The Internet Never Forgets.

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Many years ago, I had a co-worker who was literally the poster boy for the company. He had an incident happen, that for that particular industry, it was a really big deal. He did everything right, he did it by the book and did it by the numbers. Everything went perfectly. He was held up as the standard to aspire to for his fellow employees.

Fast forward a year and the guy gets fired. He didn’t get fired for theft, embezzlement, or any other sort of crime. Nor did he get fired for not doing his job. You see, he got fired for talking about work on the internet. He had a bad day and decided to take his frustrations to the internet and to vent. Now, he could have gotten away with doing this, except that he named the company. This company had IT guys that did nothing all day but scour the internet using the company name as one of the search parameters. They wanted to keep their fingers on the pulse of what the world at large thought of the company.

The company is and was international and a lot rode on their name, their reputation, so when his post, his rant, showed up, and he was talking negatively about the company, he was fired. He went from poster boy to pariah within a year. And this was back in the early 2000’s.

Why am I bringing this up? We all know shit like this happens all the time. People get fired and ostracized for wrongthink, especially when it comes to their jobs. Old news, right?

I’m bringing it up because of something that was said in a group that I belong to online. This group consists of a bunch of ordinary guys, swapping notes, shooting the shit, and busting each other’s balls. Typical dude shit.

Somebody screenshotted a photo of a young woman off of Tinder though. Now, to me, her face was ordinary. She wasn’t ugly, nor was she attractive. She was average. A 5 out of 10. A plain Jane. Totally forgettable. Except…

Except that in her “bio” she mentioned something along the lines of accepting money for dates. Something about being a “sugar baby.” Basically a form of prostitution.

Her picture, her bio, they are out there. Out in the wild. Out on the internet. And the internet never forgets.

Right now, today, jobs are not only looking at your criminal backgrounds and your credit scores, they are looking at your social media profiles. They are looking to see what you are doing, what you are saying, and who you are saying and doing those things with. Old news.

But what about this young woman, who is 19 or so? Maybe her job hasn’t seen what she’s saying she’s looking for, what she’s willing to do. Maybe they don’t care. Maybe what she does on her personal time is none of their business and none of their concern. I get that. And honestly, that’s how it should be.

But what about a guy she meets, whether online or off? What if he decides to do a little digging, see what shows up you know? Facial recognition software already exists. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes affordable and publicly available to the masses. Hell, you can take any photo off of the internet, throw it into Google images, and have a reasonable chance of finding the origin of that photo, or at least finding similar ones out there. That’s old news.

What if this young woman, after spending several years, living it up, partying it up, posting her antics and her whatnot’s on the internet decides she wants to “settle down” one day? We all want love right? We all, for the most part, are looking to spend a significant portion of our time with somebody else. Spend our lives together, start a family, that sort of thing. What happens if and when that potential suitor does an internet search on her face and that Tinder profile, showing that she was willing to exchange sex for money shows up? What is he going to do then? What would he think?

Thank god, I’m the age I am and grew up when I did. The internet didn’t exist when I was a hooligan. All of my exploits are lost to time, and since there are no pics, it didn’t happen.

I get it though. We either were or are, young and dumb at some point in our lives. YOLO and all of that. But just remember, the internet never forgets. Whatever you post online is out of your hands the moment you post it. Sure, you can set your privacy settings to “friends only.” You can even set them to “just me.” But what about your “friend” that does a screen shot from their phone? What if somebody gets your password or hacks your account? So much for privacy settings.

It’s probably wiser to take one from the mafia on this:

Keep your mouth shut. Or in this case, don’t be posting photos or videos of you doing stupid shit that could have repercussions a decade from now.

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Here’s a picture worth a thousand words. You might also be lucky to be called “grandma,” as well. Let that sink in.

 

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Scorched Earth

ash blaze burn burning

Something I read yesterday really struck a chord with me. It talked about Scorched Earth. Now this one was related to war, but in the end of a marriage, in the end of a relationship, aren’t they not wars too?

