Last night, watching Star Trek: Next Generation, Geordi La Forge (Levar Burton) disobeyed a direct order given by Captain Stewart, er, I mean, Jean-Luc Picard. Although he survived his misadventure — barely, I might add — Picard told Geordi that regretfully, he was going to have to “put this incident on your permanent record!”

Oh my god! His permanent record. Even in Star Fleet, you cannot escape your permanent record. It’s four hundred years in the future and they still have that record.

Back in our golden olden days, the thing that was held over our heads — the veritable Sword of Damocles — was that our bad behavior would go on our permanent record. From elementary school through our working years, we were warned our permanent record would follow us. Marks against us might even (gasp!) prevent us from getting into college at all, in which case we knew we might as well die on the spot. If you didn’t go to college, you would never have a decent job or find someone to love. I knew that right into the marrow of my bones. Didn’t you?

little colorado rocks

The Permanent Record is (was) (will be) like the Rock of Gibraltar. Huge, unchanging. No matter what we do with our lives, everyone will know about our misdeeds. All they have to do is check the record. They’ll know I sassed my eleventh grade social studies teacher (he deserved it and worse) in May 1962. That Garry ran over his allotted time while reporting a news event in Boston and was not even repentant when confronted with his foul deed! The evil that we do will be revealed.

You might want to see Lamont Cranston, because the Shadow Knows.

So, here’s the deal. Now and forever, every one of us has a permanent record in which all our misbehavior is cataloged. I know because I’ve been told. I’m not sure who has custody of these records, however. As far as I can tell, everyone on the planet has one, so there must be a gigantic storage unit somewhere, where everything is filed. That’s a lot of records to keep.

But they aren’t being stored around here. I’d have noticed a building that big.


I expect when we die, if there actually are Pearly Gates and a gatekeeper who decides if we can enter, he will be clutching a copy of our permanent record in one angelic hand. That’s right. You talked back to your teacher in fifth grade, cut school in high school. Told a professor the dog ate your final paper in college. Now, you won’t go to Heaven.

Sorry buddy. Your permanent record just caught up with you.

Categories: Anecdote, Education, Humor

Tags: , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. I’m not worried — most people don’t have clearance to see my permanent record. Heck, -I- don’t have clearance to see my permanent record. (That’s just a joke, mostly. I have a weird sense of humor.)

    If every person’s Permanent Record is literally etched in stone, there must be thousands of people whose job is to do the etching. Mind you, ETCHING stone is a lot easier than CARVING it, because you can just use the same acid-etching method that’s used for real lithographs — you just don’t have to continue to the printing stage because it’s the stone you want. And where would those stones be stored? Even keeping all those records on paper would require a lot of space, and stone is MUCH more bulky. (They wouldn’t use electronic storage, because those files could be altered. “There’s no such thing as information security,” as a character in one of my favorite sci-fi novels once said, but why make it easier for someone to tamper with?) Then again, you could find out who is creating those Permanent Records by tracking who’s been acquiring tons of stone, all neatly cut into small, thin slabs, but never using them as paving or tiles or other normal things.

    There’s probably the seed of a short story in all this somewhere…


  2. I don’t think we have Permanent Records in the UK, they’re never mentioned. Phew.
    OR DO WE???

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They’re still using permanent records? I figured whoever was keeping track of these things would have everything stored digitally now…

    Speaking of permanent broken records… I don’t mean to sound like one, but the suspense is killing me on which one of my critters you got! I hope the great reveal is coming soon! 🙂


  4. There’s a permanent record of all my past misdeeds? Damn. Where’s a good hacker when you need one?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sony busted for his deeds by a congressman from Illinois. is paying the price for its “permanent record”. All those dirty little emails with racial slurs by the stars are out in the open now.

    While in the USAF I had a base commander busted for his foul deeds against me. That’s when I discovered a set of records you can’t see, even with a court order. You see I was blacklisted for busting that colonel and never got another promotion whether I deserved one or not. It went on my permanent “secret” record. Heavens to Mergatroid Batman!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I certainly hope by the time we start getting Social Security, they have LOST our records! Because we don’t do anything even remotely naughty any more. It makes my back hurt just thinking about it.


    • Bob, I knew I was doomed when I started laughing at the DI’s when they screamed at us first day of Boot Camp training. You’re not supposed to laugh.


      • I’m pretty sure that’s also on your permanent record.


      • I went through that first week twice, once I got out of regular basic to enter “fat boy” camp and again after I’d lost 75 pounds in a week to finish regular basic. The DI cornered me and told me he was warned that I’d already been through the first week routine and to not mess with his troops by tipping them off. We came to that understanding quickly.


  6. If we are lucky the dog will eat the permanent record or heaven’s hard drive will fail and they won’t have backed it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe it’s Santa Claus who is the keeper of everyone’s permanent record. Or wait, that’s an annual record. Maybe if you were naughty last year but nice this year, it might wipe out those naughty elements of your permanent record from last year. Or maybe not.


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