Forever is a Very Long Time
“Damn it!” I exclaimed as I slammed my computer keyboard in frustration, sending up a thick cloud of Cool Ranch Dorito dust. I took one of the angriest sips of Red Bull in the history of man and threw myself backwards against my chair, which rocked haphazardly due to the sudden force. Stupid low-quality furniture I pick up off the sidewalk.
But my angst this afternoon had nothing to do with the decomposing construct I called my chair. Rather, the object of my ire was a tad more abstract: the internet. Not the entire thing (I love me some porn and fast food reviews), but rather the fact that the internet has a certain galling way of perpetuating things I might wish myself and others to simply forget about. Examples of this include Rick Astley, Goatse and my own personal lapses in judgment. Well, maybe not Rick Astley.
Anyway, I had just spent hours trying to erase a particularly grievous error of mine from several years ago, but I was at a loss. Forced to confront my own limitations, I decided to call for backup in the form of Maurice, my friend that works some kind of tech job for a company I can’t recall (I try not to learn too many details about people; if they die, that information all becomes wasted mental space).
“Reecy! I need your help!” I yelled at my phone. Then I realized that I had forgotten to dial Maurice’s phone number, so I proceeded to do that and yell, “Reecy! I need your help!”
“Joey?” said Maurice. “How many times have I told you, I hate being called Reecy.”
“Well then, can I call you Gertrude?”
“What? That doesn’t even make any-“
“Enough pleasantries, Gertrude,” I said, rising from my chair and pacing to communicate the seriousness of the situation. “Let’s get down to brass tacks. I need your help with something, like, pronto.”
The sigh I heard on the other line could not possibly have signified anything other than gratitude at being thought of so highly as to assist me in this endeavor. After a moment of silence (how respectful!), Maurice said, “OK, what’s the problem? I’ll see if I can help.”“I wrote a blog on the internet several years ago that revealed some things that, in retrospect, I’d rather not have the public know,” I whispered, glancing over my shoulder to make sure no one was eavesdropping. Being alone in my apartment, it wasn’t too likely, but one can never be too careful. “The information could have a very negative impact on people’s perception of me.”
Maurice chortled. “People’s perception of you? If this could somehow make that worse, it must be really bad. What did you say that was so awful?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Because I’m planning on publishing this whole exchange on the internet. If I tell you, then I’ll just have another source of the same information floating around the internet, and I’ll have to delete this immediately.”
“Have you ever thought about just not publishing it on the internet?” said Maurice.
“Look, Gertrude,” I snapped, “I didn’t ask you to ruin my creative writing exercise. I asked you to help me purge something from the internet.”
Another sigh. I began to worry that Maurice might be developing asthma. “OK, then. Well, at least tell me this: how many different links or references to this article have you found?”
“At the moment?” I said, scrolling down my self-referential Google search. “Maybe 38 or so.”
“38 or so?”
“That’s right, Gerty. Oh, wait, maybe 39. Looks like Thereisnogod.com picked it up too. Why do they always link to my stuff? It’s like they’re trying to tell me something.”
“Well, I’ve got some bad news for you,” said Maurice, his voice lacking what I felt should be the proper amount of regret. “You’re pretty much screwed. See, the thing about the internet is, once something gets out there and spreads, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Barely resisting the urge to visit the mom/spreads joke well, I instead pleaded with Maurice, “Pleads! I mean, please! Isn’t there any weird backdoor nerdy geek way of fixing this?”
“’Fraid not,” said Maurice. “But try to look at it this way: isn’t it kind of cool that something you created will live forever?”
“Live forever? You mean like…immortality?” I asked, getting that gleam in my eye my therapist warned me about.
“I guess, yeah. Kind of like that.”
“So you’re saying that, as long as my writing exists on the internet, I’m immortal. I’ll be around forever.”
“Well, yes, in a manner of speaking.”
“Zounds!” I exclaimed, leaping from my desk chair. It fell backwards to the floor and was reduced to dust upon impact. “Immortality! Finally! Do you know what this means, Gertrude? Well, do you?”
“I’m afraid to ask,” Maurice mumbled.
“You know that it has always been my greatest dream to jump into a jet turbine just to see what it feels like,” I said.
“Actually no, I don’t think you’ve ever-“
“Well now that I’m immortal, as you say, I can finally do so without any consequences whatsoever. Finally, Joey Marsilio’s day has come!”
“Whoa, whoa. No. Don’t do that. You don’t seem to understand that-“
“Silence, Gertrude!” I bellowed. “I won’t have you raining on my parade today. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with an angel named Brid-JET TURBINE.”
I hung up the phone, and typed this account of the incident up quickly with trembling hands. In but a few moments, I will click submit without proofreading this, and I’ll be off for the greatest day of my life. Now that I’m immortal, what could possibly go wrong?