Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
There’s a website that will find anybody you want to find, but, unlike most of the ones that do that, this one doesn’t make you pay for the information. It’s all there, and it’s free. The outfit claims to exist to help people fill in their family trees, but you can think of all kinds of ways to abuse it.
Here’s a link where you can opt out of it so nobody can look you up. I did, and my name disappeared within 24 hours.
Sometimes I indulge in checking up on different people, such as old friends and distant family members (oh, and various Nostalgia Girls too …), but I also looked myself up on this database and learned that they had pretty much every address I’ve ever lived at, not to mention other names associated with mine. Like my ex-wife’s. There was an amusing smear of my name and my current wife’s name, a hybrid chap who sometimes gets mail at our house.
But the entry that really made the hair stand up on the back of my neck was that of a person I will not name. This is a person who has loomed like Cruella DeVil in my life, and for many a year now I’ve been content to understand that he/she has been exiled to a distant place, unable to darken my door or stumble across my path as I wheel a wobbly cart down the aisle of, say, a local Target store. I had cast this person away from me as an act of emancipation and payback, a better way of saying, “You suck!” An act of defiance and self-reclamation. The last time I ever spoke to him/her, it was all I could do not to tear him/her a new one.
What do you suppose the database told me?
Yes. It told me that he/she — my Moriarty — now lives within twenty miles of me!
Via a snaking trail of residences over the past ten years, slithering through at least four different states, this person has homed in on my little sanctuary and is edging ever closer. In fact, before I even knew this, I thought I saw him/her on the street in a nearby town, but I told myself, “No. Couldn’t be. He/she is exiled in a cold, distant place. In fact, he/she is probably dead by now!”
No such luck. The creature lives.
Ignorance is bliss, my friends. Take my advice and steer clear of ancestry databases and free lookups. Opt out of this one before it’s too late.
And be sure to watch your back because the past is never far behind, and it’s gaining on you!