The elephant on the internet
It takes a few weeks to get the results back on a convenience-store DNA swab kit. For background-search purposes, Google is approximately a gazillion times quicker, and you don't have to wait until your intended target is passed-out-drunk to shove a Q-tip in her mouth. Nope: enter name, wait 0.44 seconds, and an entire library's worth of personal history is available to anyone in the world who gives a shit enough to look for it. And while social-media sites like Facebook give the option of blocking non-friends from pulling their pud to your drunken cleavage pictures from Spring Break '94, Google is receptive and non-judgmental, and welcomes all colors, sexes, and races to freely manhandle his elephant-like memory.
Who's on the other end? The guy you're hoping will offer you that perfect job. The mortgage broker who holds the keys to your dream house. Or maybe, I dunno, it's the nice quiet gal from the suburbs, who has just figured out that the man who asked her to dinner tonight was, just seven years ago, hitched to the star of Ski Bitch, Look What's Up My Ass, and Teen Handjobs. This is what happens when your Urban Dictionary entry comes up before your Facebook page. The look on her face: It says here on Wikipedia . . .
A modern woman will google a guy's name the second she decides he's sponge-worthy, maybe sooner. And, it should be noted, for good reason. True story: two of my female friends recently met a guy whom both judged to be perfectly harmless. He had a unique name, and later that night the gals googled him — just for fun, they said — and discovered that he had recently been accused of attempted murder, assault and battery, and intimidation of a witness.
Clearly, this privacy thing is a two-way street. But where does that leave a guy like me? My reputation — my digital watermark, which might as well be a face tattoo that says "unemployable douchebag" — is in shambles. And for what? I didn't kill anyone — although I did come close to single-handedly taking down the Sex and the City franchise when, in 2008, I illegally posted some pictures to my Web site of Kristin Davis with a dick in her mouth. That site is now defunct. But google "Kristin Davis blowjob" and you'll have them instantly.
I feel her pain, I really do.
It's okay, though: I've got a plan. For all of us.
From porn to pooches
I thought I could get out of porn by getting out of California. Google had other ideas.
It turns out that trying to make it as a writer in Boston with Hustler on your résumé is like trying to make it in Hollywood with Howard the Duck on your IMDb page. It isn't just potential dates — if you were a business, and you saw a guy whose Wikipedia entry includes the phrase "drug enthusiast," you wouldn't touch me with a 12-inch pole. But you don't have to be a scumbag for Google to fuck you: in one recent study conducted for Microsoft, 70 percent of hiring managers surveyed claimed they rejected candidates because of shit they read about them on the Internet.