Brendan Polmer: Google is forever

This is it, everyone – my last column on the opinions page of The Hatchet. Ever. Hard to believe, really. I’ve crashed this page about once a month or so ever since my sophomore year, and let me tell you – it’s been real.

It was really fun back in the day being a rebel when the only articles that appeared on this page were boring know-it-all opinion pieces about foreign policy written by uppity Elliott School kids (you know, the ones that make nonsensical but smart-sounding comments during class.every class.) So I decided to write about how TV fitness celebrity John Basedow was the antichrist instead.

It didn’t really fit at first – there were allusions to Jack Bauer and masturbation next to an article about Israel and apartheid. Yet the response was great! People I didn’t know would recognize me in J Street and start talking to me, saying they got in trouble for laughing in the middle of class while sneaking a read on their desk. Hell, I was even on co-founder Travis Helwig’s own radio show!

As I wrote on, I soon became more and more comfortable with my readers, writing about drunken adventures around the District and Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Everyone (including my poor mother) read about the time I told a Metro operator she had the sexiest voice in the world, or the time I turned 21 and accosted several city trashcans (they’re bolted to the sidewalk these days), or the time I went to Amsterdam during my junior year abroad.

But over the years, some of it has been actual opinion. Like the time I wrote that candy was the main decision-making factor for voting in any Student Association election, or that there was something wrong with being a Facebook whore, or that Hallmark was ruining both Valentine’s Day and my sex life.

And there were also some serious ones – mostly about the issues that really mattered to me like my hometown New Orleans after Katrina, the Recording Industry Association of America and the music industry.

I suppose that I’ve toned down a bit since the early days of “Brendan Polmer – Hatchet humor columnist” – but, come on; that title was b.s. anyway. I’ve never been a comedian. I’m just a writer.

Yet as I embark upon my graduation from GW this summer and the search for a job becomes a full-time job in and of itself, a new question emerges: Am I screwed?

As my colleague and Hatchet editor in chief Jake Sherman always says, “Google is forever.” Holy shi- what!? Google is forever! Sarah Marshak may have to live with the fact that every time someone Googles her name it comes up with a story about swastikas, but I have to deal with potential employers reading about how I wish smoking was still allowed in D.C. bars in order to mask the smell of people’s farts, or about how I was suspended from high school during my senior year for drinking at Disney World.

My philosophy has always been to never take myself too seriously. Some would say that any opinions page in any newspaper anywhere is just a place for big egos and spinsters to bitch and moan about issues and politics. I’d say that’s mostly true; but I guess I just figured people would rather read about something else, if anything at all.

And while this farewell is dedicated solely to this Opinions page – which has seen its fair share of excellent, patient and open-minded editors since I started writing here – you guys haven’t seen the last of me yet. As a departing Hatchet senior, I still get to write a 30-inch column about everything else I’ve done in The Hatchet’s townhouse at 22nd and G Streets, some of which I must say is both very entertaining and perhaps even scandalous.

Any-hoo, I’m about at 650 words now, which is normally where I cut this thing and say something witty and intelligent to sort of tie the whole piece back together. I mean, goodbyes are always super-awkward for me anyway, so this is tough. I will say this, though; I’ve poured my college life out to you on this page, GW.

And to my fellow graduating seniors; I wish you the best of luck as you continue on into the workforce, go back to school or move back in with your parents. Just be glad that your Google isn’t nearly as incriminating as mine.

The writer, a senior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist and arts editor.

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