We’re all searching for people. But who uses background checks?

My grandpa John, tough man who worked for years at the port with piles of sacks he had to transport from container shipments to warehouses, to be then taken to trucks and distributed all over the country, had this persky little habit; it turned out to teach me a lesson as early as my thirties, but it’s really not what you think. First, it’s very clear that the notion of hard work was very different back then. A friend of mine (not to brag or anything) has a few interesting reports on the work around the port and how it used to be called the “Port of Death”, because of likeability to get some kind of disease due to low quality of sanitary precautions in transporting goods, a lot of them perishable. British poet John Masefield, as the local university reminded us, wrote in the Salt Water Ballads (1902): “It’s a cruel port in Santos, and a hungry land/with rows of graves already dug in a yonder strip of sand.” My grandpa, in his own way, maybe reminded of his own experiences at work, used to sing songs that had less of a flourished language and went on with his ever so deep voice: “they were two skulls in love with each other/who waited the night to meet unbothered” (and I can’t believe I found the link). What’s interesting is that, in a conversation with my older uncle, he told me his first job was managing a cemitery. And he was the guy that told me I could have a brilliant career in writing, you see. But back to grandpa John, God bless his soul and also grandma Aurea’s, who recently passed away as well, the pesky habit wasn’t the singing at all. His voice was absolutely beautiful. And quite intimidating, if he wasn’t a very humorous person. He used to keep all the home bills in his drawer, from years earlier, but all there. And I wonder what that means. Fast forward, and we think energy bills (some people are even singing about that) aren’t a reason for concern. Contacts are. Real contacts, that we don’t throw away, but manage and build on conversations with to make sure they’re gonna stay.

Because my grandparents, not on the dad side, neither on the mom side, are here anymore, I have to make sense of what their own lives can teach me. And they had a thing with collecting. On the mom’s side? It was more the memories. Grandma Zilma married grandpa Paul, a Black man who had a number of shortcomings, but so did my grandma, whose family lived in a clandestine hillside construction, but with her pension, she managed to get an apartment in a very fancy building, so I thought, and that made me out of touch with the neighborhood reality I live in now, a reflex of years of police interventions and eventually even shootings to catch the big drug traffickers. You’d wonder about my name and the condominium, but you don’t hear stories of cancer where you throw up blood until you choke and die, and your grandma has to clean it with a mop and bucket, then being traumatized, in her 50s, and retelling the story, time and time again, to her grandchild, who chose to live with her at 9, escaping his parents’ arguing, especially after the glittery-clay Santa Claus riding a rocket was thrown at the wall on Christmas day, and a table fell from the living room shelf straight into his finger, which broke and still hurts to this day — the ring finger on the left hand, that one you`re supposed to decorate after marriage. These things seem to not matter, and neither do the many family stories whose only version you’ll see is in people’s Facebook pictures, because a poem or a song couldn’t possibly capture any sentiment at all, especially when, after being bullied in every school attended, you resorted to videogames and then found a social life and this girl who you decided to move in with, her family approving the ordeal.

It was a 10 year long relationship. Three people made it shake, starting at the second half of that period: lovely music buddy from 2011 with the softest voice in the world, told you you were too self-counscious, taught you how to pronounce the word Wednesday and eventually narrated how she liked oral sex, but of course you were not jealous at all, even less when she became a mom (has that happened already, by the way?); your soulmate who called you buttercup, looked like an angel with the real ocean eyes, but very effortlessly, made you numb and nearly drugged down whenever she opened her mouth, told you that your best color was green, and eventually said she was deceived because you were not touching yourself on your Skype videocall in the year of 2014, wished you luck on the new job, then told you she couldn’t do it anymore because, well, she was too busy with Tumblr; then this other chick, a feisty, vicious redhead with a model face, but a tiny body and a total weirdo, with some kinks and all, no shame in showing off what she wanted to do to make you obsessed, but way past the acceptable for a reasonable platonic submission contract that was never a contract and that wasn’t submission at all, but a disease instead: diagnosed paranoia and panic, several compromised accounts, fake reports, hate campaigns and even meme circulation at gubernatorial level, not to mention the entertainment industry talk.

