I have been busy stalking tracking down my great-great grandfather, for want of anything else interesting to do. He, like my dad (although that's the other side of the family), was elected mayor. Unlike my dad, he died before he could actually take office, but he'd previously been active enough in Liverpool City Council to warrant a mention in the odd book or two. One of these books was recently made available online, so I was able to glean extra information.
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He is a pretty good relative to have. It was like he was designed to make me, as his ancestor, proud: he was an Irish nationalist, a trade unionist, and he campaigned for the rights of the dockers in Liverpool (the watch they presented him with is still in our family, I do believe). Even better than that, he was involved in improved conditions in mental health institutions. The only slight downside is that I've turned out to e a Liverpool supporter. Not sure he'd have approved of that.
All this gleaning of snippets of information got me thinking, as I failed to fall asleep last night. I'm excited by these tiny pieces of information about somebody who's connected to me by blood but who I never knew. I don't even know people who knew him. All the information I know has been passed down through the family or found online. But I've still got this fascination. What are my own great great grandchildren going to be able to find out about me, if they are bothered enough to find out? Probably loads and loads, even though I haven't done anything noteworthy like get myself elected mayor or grow a fantastic moustache. I don't know what will happen to my Facebook profile after I've shuffled off this mortal coil, but if my 'digital foodprint' still remains, they'll be able to found out everything. Like last week I was disappointed that Lidl had run out of halva. Etc etc. All the banal stuff I post online could be VIEWED BY MY OWN DESCENDANTS.
Then I thought that maybe I'm doing it on purpose, subconsciously. Maybe it's my fear of death/not doing anything useful with the time I have that's, paradoxically, making me spend so much time on all this social media and reaffirm my very existence. Which is itself made tedious by my constant presence on social media.
Then I started to worry that if I died soon, my nearest and nearest might go through my Facebook page to try and feel a bit closer to me. Like I sometimes Google the names of loved ones who are gone just to see what comes up. And I worried that it'd cause them the same mixture of pain and feeling of closeness that I experience.
My thoughts, by this point, had gone a bit dark (this is what we call a 'negative thoughts spiral', I'm assured by professionals). I then started to worry that I would never have children and thus would never have descendants who'd care enough to track down my digital footprint. I've only got about 15 years of baby-making ability left, and I still don't know how to bleed a radiator and also frequently walk into things. How am I supposed to meet Mr Not Right, But Right Enough For Katie, AND become a proper member of society, in just 15 years? AND I WANT BABIES NOW.
At this point, I fell asleep, which was probably for the best. Now I am playing abandonware (Rome 92 AD, last played in school when I was in year 5, I have been trying to hunt it down ever since). Hopefully this insight into my mind does not cause anyone (descendants or modern-day people) to think badly of me. Just remember, I have to put up with stuff like this inside my brain all the time.

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