I have 12-18 months to live. Like any Z-list, fame-hungry, Plank-length celebrity, I periodically Google myself — blog search only, since web searches usually result in the same old pages — to see if anyone’s talking smack about me. What do I see today on page 1, right between my batting averages post on the Harriet blog and some other real estate agent TG? This exciting note from the film industry:
Peter Hedges will write and direct “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The idea came from Ahmet Zappa who produces with Scott Sanders and is a modern-day fable. The plot details are being kept under wraps.
Good God. Next year’s Up! is going to steal my good name and snuff me out of cyberspace! Don’t believe me? Try finding Benjamin F. Button‘s blog on Google. He used to make a living through his website on the vibrant happenings in the (he’d argue) ironically named Barren County, Kentucky — now he’s nothing but a dead man listed by number (l2442) on a geneology website. That forgettable, Oscar-cajoling, Forrest Gump knock-off starring Brad Pitt’s makup artist completely consumed his identity. For 30 pages Google knows nothing but the big budget movie, which seems to even have consumed F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.
Megan and I were just talking yesterday about the importance of having a unique name in the digital age. It’s as if Lyn Lifshin’s parents pre-reserved space on every message board and cyber-platform on the interweb. For every johnsmith1134 who waited for the clock to strike 9pm EST on the day Facebook doled out usernames, there was a Martha Vertreace-Doody somewhere having a fun night on the town.
As the world grows smaller, more and more your name is becoming your brand. And you only get one. I’ve been Timothy Green for 6 years now — everyone just calls me “Tim,” but when I publish under Tim Green, people think I used to play linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. It took a while, but I’ve become the #1 Timothy Green on the internet. There’s the Senator from Missouri, there’s comic book artist Timothy Green II. I thought my toughest competition was going to be Timothy Green-Beckley, Ufologist and hack-scientist extraordinaire. One by one I’ve knocked them down — but for what? For all of us to be buried by a 3-D digital feature?
What’s worse will be off-line, in the so-called “real world.” It was bad enough during Tom Green’s 15 minutes of fame. Worse still when everyone started yelling “Timmmmaaaaay!” at my baseball games. But this is actually Timothy Green — how many times am I going to hear about my “odd life” for the rest of my odd life? How many emails will have that as a subject line? How many times will strangers ask me, “So Tim, how’s your odd life going, har-har?”
Just shoot me now. Next summer you won’t have to — I’ll already be dead to Google, and what else is there?