The Right to Be Forgotten: Nineteen

I drive through the night and stop at a hotel after daybreak. I can check in after 2:00 pm! Thoroughly unhelpful. Someone should open a hotel chain for nocturnals, for those of us who live in the dark.

Instead of sorely needed sleep, I find a deli with WiFi and set up shop. Laptops stake claims to over half the tables. I secure my own claim before ordering.

Emails overrun my inbox, so I close the mail client and I go straight to the web. My author site has comments to be moderated and two new followers. I should fall of the planet more often. I open a new post, title it, and watch the cursor await my next move.

I haven’t decided what to say. And I probably shouldn’t tell the world before my editor. Or before my mom. So I free write, making no sense and accumulating nearly five thousand words. I feel better and stick it in a drafts folder, because no one needs to read those words.

But in writing them, I discover my purpose beyond making a name. I give myself two weeks to find a story, just one amazing story. Then I can pitch a nonfiction project to bring the whole problem to light. I can publish under a pseudonym or give all profits to charity. Easy. Simple. This will work.

Such is every book idea I’ve ever had. That should be a red flag. The shiny idea shines and beckons. The grand scheme is so grand in its simplicity. Never mind that the stupid blinking cursor will eventually stare me down for days on end while I eat my feelings of inadequacy and hunt the next shiny idea.

This is a process I should anticipate but won’t. So I search for viral videos. The more viral, the more belittling, the better in this case. I mean, it already exists, so I might as well find it and expose the villains in the whole thing. Right?

Immediately, I stumble upon Sad Boy is Sad, which is weird. I expect him to be a thing called past at this point. Virals don’t last too long, generally speaking, unless someone has found a monetary avenue. Sad Boy has no monetary strains. Why would he come back now, after hitting his peak?

After burning an hour searching for anything that might lead me to Sad Boy in real life, I turn to new videos. Many are innocuous. Some belittle dogs. Several mock cats. Still, I barely need to drill down to find the ones that potentially harm humans.

The Needy Friend depicts an overweight woman hugging people. When she sees the camera on her, she tries to say something in a sickly sweet voice but is cut off. Editing replaces her head with that of an octopus whose tentacles reach ever outward to others. Maybe the Needy Friend is in on this, part of the fun. I doubt it.

Searching mean viral videos is insufficient.

viral video ruins life

Search

Yikes.

So much ruin on such a shiny screen with crisp lines and inviting fonts. Lives laid to waste, ruined in less than a quarter-hour. Here writhes the vitriol, the shame, the ungodly power of the Internet. Here, I will find the story to break barriers. I will find the story that will change everything.

Delusions of grandeur, you say? Of course. I’m a writer.

Last: Eighteen

Next: Twenty

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