While binge 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 most serious threat any school official could make  — was that whatever dreadful thing we’d done 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. And you definitely would not go to heaven.

I knew that right into the marrow of my bones. Didn’t you?


The Permanent Record is (was) (will be) The Rock of Ages. Huge, unchanging.

No matter what else 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 twelfth grade social studies teacher (he deserved it or worse) in May 1963. That Garry ran over his allotted time 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: , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. I loved this! I was giggling through the whole thing, enough that LB asks me if I’m ok or watching funny dog videos. 😀


  2. and all I was wondering was where Santa keeps the Naughty or Nice list 🙂


  3. When we appeal decisions by corrupt officialdom and it goes to court all the decisions are released online – a virtual permanent record. All your medical or other financial details are given in the decisions too.


    • I think the Internet ended everyone’s privacy. Anyone who really thinks their personal information can’t be gotten without their permission is living in a fantasy world. Any information anyone wants, if they want it badly enough, they can get it.


  4. All water off a ducks back.


  5. ahem. There is such a buidling. All of us are in it, name, address, phone, and probably height, weight, and eye color, with all our pecadillos (sp) and online behavior (because after all there is no life outside of the net, right) documented, with stars after the really good stuff (don’t ask). It’s called, alternately, the Cloud, or the Net.
    (getting out the Emergency Foil Beanie as we speak)


    • Yeah, well, there is that. The good news? There’s SO MUCH STUFF that I doubt anyone can actually FIND anything. We are in information overload in a massive way. Good luck finding the bad guys. I’m not convinced they are able to tell the “regular people” from the evil doers. They collect data, but after that?


  6. I doubt the Australian govt. is organised enough to be spying on me – and if they are, they must be very, very bored by now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The Swiss did it to us all once. Somehow it was discovered that in a building in Bern on the top floor there were drawers full of records on various Swiss citizens that should be kept an eye on. This is real. When it came out, there was a terrific uproar. The Swiss state were spying on their own people. The result was that every citizen was invited to write to a certain government department to request their “fiche” which was the name given to it. An example was a socialist member of our local government. He gave his “records” to the local newspaper to be printed. My niece was also prominent in her field of work, art history. She had a fiche. And me – probably from my Zürich days. My Indian boss once served a sentence in England for gun running in the 60’s at the time of the Suez crisis and the Swiss were definitely keeping an eye on him and as his secretary later, I was also probably mentioned. His wife was a Swiss citizen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of us have files with the NSA and FBI. We all know it’s real, but the government denies it, so periodically, there’s a big scandal and they say “Sorry, we’ll destroy th records. But I’m sure they don’t. I bet ALL governments spy on their citizens. That’s what governments do.


  8. Most people save the archivist the trouble and just post their permanent records online now where anyone and everyone can see all of your misdeeds and questionable selfies for all eternity…. or at least until the internet crumbles to virtual dust.

    Liked by 1 person

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