The only disadvantage of having an uncommon name is that it’s very easy to be tracked down. With the advent of Google and all the other free Internet search engines, everyone’s moonlighting as a private investigator these days. People are so idle and nosy.
Evidently, the first thing people do once they get ahold of my name is take it straight to the search engines. Since Googling is no longer something that’s done in the shadows, many of them think nothing of confronting me about what they’ve sleuthed up. Then I have to defend myself against the lies and manipulations:
“No, I am NOT 41 years old. I don’t know where they got that from.”
“I sure did sign a petition to keep that allegedly adulterous Iranian woman from being stoned to death. Why didn’t you?”
“Dammit, I don’t know if I’m going to my next high school reunion. Stay out of it.”
At a job interview in early 2008, the hiring manager declared that he Googled me the night before (note that he did this at night – not during regular business hours) and proceeded to probe me about articles I wrote in 1997. Ever since then, I started Googling myself once a week, to stay on top of what’s out there and get a sense of how much of it I can control. So far, I’ve gotten a couple of inaccuracies and unnecessary pieces of information completely removed. But I’m not always so lucky. Last summer, I noticed an outrageous typo in the text of a header link that might always be a part of my search results. I went right to the source, e-mailing someone at the magazine (under the pretext of asking about something else) to alert her of the defect that hovers above my name. It’s still there.
I last Googled myself this morning. So much can happen in a week. There’s a brand-new search result that I don’t like one bit, and I can’t even fathom how something like this could have made it up there. I’ve added it to my Must-Go list.
I’ll never forget a chilling line I once read in a poem: “Daughter:/looks like laughter,/rhymes with slaughter.”
Google: /looks like Giggle, /rhymes with Bugle (which I consider to be the most aggravating of all the brass instruments).
Land of milk and honey
15 hours ago