It Never Goes Away

Every year on December 1st, I get a notification from Facebook that it’s a certain friend’s birthday. The trouble is that the friend has been gone for over four years. I read a poem at his memorial service. He was a ski club guy, not a guy I knew real well.
Is there no one to take down his Facebook page? I don’t mind thinking of him every December when the notification pops up, but yet, someone should take it down. The internet is going to be a clogged-up mess when the Boomers are dead and gone, and all their social media posts are left behind.
Talk about fake news! What about generations to come who still want to shop at my now defunct brick and mortar shop? My shop and its disconnected phone number live on with reviews, Yelp, Google, and any other search engine. People still call on my second phone number, asking to sell me a house full of furniture.
And then there’s my abandoned Facebook page, since I can’t have two under the same name. And my old email address, whose password is long forgotten. Are people still trying to contact me that way? I know I’ve missed more than one party when the evite was sent to the old email address.
I have rewards cards set up all over the place with a now-defunct-landline-phone number. I punch in the old number at the check-out, because it is easier than trying to get the number changed.
When I moved, divorced, and closed my shop in a four-month block of time, I forgot to tell Ebay my new address. I didn’t tell one of my publishers, either. By the time the dust settled and I wondered where my packages were, twelve were waiting for me at my old address. The contractor, the guy the new owners had hired to gut the place, kept throwing them in the front closet instead of putting them back in the mailbox. I begged my old mailman to get them back for me. It took a few weeks and several phone calls to the post office in my town. I finally went over there in person and walked in the back door of my old house and asked for my mail. Two of my books had gone out of print during those four months, and two boxes of free copies from the publisher were waiting for me.
I’ve sent orders to people on Etsy who didn’t change their addresses. The hostility they directed toward me was wrong, but like me, they had forgotten to update their info.
Some day we will be robots with microchips in our arms. We will be able to scan our wrists everywhere we go and stop carrying purses and credit cards. The system will automatically update our information, worldwide, when we move. We won’t have to tell anyone, we will just think it in our brains, and it will happen. We aren’t there yet, but we aren’t doing it the old pen and paper way, either. We are stuck in the middle, with passwords, phone numbers, email addresses, and Facebook pages that are obsolete and still swirling around in Cyberspace.
Some start-up company will figure out a way to eliminate our electronic footprint when we are gone. And those who do will become very, very rich. They will call it Bob Be Gone or E-erase.

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