Too many men are afraid of pissing off their women. Too many men are afraid of “losing half.”

If your wants and needs are second to her’s because society brainwashed you into thinking that is the way it is supposed to be, and you don’t get your needs met, what’s the point of sticking it out? What’s the point of continuing? Doing it “for the kids?” You’ll teach them that is what a healthy relationship looks like. Then they will go out and seek that same type of relationship, or they will create it if they can’t find it.

Staying together because of the kids is a bad idea.

If the relationship is ending, kill it. Let it end. Be done with it. Even if it means “losing half.” You have the ability as a man to go out and make or create more wealth, more money. You’ll be able to go out and have your needs met by someone willing and able to meet your needs. Trust me, they are out there. There are women out there right now ready and willing to meet your needs. Go and find them.

Stop worrying about “losing half.” The courts are stacked against you? You knew that already and you married her anyway.

If your going to get divorced and she is the one who filed and she is the one who wants out, go scorched earth. Burn it all. Worried that she is going to be “entitled” to half your wealth? Half of nothing is nothing. Spend every last cent you have. Spend it fighting her if you want. Spend it on wine, women, and song. Go have adventures. Do something with your money before she gets it. You’ll always be able to make more down the road.

She’ll be a single mother looking for a chump to finance her lifestyle. Remember, half of nothing is nothing.

We as men could fare better in life if we took the scorched earth policy to many things. I’ve found there is nothing so powerful as saying, “Fuck it, let’s see what happens.” Or “fuck it, let’s see what you got. Bring it on.”

Most men and women today don’t have the stomach or the balls to go scorched earth. You’ll find out what you are capable of and it can free you if you do. It did for me.

When I was first getting divorced, I played nice with my ex-wife. I didn’t want to rock the boat. I wanted that waiting period to go smoothly, quickly, and as painlessly as possible.

It didn’t go that way for some of it. All the time I was answering the phone, listening to her blame me for everything. All the time it was her sob story about “poor her,” and how I left her in poverty even though she was the one who chose to move across the country to start over.

It was not enough that I gave her money and a car and let her take whatever she wanted out of the house to go with her. She would call and cry and commiserate about how hard it was, and then she would hit me up for more money.

She would probably being doing that to this day if I had allowed it to carry on. But I didn’t. You see, one day, she did me a huge favor. Probably the biggest favor of all, now that I look back on it.

She called up one day and she was nice and civil at first. That’s how all the phone calls started. But then she mentioned the magic word…

Alimony.

She started saying that she had talked to some legal outfit about how she could be entitled to alimony even though we had both agreed in the divorce filing that no alimony would be claimed by either party. She never said that she was going for alimony, but she insinuated it. She hinted at it.

That was it for me. I told her if that was what she wanted, bring it on. I would spend every last cent that I had fighting her. And when that money ran out, I would beg, borrow, or steal whatever money I needed to continue that fight. Why? Because fuck her, that’s why.

That’s scorched earth.

I said I would do it and I meant it. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. Then I ended the call with her and contacted an attorney to find out what rights I had and what rights she had. I needed to know what to prepare for in case she actually wanted to follow through on her not so veiled threat.

Turns out that if she wanted to fight, she would ultimately have to come back to where I live to do it. Since the divorce was filed here and she was a resident here at the time, she would have to come back and have her day in court. All on her own dime.

That didn’t happen.

You really can’t lose when you have nothing to lose.

It’s not about, do better, or be better. Sometimes it’s about Fuck It. Let the shit fall where it may and let’s see what happens.

If she is the one holding the match, you can be the one holding the gasoline.

 

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What Now?

flight sky people high

As I write this, it’s Thursday, the day before the viewing for my Mother, which will be Friday. Ah Friday. Lately seems like all of the interesting shit falls on a Friday. Then there will be Saturday. The day that we bury her.

I’m still sort of in shock. I’m still numb. Maybe tomorrow reality will hit me full force in the face. Maybe not. Maybe that will be Saturday. Then again, maybe not. Maybe it will be weeks or months, maybe even years before this really hits me. I don’t really know.

