Reporting Patrick Braud
Okay, to start off let me say that I’m very impressed. When once I had to come over to your house and “fix” your computer by simply closing the two-hundred popup ads that you did not know how to get rid of, you have figured out how to find your Internet search history and replicate the process to find mine. I have some explaining to do.
Let me say that I understand the Internet is a fascinating place. It’s also completely terrifying, and I’ll tell you that you know nothing. What you’ve found on me doesn’t even touch some of the $#!t I’ve seen. I’ve been to places that shocked me, Grandma, and you’re worried about finding the Wikipedia pages of John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy in there? Please. It gets so much worse than this.
That said, I know you didn’t grow up with the Internet. Me and all of my generation did, and even though I have no earthly belief that it has desensitized us to the point of rampant sociopathy, I can see where someone of your generation might be a little nervous about finding some of the stuff you’ve seen in there. You’re not used to it.
Here’s the thing: the Internet is with us constantly, now sitting in our pockets in our new-fangled future phones just begging to be used to figure out who played Bernard the Elf in The Santa Clause. It wasn’t so long ago that if nobody around you knew that off the top of their heads, you’d have to wait until you got home to look it up.
Our concept of delayed gratification is gone. I know you would find patience to be a virtue, and you probably wish I didn’t try to find out who played that damn elf while still at dinner with you, but that’s just the way it is now. Times are changing; we have every bit of information ever known at our disposal and we can find it right now. The truth is that it crosses many borders. Sometimes we want to find the IMDb page of actor David Krumholtz, but sometimes we also want to find the Wikipedia pages of every notorious serial killer of the last fifty years.
To ease your worries, I want to let you know that I am completely appalled by everything those people ever did. It is brutal and shocking, but it is goddamn interesting. Gacy was a clown! He performed at kids’ birthdays! Yes, it is depraved and disgusting, but so, so morbidly interesting.
I am also similarly shocked at what you might have seen about “furries” in the search history. Depending on how far you went, we’re exactly on the same page. The truth is, it started out by Googling a statistic a friend had told me, stating that 21% of furries had a non-sexual interest. To me, that pretty much equated to “being dressed as an animal.” I dressed up as a shark for Halloween once, would 8-year-old me be considered a furry?
Something you may have learned about the Internet is that whatever page you’re on, there will be a link to a related page. When it comes to things like serial killers, then hey, you just read about a different serial killer and it’s like you’re reading a trashy, guilty-pleasure novel. No harm no foul, right? When it comes to furries, however, you end up seeing things that make you need to go take a shower. Not want. Need. And now Google knows, and Google never forgets. When you type in “f” the next time you want to search for the closest Fuddrucker’s or whatever, you’re gonna see furries pop up again.
Now I know you’re also concerned about the products Amazon.com is currently recommending for me. Amazon and Google share the feature of having an amazing memory, and the fact that Amazon is currently recommending me various machetes might seem odd to you. Especially when coupled with the serial killer thing. I get that, it would probably seem weird even to some of my peers.
It’s all a coincidence, really. My roommate asked me for some gift ideas for Christmas and instead of telling him real ideas like a good, normal person, I recommended him machetes because I wanted to give him fake ideas that would delight me and not ever help him. It just happened to be near my searches for various serial killers. Bad timing, I know, and now you know I’m a bad person in different ways. It’s not that I’m a deranged psychopath; I’m just a kind of a jerk. Hopefully a lovable one, like in the sitcoms.
You might be concerned that the search history went beyond machetes to high-grade rocket launchers. Well, that’s just Wikipedia’s fault. If they didn’t want me to find out the specs of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, then the developers should have thought about that before they named it the same thing as a common coaxial cable used to wire residential homes.
Honestly, there’s nothing to be concerned about here. It’s all just generational differences in terms of desensitization and a lack of thinking things like, “No, that’s okay. I don’t need to know everything about this right away.” I do apologize for what has undoubtedly put you in the uncomfortable position of wondering whether or not your grandson understands what feelings or empathy are. Rest assured, I care for my fellow man and do not want to murder them with machetes or grenade launchers; especially not while in an animal costume. I love people and their puny thoughts and feelings! I kid. But really, don’t worry. Our Internet phones and violent video games aren’t the catalysts to a worldwide battle royale between desensitized teens. Nothing’s really as bad as it seems.
In other news, my machete ships next Tuesday.
Patrick is a writer and comedian living in Chicago. He owns exactly zero machetes and forgot everything he learned about RG-6 RPGS. He’s got a Tumblr where he puts up lil’ doodles occasionally and you can follow him on Twitter @fatfraud.