Jason Scott: “You’re a Sucker”

I am a lazy parent. Yelling at my sons, making them feel bad and calling them names is a lot of energy, so I only did so when it was absolutely necessary. I learned early that nothing teaches a lesson like screwing up. So, as long as the consequences of their actions didn’t affect others, as a rule, I let them screw up. Less effort than yammering away at them. And sure beat making them feel bad about something, especially when it was something I do all the time.

We’re talking about losing stuff. I lose stuff all the time. Annually losing my wallet is how I reassure myself that I’m still alive. I’m on a first name basis with operator 45 at the credit card comany. Yelling at my kids for losing stuff seemed like a grand waste of energy. If the thing they lost mattered to them then the “lesson is learned.” My job wasn’t to rub their noses on it. Even I’m not THAT big a dick. If the thing didn’t matter to them then what was the point of making a big deal?

But Jason finds it necessary to yell at you and call you names because you’re setting yourself up to lose your email inbox by using gmail. Would you give a stranger on the street $5 to hold for you and walk away with the hope he’ll be at the same corner tomorrow? I kind of feel like that most of my life. Regret’s a bitch, but it ain’t the worst thing I can think of.

I hesitate to state his case for fear of misrepresentation, but I think Jason can’t imagine a sentient being deciding to use gmail. The big danger? Losing your inbox. (The privacy issues used to freak me out but I don’t believe privacy exists anyway so that’s that.) Well, I’ve lost lots of inboxes along the way in the dozens of laptops and external drives and monster towers and raid arrays and mirrored backups that I’ve used including once where I “confirmed” deleting it when asked “are you sure?” — I’m still here, poking the bear. If I was an archivist, like Jason, the cloud would probably freak me out too. But I’m not. It’s a very, very convenient place to hold my shit. Oh, regarding my shit…

True story: some months ago my wife and I sold our house. Let the lease expire on the car. Gave away our 500 books. Gave away 2,000 albums. Let go of all the furniture. Berkeley restricts trash pickups to just one can so there were lots of trips to the dump, including all the music I’ve recorded for the last 35 years. I figured I was saving my kids a trip to the dump after I’m dead.

What was left were two Stratocasters and 15 boxes of stuff sitting in a storage locker in Oakland – 10 of which are her clothes. After three months of living on the road it occurred to me that if it all burned down I still wouldn’t throw myself into the Danube. I’d miss my Strats for a few minutes, then look forward to Hawaiian sunsets with my wife and sharing a laugh with my son over iChat about how the dorm ate his Wii controller.

I’ve got boogeymen in my life but gmail ain’t among them. And neither are you.

4 thoughts on “Jason Scott: “You’re a Sucker”

  1. Jason Scott

    Ah, what the hell, dead guy. I’ll spend a few more minutes on you. Respect for the dead and all that.

    I’ve had two mirror image responses from people of a certain stripe. One explains that my weblog entry is bad/irrelevant/unimportant because they’re so good at backing things up and maintaining RAID setups and frequent parity kabibble that my “fear” of the cloud is misplaced. The others, like yourself, explain that since they are not a prisoner of their stuff, and that ultimately no stuff means anything to them, they’ve superceded the relevance of saving digital history or their own data and don’t have to worry. Take that, archivist!

    Like I said, you’re in the ground, man. You had an awesome run. My weblog entry was for people who THOUGHT they were treating their creations/data/stuff well, but maybe didn’t think it through. A few harsh words, a tad of a spanking from me, and dozens of people have written me to thank them for thinking of their data or history in a new way.

    But not you. Where do I send the flowers? I miss you already.

  2. Ice Cream Jonsey

    I would only like to add that I think “four?” should be a valid entry for the captcha question because that’s what I typed the first time before realizing it was in fact a captcha box and not a random question.

    Also, sorry about the guy coming down with dead and everything. :/

  3. fourstones Post author

    @jason I’m not here as your therapist, work it out with him.

    @ice cream – sorry about that, I could have sworn ‘four’ should work, I’ll look at it first chance I get.

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