I know I’m not the only person who has set up a Google Alert that lets me know whenever I am mentioned on the Internet. If you are as famous as, say, LeBron James, it would be pretty silly to do such a thing … you know you are always being talked about. And there are people who work hard to be as invisible as possible online. But then there are folks like me, with our 15 minutes or so of Internet fame, and once in awhile my name pops up somewhere. And I’m not ashamed to admit I like that.
Now, most of the alerts Google sends me are just to tell me I’ve posted on this blog, which is pretty uninteresting. And there are other Steven Rubios out there, and I get alerts for them on occasion. But once in awhile, I get an alert that really is about me, and tells me something I didn’t know. More often than not, these are links to something I’ve written, but I’ll take that any day of the week.
And so, a few minutes ago, I get a Google Alert in my email box telling me I’m in the Washington Post. Even though I was about to step into the shower, I had to pause long enough to follow the alert. And sure enough, there I am.
I suppose I should admit that the person who linked to me is my friend Jonathan Bernstein, who has shown what a thoughtful, stylish writer can do simply by starting a blog that people want to read. (Among other things, he shows up at the Washington Post.) But like I say, I’ll take that any day of the week, especially since Jonathan puts me in the company of people like Matt Yglesias and Brad DeLong (Jonathan is a political scientist, which explains those other people … I’m not sure how I sneak in there).
He links to the post about Mike Krukow and memory that I wrote last week. And it’s a funny thing. I never have any idea what I’ll write that will elicit a response. Sometimes I’ll go a week without a single comment … other times, I’ll connect with people and the comments flow. This “memory” post is apparently one of the latter, although again, I certainly didn’t expect that, and in fact thought that post would mostly be ignored. But I got several comments, a couple of emails, and a text message, all about my thoughts on Mike Krukow’s memory.
It occurs to me that this blog can serve to jog my memory, just as the Baseball-Reference site tells me what happened in baseball in 1976. Earlier today, a friend asked me about the movie Oldboy. I knew I’d seen it, knew I’d liked it a lot, but that was the extent of my memory. Then I searched the blog for “oldboy” and found my review from a couple of years ago. Voila, instant memory!
Of course, if I fill my blog with lies, it won’t do much good to future generations interested in what happened in my life. I suspect that’s why I spend more time writing about movies and TV and music than I do telling anecdotes … I know that no matter how hard I try, my anecdotes will be filled with the lies inherent in our faulty memories. But I can tell you what I did back in late May of 2009 … I watched Oldboy and liked it enough to rate it 9 on a scale of 10. There’s something comforting in the existence of that factoid.