My Criminal Ancestors

My Criminal AncestorsOver at Scanfest today, the conversation turned to telling tales of our less-than-stellar ancestors. Yes, we all have some.

I actually only have one criminal ancestor that I know of. Everyone else is perfect. They were all good, stable, hardworking people who built their corner of America from the ground up. Well, OK, some of them had to kill some of the native Indians first and I would rather that hadn’t happened.

And one of my great-great granduncles killed buffalo to feed the railroad workers. I’m not suggesting he was single-handedly responsible for wiping the buffalo off the face of the prairie but the thought of him being, in any way, responsible for the mounds of buffalo bone littering the landscape in the 1870’s makes me nauseous, nonetheless. Hadn’t he ever heard of vegetarianism?

And then there’s all the ones who engaged in premarital sex (which was, and still is in places, considered criminal) and ‘had’ to get married. Or women with children who never married. And the only part that’s a problem with that are the people still living who spent all their lives (til I pried it out of them or figured it out myself) hiding the knowledge and should probably be left in peace with their judgments. If it was up to me, they would all be packed up and sent off to long-term psychiatric care to get over it, but it’s not up to me.

Which leaves my one generally-acknowledged insane and criminal ancestor who shall remain nameless for now. I don’t know, for a fact, that he was ‘insane’. And I think the word ‘insane’ is, too often, used rather loosely. As with all else that ails humanity the ‘facts’ seem to be on ever-shifting ground. It’s just the opinion of several people.

Which brings me to the technical part. Since a couple years ago, I output everything I have into one wiki, and that makes my life simpler. There’s one story, it’s all connected and it’s in one place. The fact that it’s all connected makes it seem unreasonable to have to start lopping off branches here and there to hide things that some people would rather not have known.

I’m telling the story, no-one else wants to, so … excuse me, I’m telling it my way. But, at the same time, I don’t want to be mean about it and push people with one foot in the grave head-first into it. So, here’s my compromise.

In the backstage area of TiddlyWiki (where my history resides) is an option to Import. I don’t want to import any tiddlers into my existing history. The issue is what to share with others … in the meantime. So, here’s what I do. Get a blank TiddlyWiki. They’re available for free.

Make a new folder and put the blank TiddlyWiki and a copy of all the other wiki files (the folders full of attachments) into it. Open the blank TiddlyWiki and click ‘backstage’ (upper right corner) and ‘import’.

Import Tiddlers, TiddlyWiki

Browse to the location of your original wiki and click ‘open’. In Firefox, you’ll get an error message saying that it can’t access the other wiki.

Internet Explorer 8 it will throw a filepath called file:///C:/fakepath/… into the box named Enter the URL, etc. Just delete it out of there.

Import Tiddlers, TiddlyWiki

If you get this far, click the ‘import’ button. Nothing will happen. It will import zero tiddlers. So, don’t do it this way.

When you’re ready to share your wiki, make a copy for public consumption and delete all the tiddlers of your unsavory folk. If there’s a WikiWord connecting to them from another tiddler, it will show up as an empty tiddler.

If anyone asks, just say you don’t know anything about them. You know their names but it’s a complete blank after that. It’s as if a hand came down from the sky and obliterated every shred of paperwork and every memory out of every mind everywhere. It’s amazing that things like that can happen but they do. If anyone gives you a querying glance like they know you’re lying, just feign total ignorance. After you die, someone will inherit The Truth but, by then, it will be too late to damn you to Hell for it.

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