Monday, January 21, 2013

"That girl"

With 35 years comes a bit of self awareness.

I believe that had I ever been a contestant on The Bachelor, I would have been one of the ones that gets too drunk on the first night. I might not have made a complete a$$ of myself. He might have even kept me around for some laughs. But I just know enough about myself at this point to know that's what would have happened.

It's not that I have a problem. In all honesty, I drink about as much now in a month as I used to take down on an average Tuesday night (yeah 2-for-1 ladies night! Woo woo!!) G-d knows my drunken antics have not alienated me from my friends. If anything, my friendships were arguably much closer when we were all regularly humiliating ourselves together under the influence of alcohol. Well, if not closer, we certainly had more to chat about on a regular basis. But now we get to reminisce about those hazy nights and laugh at the folly of youth.

Mobile phones and email only became common as we were leaving college, thank goodness. We didn't take that many pictures. When we did, we were at the mercy of the 35mm film gods. Sometimes pictures were double exposed. We rarely, if ever, had everyone smiling at once. And typically, if an embarrassing moment was being recorded, we missed most of it, preserving merely a "snapshot" of an otherwise ridiculous event. In addition, if we did have embarrassing photos, there was no method of mass distribution to ensure we were humiliated both in the moment and forever after. But these days the embarrassing photos are not only easier to take, they are a piece of cake to distribute. We used to get doubles printed of our photos for an extra $.99, so at most there was one extra copy of an embarrassing picture floating around. No chance of viral GIFs or becoming an overnight You Tube sensation.

Unlike the contestants on The Bachelor, and frankly most of the youth of today, we didn't have to actually re-live our antics. But all that has changed. Gone are the days of hazy, hard to remember nights. Everything is being recorded and posted and commented on and publicly released, and I am scared to one day learn of the true repercussions.

My concern these days is not necessarily how much these young kids (to be clear, I am 35, not 85) are messing with their futures, but the fact that they are oblivious to it. This is proven, by the way. My dear friend in Human Resources has pointed this out time and time again since My Space and Facebook started. Kids don't realize that just like you can Google a new dating prospect, employers can Google you. They can find you on Facebook or wherever else you're showing off how "cool" you are, and you must consider your online content from the eyes of a future employer.

All that doesn't have much to do with me. Clearly I have no problem exposing myself online... hence this blog. But I am self employed. I work with my mother and sister, and if they could handle me showing up for family functions still drunk or head in the toilet hungover from the ages of 21-26, they can handle anything. My causes for concern are my friends, cousins, friend's children and of course my little darling who will never do any of the stuff we all did... yeah right.

How are we meant to get the point across that the dangers of underage or binge drinking these days are not just in the actual moments of inebriation, but in the preservation and publication of the imbecilic scenarios we can then get ourselves into? It is a different world now, and the instant fame that can often be achieved is as powerful a drug as the actual drugs they may or may not be doing.

When I meet my daughter's future significant others, will part of the screening process be looking them up online? Is it safe to assume Andy Warhol was right and they will all have about 15 minutes of something for me to find? Can I only hope that they were the "Charlie bit my finger" kid and not some "Jackass" wannabe?

My real hope is that somehow we find a better balance between people's need for fame and their desire to humiliate themselves. My personal humiliating past had no desire for fame. And my desire for fame was never bold enough to humiliate myself. But had they ever met up... who knows. Well, actually, I know. I'd have been the girl that got too drunk the first night of The Bachelor.

The author has been known to utilize parking cones for alternative purposes while intoxicated

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