Ten years ago I wrote some terribly serious biographies for a web site (they kind of suck). I tried looking for them recently but they are gonzo. Some evil wizard hiding behind a machine erased them from the cyber universe. What evil incarnate is in control of this vicious act and made my articles extinct? What happens if all my musings are removed? Do I, do I … become extinct. Will I become fossil fuel for a new generation in a million years? A dirty a piece of coal or in a few million years more, a shiny new diamond for some future Kardashian creature.
Now that I think about it, where do all these deleted pieces of writing, photos and twitter bleeps go? Do they float around on some cyber junk raft like that giant mass of plastic that roams the Pacific ocean (see picture above) – a human created non-biodegradable mass that is inching towards Vancouver, ready to wipe out the entire west coast of Canada. Is this what happens to lost articles that get expunged when taken over by another cyber company? The new enterprise chucks these precious thoughts into a giant bin and lets them float around in a binary ocean, forgotten by the entire planet. Or is this more like all those single socks that get lost in the dryer. When you die you get them all back – socks, articles, keys and tweets.
Yep, just checked again and they’re gone. I was hoping I may have pressed a wrong button and the articles were still alive, but no. They’re sunk. One of the articles was a biography of Jack Kerouac. I always liked googling my name and Jack because it brought us up together, on the same line. I could do the same with Alice Munro or Somerset Maugham (the other biographies I wrote) – and there we were together, me and Alice, ahhhh.
Legally, does this mean that those articles have come back to me? Do I get the copyright back so I can resell them (for more than the three cents I received) to some unsuspecting Wikipedia start-up who’s looking for slightly used articles that no one has read except my family and only because I threatened them with excommunication. I’m not a lawyer but when you discard them like a used plastic doll, Mr. Evil Wizard, it means I can resell them in a cyber garage sale (along with those three hundred pet rocks I bought in 1983).
However this got me to thinking. Is this how we measure ourselves today? How much we ply our thoughts, emotions and ideas on Facebook, Twitter or in the blog world. Will these musings last an eternity? Digital letters do not erode like dinosaurs or human emotion. Unless, of course some nasty power hungry person presses the delete button and relegates you to a floating plastic cyber-barge. Will our cyber personalities last until the next millennium? Will cyber-anthropologists look at our society and profess rash judgments like, “these early cyber geeks were vicious man-eating creatures who nearly destroyed the planet with their overabundant, egotistical silicon use.” But it doesn’t matter what happens because the articles will always exist for me. Right here on my laptop. The device that gets chucked on my funeral pyre.
Photo from here. Thanks