1.2% Bullshit Per Year.

Looking back at my old posts, I’m sometimes astonished by what an idiot I was.  I don’t think this is uncommon.  Anyone who’s ever opened those old high school notebooks to read their angsty poetry is usually a little humiliated.

But the Internet specializes in exhuming old, bad takes as though they were what someone currently thought.  Someone will dig up someone’s horrid essay from 2004 and everyone will get outraged as if the person who wrote it isn’t currently furious at their past self for being such a shortsighted, misguided choad.

I wish there was a way to check in with people – to go “Hey, this is pretty shittacular – do you still believe this?”

Well, I’ve done some calculations.

Doing some past math, I’ve come to the conclusion that about 35% of What Twenty-Year-Old Ferrett Thought was total bullshit – stinking, embarrassing thoughts that were sexist, racist, ill-informed, naive, or just desperate to impress.  If I could go back in time, I’d have a serious chat with Young Ferrett and say, “Hey, buddy, that’s not a good look on you.”

(Hopefully I could convince him.  I’m not sure.  I mean, he was 35% idiot.)

Which is not to say that Young Ferrett was 65% correct – but I’d say about 65% what I thought back then was at least on the right path, even if I didn’t have all the facts at my disposal.

Now, I’d like to tell you that I’ve learned quickly, and the bulk of my wisdom was gained in my twenties – but sometimes I’ll stumble across an essay I wrote in, say, 2011, and hoo boy, lemme tell you, I was sometimes a flagrantly fragrant idiot then.  As a cis white dude, society has quietly fed me a ton of toxic assumptions that it’s taken me years to untangle – and that’s not even taking responsibility for the craptastic opinions I nurtured on my own before they finally collapsed under their own weight.  Hell, I could have posted something last week that, on second thought, is a little ickier than I’d like.

However, going over all my 3,000+ essays every year and comparing them to my current state of mind is something that’s a little too work-intensive.  So I’m trying something different.

The math tells me that there’s about a 1.206% chance per year that anything I wrote will turn out to be something I no longer believe in.  And so I have written a plugin for my blog that calculates how likely it is that I might be embarrassed by this given piece, and tells you “Hey, here’s the chance that current Ferrett might want to have A Stern Word with Past Ferrett for posting this.”

The trick is, that bullshit-o-meter will be posted on every essay, even recent ones, because honestly?  I still step in it on occasion.  Sometimes I post a hot take that, after a good night’s sleep, turns out to be the equivalent of the flaming bag of dogshit left on a neighbor’s door.  The chance is lower for an essay I posted earlier today, but it is not nil.

Anyway.  If you’re reading this because the bullshit calculator led you here, there’s a decent but by no means certain chance – probably in the high nineties – that I still stand by what I wrote.  Part of living life honestly on the Internet means you crystallize some of your past self and present it for current critique – which is fair.  But when you blast Past Ferrett for some crude take, just keep in mind that Current Ferrett may be cringing at being related to that idiot, kind of like those embarrassing relatives who won’t stop posting Trump memes on Facebook – yeah, I’m connected to him, but I’m not exactly proud of that fact.  

I’m learning. I’m evolving. Who I am today isn’t fully who I was yesterday. And considering that some people never evolve, I guess getting raked over the coals for something I no longer stand by is better than brutishly refusing to back down on any opinion, no matter how incorrect.

And if you have any questions as to whether that’s what current Ferrett thinks, hey, email me and ask.