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XIX-And On A Personal Note….

March 18, 2012

I just realized that I’m racing against time (14 minutes and counting) in order to write this blog assignment before the section deadline. But I just wanted to share a personal anecdote about the human side of the internet, and an example of how things can go horribly wrong. But of course I will have to be fast.

When I was a teenager, me and most of my friends all kept an online journal. Some of us…(okay…one of us) actually used it as a daily record of their activities, but most of us used it to whine and scream. Mine still exists actually, but I won’t post a link to it, 10 years prior is just not quite long ago enough to expose people who respect me to my unfiltered hormonal rage. These journals were the kind of stupidity that only teenagers could get away with. Namely, being civil to each other’s faces while complaining and insulting each other online. Okay, maybe I’m not being fair, it was mainly me who did all the complaining and insulting, and moreover I had no privacy controls installed on my journal whatsoever.

I started a certain summer day the same way I started all others when I was 15. I woke up at 3PM and wandered around the house in my underwear looking for something to eat. Imagine my surprise when my father smacked me on the back of the head with an envelope and then stormed off. I should mention that he was also in his underwear, but he was not interested in carrying out the final physical manifestation of the battle between boxers and tighty whities. He wanted me to read what was written in the envelope. I certainly haven’t forgotten all these years later. It bore no postage, meaning it had to have been personally delivered into our mailbox. The front of the envelope read” To the Clancy family…”. Enclosed was a brief note saying “I thought you might want to see some of the things your son Sean has been writing online.” And finally, the largest and most important part, my entire journal printed out, having already been pored over by my father.

The events of the following day were among the worst of my life. Every teenager leads a double life, the one they live at home in front of their parents and that outside. But one thing teenagers don’t face is the near total disclosure of all the details of their second life to the masters of their first, their parents. But on that day, I had to face it, and it was honestly one of the most trying days of my life.

I still don’t know who sent it. That’s probably for the best, because the urge to punch them in the face (possibly repeatedly) has not quite subsided. But I can’t say they didn’t teach me a valuable lesson. And I can’t say that I don’t think of it any time someone acts shocked and mystified about the fact that someone read what they wrote in a 100% public forum.

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