I Blame Myselves

I’m not gonna lie to you here: I am a person on the Internet, and unless you’re trying to fool future employers or put your dick in something you’re not supposed to I see no reason to lie on Internet. And so:

I google myself on a pretty regular basis.

We’re talking once a day at most, a number scaled down from the original when I discovered “the Google alert” some years ago. Now there is less need. Not no need. Less. Before I discovered the Google alert I was googling myself somewhere in the double digits. Now I just google my name with various misspellings to catch anything the Google alert might have missed, although I have alerts for those too (belts and braces). I search my name on Twitter to see how many of my real life friends are following other Hayley Campbells without noticing and I am horrified. Do I have a problem? I don’t reckon so. You people do this too. It’s just you don’t put it on the Internet.

In high school computer lessons (in the ‘90s, with our beige Hewlett Packards) we all googled ourselves for the first time. It was an all-girls Catholic school and our computer teacher was an enormous toad-like variation on Dame Edna: wide mouth, wider arse, purple rinse. Like something out of the 1960s typing pool she once swam in when thinner, she taught us how to touch-type with hankies over our fingers and schooled us in the correct way to sit at the computer. “Tits out, ladies. If you have ‘em, flaunt ‘em, if you don’t, lie. Tits out, ladies. Miss Campbell, I can’t see you sticking your titties out. Tits out, ladies, tits out.”

Mantra.

(As a consequence of these lessons I occasionally type too fast for my computer and have to sit back and let it catch up – the words scrolling across the screen without me like a Player Piano. I am also frequently complimented on my excellent computer posture unlike my standing posture, which is the trademark stoop of the giant lady with soft-spoken friends. Imagine a shy polar bear.)

But in this computer class during the embryonic Genesis period of The Internet we googled our names for the very first time. “I’m a politician in Canada!” someone would cry.

“I’m a famous Olympic swimmer!”

“I got arrested for getting my cock out in a city I’ve never heard of!” said someone with a non-gender specific name.

All around the classroom were girls finding out what identically named humans were up to. And then I googled myself.

“I’m a – uh.”

Silence. Expectation. Was Hayley Campbell a seal trainer at Sea World in America? Did she get dragged into the pool and eaten by an orca? Was she a heart surgeon who travelled to Malawi and saved a tiny baby, pro bono?

No. According to Google, Hayley Campbell was a 13-year-old girl living in Brisbane, Australia, with a dad who drew autobiographical comics and sometimes put her in them. It was me. I googled myself and I got: myself. I was top Hayley Campbell on the Internet and summarily uninvited from the Google game. It continued without me and my stuck-out tits.

From then on, I googled myself in private. Now all it does is remind me that instead of saving the planet like the ecologist Hayley Campbell, I am the Hayley Campbell who wrote about getting my vagina plastercasted and hung on a wall. Instead of the Hayley Campbell with a high-paid career in make-up artistry, I am the Hayley Campbell who, at 7, wrote an entire book about ways humans can die. Instead of the pretty blonde actress Hayley Campbell, I am the one who told the internet that I keep a stock of dead animals in my freezer, the one who did crimes to a pigeon and plead guilty. I am the Hayley Campbell who told the outside world about rangas.

According to my blog stats, other people google me too. But because of my history, they find me through search terms like “putting things in the anus” and “buttstuff”.

But the Hayley Campbell I worry about most is the one who writes love poems and doesn’t include anything in her short author bio (“writer”) that might help differentiate her from me, the other Hayley Campbell (“writer”), even though the closest I ever got to writing about love was that time I compared Lord of the Rings to buttsex. What if people think I wrote a love poem? The worst thing. The worst thing. I do not write love poetry. I write about catastrophic cartwheels and sad fish and chips and putting things in anuses.

Google “Hayley prostitute” and you get me. This is thanks to a Louis Theroux documentary about a brothel in which the leading lady was called Hayley. People wanted to know what happened to her. Did she dye her hair and move to London, get a job in a comic shop and write about anuses?

If you got here wondering that exact question: No. She’s probably still in the brothel or married with kids, I have no idea. I am not her. Although she’s probably got loads of stuff to say about putting things up buttholes.

Other Hayley Campbells google themselves. I have ten Facebook friend requests from other Hayley Campbells. Now, I do not think this is an innocent Dave Gorman-like experiment. If mental instability and a competitive nature are the hallmarks of a Hayley Campbell, my theory is that they are rounding us up in order to keep tabs on ourselves. Specifically, what I mean is that I, as the heretofore crowned “Number One Internet Hayley Campbell”, am the one to beat. Top dog. Alpha Papa.

Are these other Hayley Campbells plotting to kill me, to overthrow my google reign? Will the make-up artist plunge cotton-tips into my ear-holes and poke holes in my brain like that episode of Girls? Will the Hayley Campbell dairy farmer try to milk me to death? Will the actress Hayley Campbell “do voices” at me until I die because it’s preferable to listening? This Hayley Campbell-centric version of The Ladykillers won’t stop playing in my head.

Um. So: if any of you insecure self-googlers are reading this, please disregard the above paragraphs. Lies. I am definitely the Hayley Campbell on StarNow, the blonde one who enjoys ballroom dancing and claims to be able to do a Bangladeshi accent. Honest. Kill her not me. Google it.

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