My closest Brother, Ryan, called me today. He lives in Illinois at the moment. He’s been there for quite a few years now. God I miss him. I really wish he was here. He can’t be though. He’s got his own life and his own shit to deal with.

But we talked. Talked for about an hour and a half. It was really good to talk with him. I got to tell him the things that are going on in my life at the moment and he got to tell me the things that are going on in his life. He’s got some really, and I mean REALLY awesome things that are happening to him. I’m so happy for him. I really and truly hope that they work out and come true.

We talked about my Mom. We talked about how we went to car shows with her and my Dad. He mentioned that she was like a Mother to him as well. He’s hurting too. I know it.

My Mom was a “neat lady.” She was. She was neat. She did the best she could and like all of us really, she had to figure things out as she went. She had to wing it. I’ll always love her for that. She meant well.

I’m relieved that she is no longer in pain. I’m glad that she isn’t suffering anymore. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that I got to know her the best that I could.

That being said, my Mom was no saint. She wasn’t perfect. In fact, she was rather heavy handed with me as I was growing up. Even right up to the end, that was how she was. Always giving me unsolicited advice. Telling me what I “should” do. What I “ought” to do. What I “needed” to do. Some of that unsolicited advice was priceless. Most of it was worthless.

I guess in her eyes, I never grew up. I was never the Man before her. I was always her son and the little boy who didn’t have it figured out and would never figure it out. Even at my age of 46. Part of me resents her for that.

I know that I’ll miss her terribly. But part of me is relieved that she is gone. For the first time in my life, I feel truly out from under her. I’m sure I mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m saying it again.

I get to be me now. I don’t have to wear a mask around the family anymore. I don’t have to wear a mask around her anymore. I can be who I am, warts and all. I don’t have to face her judgment anymore. I don’t have to hear her “should’s,” “ought to’s,” and “need’s” anymore. I can be me full time around my Dad now. He can be who he really is around me full time now.

I love my Mom and always will, if it wasn’t for her and my Father both, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t exist.

I still resent her though, to some degree. And like I said, I’m relieved that she is gone. I don’t have to put up with her shit anymore.

I mentioned to my Dad the other day why I didn’t come around much ever since I left the nest and got out on my own. I didn’t have to finish what I had started, he finished it for me.

“You didn’t come around much because you didn’t want to hear your Mother’s shit.”

He’s right. Nailed it in one. I’ve always considered my Father perceptive, but I didn’t realize until then, just how perceptive he really is.

I needed to tell him why I didn’t come around so that he didn’t think it was about him. Turns out he knew all along. He was right.

The girlfriend tolerated my Mother and the sparse visits we made to visit her and my Dad. I knew she didn’t really want to be around my Mom. She said to me one night after we had left their house, “You change when you’re around them.”

“What? How do you mean?”

“I don’t know, you become more quiet, more withdrawn, sullen.”

“I do?”

“Yeah you do.”

I never realized I did that until that conversation. But I did. Did it for years. Honestly, I did that my whole life. I tried to show my Mom who I really was when I was much younger and she didn’t want to see it. Couldn’t see it. Wouldn’t see it. Like many things in her world, her life, she only saw what she wanted to see. We all do that to one degree or another. I know I do.

The girlfriend spoke to me the other day, she hopes that my Dad will wait until she gets back from her trip before he starts to remove Mom’s stuff from the house. She wants to help him do it. She wants to hopefully get a better picture of who my Mom as a Mother and a woman was, and she also wants to get to know my Dad better. She actually wants to spend more time around my Father. She likes him. She wants to see what he’s like now that he’s not the caregiver. She wants to see him outside the influence of my Mom. I do too.

My Father and I get to start new chapters now. Chapters without the influence of my Mother. It’ll be good I think.

No, it will be great.

Life is absurd and so is death. But here we are.

There are no rules really, only consequences. Do what you want. Think what you want. Be who you want. Accept the consequences of those choices. Realize for the most part, none of those choices or consequences will kill you.

Set yourself free.

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