My client ____________________ writes to inform you that, having reached “The Age of Digital Majority” (26, when she is no longer eligible to be on your medical insurance plan) your rights to custodial administration of her digital and/or analog history (textual, auditory, visual, or in any other medium now or previously extant [or potentially in future use]) are hereby terminated.
You may not retain, download, review, or — most especially — share (directly, personally, online — whatever!) information, text, images, or audio, including (but not limited to) the following:
1. Those — Fucking Embarrassing! — Videos
Dad — I just — you’re not Francis Ford Whoever-That-Was and… you have to STOP.
And — Right. Now. You need to hand over those tapes-or-discs-or-files-or-whatever or show me the ashes.
My butt? Diapers? Really? I’m working on getting my fourth internship, Dad: NOT helpful.
2. Those Pictures
Mom — oh, Mom-Mom-Mom. You taught me who Diane Arbus was; I remember (thank you, I…guess). But… you’re not Diane Arbus which (she committed suicide, right?) is probably a good thing, really.
And I always thought “Polaroids” was some kind of anal disorder that Eskimos got? Well (Elsa Dorfman, was she the influence there?) they have to go too.
Have to. Mom. Really. Or… like with Dad: hand them over or… I need to see the ashes.
3. Grandfather Clause
Both of you always said that Grandpa “didn’t know from technology” (whatever that means)?
So how he ended up with these “albums” full of pictures, and cabinets full of (some bullshit ancient save-things-on-rust-on-plastic-tape) sound and video recordings, well… that’s on you.
Get. It. Back.
And: Hand. It. Over.
I am not “kidding” about this (pun, grudgingly, intended).
Maybe he can’t, or probably won’t, do anything with this stuff, but if Aunt Barb gets ahold of it — I swear-to-God — I will kill people (and then, probably, myself).
She will not “be discreet.”
You know that. You do.
4. The “Birth Tapes”
For this one, both of you really (‘cause, Dad, you shot it and, Mom, you — actually; words fail me — wanted it?) this is just…
I don’t get it.
Just send me the ashes and a promise that they’re real.
I still (I’m sorry but) … I have nightmares about this.
I don’t ever want to see any of it again; I don’t want to think about it; I don’t want to worry that this is still-out-there.
A good chunk of the therapy that you “petitioned to have paid for out-of-network,” because I was away at school? Well… that’s why — those videos.
I mean: What-could-you-possibly-have-been-thinking?
Birth is beautiful?
Well… clearly — oh-my-fucking-God! — NOT.
That is not what “the digital record” shows.
The… fluids (and the solids!) and the screaming — particularly, Mom, about how you were never going to have sex again and that Dad should never touch you again — I just… so much therapy.
5. Time-Limited Embargo on Childhood Art
I get why you think this stuff all shows that Six-Year-Old-Poopsie-was-a-Budding-Picasso. It did not; I was not; and if I find any of this “early work” (yes I AM fucking going to snoop; how can I trust you people!) in the basement, the attic, rented storage space — wherever — before I turn fifty, I am going to burn it, possibly along with whatever structure houses it.
ADDENDUM: Explicit Rejection of Reciprocal Obligation
My client wishes to emphasize that none of the stipulations or requirements articulated above shall be construed to create any-obligation-whatsoever on her part to heed, to address, indeed even to acknowledge parental concerns, or attempts to censor, reclaim, or in any way restrict the use of similar information, text, images, or audio, in her possession or under her direct control.
Further: No warranty — express or implied — is made here regarding the deployment of said material for purposes of “argumentative leverage” in whatever future context she might find it useful.