This morning, I remembered I had a MySpace Account.
It came on me in an unwelcome flash. I was sitting at the table, nursing a coffee between both hands. Maybe it was my reflection in the liquid sheen of the dark mug, distorted. Maybe, like a pilgrim receiving the call to a holy place, it was divinely inspired. Whatever the cause, I remembered.
I did not login because I had forgotten how. My profile had not been deleted when I grew bored with that first online sandbox, left it for the tarnished mecca of Zuckerberg. It had simply been abandoned. I had moved on, expecting MySpace - like an old lover - to do the same.
I knew, however, that it had not - and that the ruins of that once-glorious social networking ziggurat still remained down the long and winding html that first took me there. I decided to descend into this ancient monument to public narcissism only after lying in bed for hours, sleep eluding me. Curiosity is the third most powerful force for driving a man quickly out of bed, next to having to use the bathroom and getting a wicked charlie horse.
I stared at the landing page, unable to remember my password. It was as if I was repressing something more than the cutesy nonsense statement I gave to all non-essential websites. More and more I felt like I was approaching the fallow ruins of a lost city, and it loomed before me as I pecked my fingers across the keyboard. It was my past - locked away on silently blinking servers somewhere in the universe - untouched for years. Until today.
The page came up. My homepage. It looked wildly different, like coming upon a pregnant ex, the blue hair and nipple piercings you never enjoyed, her happy husband. My “wall” - which seemed to be a hollow doppelganger of a news feed - nattered endlessly at me about Eli Roth, my friend’s sisters band, that porn star I’d friended while drunk in 2007. They were an ivy of my college interests, updates clawing unchecked at my wall, obscuring it beyond comprehension. It was unsettling, but I pressed on.
My pictures were me, but thinner. Hotter. There were even comments - from guys! - agreeing. When you’re at the wrong end of letting yourself go, pictures of how good you used to look are common relics, and largely uninteresting. I continued through the antechamber.
The blog was like opening a king’s mausoleum. Writing that was too “low” to be saved by a young, aspiring writer with delusions of The Great American Novel riddled the blog entries. These were raw short stories, ideas long forgotten, documents of college exploits and transcriptions of fever dreams. If I was Indiana Jones, this was the Ark of the Covenant.
But like those incorrigible Nazis, I just couldn’t help myself. It was not enough to find the Ark; I had to open it. I clicked on my message history.
It was all there, years of my life. Arguing about classes, planning parties, bemoaning middle-class problems. There were messages to then acquaintances who had grown into dear friends. There was a first tentative message to a guy I fell in love with, awkward and forcing a charm I’ve never really possessed. There were long, drawn out message chains with other guys, who I easily could have loved as well, but for cruel circumstance.
The emotion flooded over me, four years of memory meticulously documented. I opened the Ark, and it was turning me into a melting wax skeleton of overwhelming sentiment. I was not ready for such an intimate glimpse into my past - things once beautiful, now dried and turned to scars on my psyche, reminders of my advancing age and entrenched adulthood.
Like an looter in an ancient tomb, I turned and ran at the first sight of the skeletons buried there. I logged out, snapped my laptop shut, and crawled under the warmth of my covers.
There is no moral to this story. Only my story, and a dire warning to fellow travelers: If you were careless enough not to burn your profile down when you evacuated, do not be so foolish as to seek it out again. You will be accosted by the howling demons of your Top Ten friends, blinking Hunger Games banner ads tearing at your flesh and eyes. You will remember you once listed OAR as a band you enjoyed! Beware, travelers! MySpace is the path to ruin!