: I want to know what they think about me. After I exhaust my vanity (not as inexhaustible as the legends say), I move on, and try to read everything else, hoping I can find something that they would prefer that I didn’t know.

I check the writings of my family, all my close friends, all my distant friends, and people I despise. I will never act on this knowledge, no matter how lurid, perverse, or sad. An old teacher suffers from crushing depression, an old friend has been drinking too much, and nobody knows what to do now that their father has died. I won’t tell anyone, I will keep it hidden in my hoard. I accumulate this information, only because I am greedy for other people’s secrets and I love to know that which I shouldn’t.

My own satisfaction at having stolen the secrets fills me with slow spreading warmth, an internal smug grin. The weight of secrets, however, is sometimes heavier than we can comfortable bear: a principle that enables my habit and spurred this confession:

The sin of Adam is kept alive by his sons.


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