So you wonder why I’m publishing this. Three people. In real life, I dedicate most of my songs to the girls that mattered. Olivia, Paula, Karen and Iasmin. Well, there’s nobody else. Except one of them is not here anymore, and I’d like to give you more detail on that later. I’ve written small poems, maybe too short for the intensity of what we lived, for the film-maker turned educator (what a twist), but poems and songs, as well as short stories, for Paula. And Olivia is on my mind and even dreams all the time. So these people were the only ones in my life, except a few times I was drunk and grabbed or was grabbed. So what? It’s not like this video shared on social media, where the guy slides his hand on a girl’s thigh and ends up on the floor bleeding with broken bones and absolutely terrified. The video has been taken offline, since my reporting.

But if you want to have a discussion on the state of people’s private lives in comparison with the digital, what do you do? We present ourselves in a certain way. I can find someone “hot” who happens to have an international PhD. And we’re actually talking. Maybe it’s not a PhD, man. But I do have at least 2 friends with PhDs, and I have three MA projects. These things happened! And yet, look at the most recent activity of this random ass user. Or rather, imagine, if you will:

ivo123 added you as a friend

oh his name is ivo

ivo what, is 123 on the password?

idk run the app search

oh here, found his onlyfans

oh wow, take the reaper and spread that shit to his contacts

yeah but I need to accept and steal the wifi password first so I get the saved Google passwords

alright fam do that, I’m seeing about king321

oh shit, you’ll never guess

what

they’re besties

lmao did you check bitcoin today?

it’s up 32.

ah go talk to the USDT girl

nah man ethereum is changing you gotta keep an eye

keep an eye on what, discord has all the shit

yeah but it’s not evidence

of course it is

if you wanna make a telegram group

sure but what about these two?

idk man figure it out, is it me monetizing the leaks?

alright I’ll see if I can convince them to send dick pics. I’ll send my tongue on the story, classic.

they’ll come running lol

they’ll come whipping

ofc fucking losers

how about the 10 inch guy?

oh we went to a pool party last week

fun!

Now, you may think that’s totally out of line. But while I was working 7-11, like Beyonce says in her song (which has many other references, I think), my co-worker, who went to Russia with her savings, was literally living with a gossip journalist recording screens in 2013. One day, we went to a party, and my girlfriend basically did 3 things in a row: sucked on that girl’s tits, broke up with me and watched me throw up. The man who paid for the cab, because I was barely able to walk, was her current husband, who used to be my best friend. We’re good, we’re totally good. As I was leaving this co-worker’s home (2013, everyone), it was written on a whiteboard: “let’s all go to kik!” Did you know about that, curly babe?

The point of this blog is to make more people realize that no, we don’t know who people are immediately, but there are tools. I’m not talking about Pink Meth, for example, where you found way more than “revenge porn”: people tracked down user information in seconds using programming tools, and found out where they lived, their real full names, school, friends, family and then sent their nudes to all their contacts. Absolutely illegal, it popularized ransomware; today, that’s very normal. It was a less sophisticated part of the “tech bubble”, and arguably what people now call “bearish” in terms of finance, because they know the dangers (but what do I know? Better read about that). What we do know is that websites like Pipl allow you to easily locate anyone and all their contact information, incuding the pieces they want to ommit. They describe their mission as follows:

Pipl collects, cross-references and connects online identity information from countless independent sources to build a digital identities with the highest integrity possible. Pipl is working to build a future where everyone can safely participate in our global society with trusted identity information that is protected from abuse and controlled by the individual.

If you read about this company on the news tab on Google, maybe you’ll be surprised. All I can say is we shoudn’t be making excuses for shitty behavior. Assuming people are one thing only and not even giving them the chance to interact with you, falling into media campaigns where it’s not “cancellation”, but targetted hate and eventually silencing and removal of basic human rights that take place (but the other side insist you’re either “whining” or “twisting the story”) is not standing on higher moral ground, but actually, to my unsolicited giggling, “commiting factual errors”. You know what? Eventually, people know exactly what you need, and are willing to spend their time together just to please you. Fun, right? I spent 10 years doing that. With that said, anyone who wants a house, contact me. We can reform it and make it a cultural hub. I’ll do all the work (including closing the backyard with concrete, fixing the lights, the windows, the gate and the garden, and get rid of the stuff they put back there.

What you get is not what I get. Does that bother you? I’m sorry! I thought one of us should be having fun.

Image: Pexels

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