And that's when the feeling of dread takes over.
Someday, I'm going to need to have "the talk." No, it's not the birds and the bees I'm worried about. It's the Angry Birds and the Bee.tv. And lord help me when I get asked, "Daddy, what's Chatroulette?"
It used to all be so simple. Our lives were one big walled garden with access controlled by parents, guardians, teachers and the like. Sure, every now and then we'd stumble upon a stranger but we knew not to take their candy nor get in their cars. And you can be damned sure we weren't going to let them Google us!
Nowadays, everyone's Googling everyone and poking is the first step in the relationship. The only walled gardens are those of misguided publishers clinging to yesteryear.
How do I explain to my boy that kissing is only for people you really like? "But, Dad, you just liked Lady Gaga... does that mean you're kissing her?!?"
And how do I reassure my little girl that just because only 4 people are following her doesn't mean she's a loser? "Sticks and stones will break your bones but tweets will never hurt you."
While we're at it, how do I tell my oldest that the reason we made up her name was so that she could get the top spot on Google? (There's just so many darn Goldmans out there!)
Perhaps I created a self-fulfilling prophecy but Eliara's not even three, and already a total technophile. She's faster on the iPad than her mother, and she'll be Googling herself any day now. How do I have that chat?!? "Well, Ellie, it's OK to be curious."
As for my twins, you can blame my inner search geek for their names. This was a classic A/B split test. Let's standardize all the variables (like recency and age) and see who comes out atop the search rankings. Will it be Ethan, who's battling for SERP space with everyone from a politician to a movie producer to a lawyer, (what, no candlestick maker?!?) or Mila, whose only competition seems to be an architect named Mila with the middle name Goldman?
Of course, one of the most troubling questions is, where will I find the time to write? Thankfully, Chris Copeland stepped up to fill my last biweekly column slot (with a very similar theme by the way... sorry for hyperlinking the wrong anchor text!) so that I could tend to my newborns. But I can't count on many more hall passes going forward (in any aspect of my life).
And what will become of my burgeoning rap career? If I can't keep the smooth rhymes flowing, then everyone may soon be knowing, that I couldn't hang with big Chuck, although no one probably gives a... er, hoot.
One thing's for sure is I have a clear replacement for "because god made it that way" in the battle against the never-ending "whys."
"Daddy, why is the sky blue?"
"Daddy, why do people die?"
"Daddy, why aren't you paying attention to me?"
So where does all this leave me, the digidaddy, who's obsessed more with his kids' page rank than class rank? And what about my poor kids, who will be forced to spend their formative years finding creative ways to erase the embarrassing digital footprint I've created for them?
Alas, 'tis a brave new digital world and only the strong-linked will survive. (Which reminds me, if you're going to link to this column, please either use both my twins' names in the anchor text or neither... don't want to throw off the experiment!)
Now, if you'll excuse me... I've got my work cut out for me trying to knock off that other Goldman family. Sorry, bad choice of words?