Learning to let go (of your regret over not videotaping stupid things to put on YouTube)

“Man, I wish we had videotaped the time we blew up that abandoned trailer out in the woods,” a friend of mine said randomly while we were sitting around the other day. “It would no doubt be one of the most-watched video clips of all-time on YouTube by now if we had. I bet we’d be legends.”

I bet we would be, too. And we’re not alone. I’m sure there are tons of people that have done really dumb things and didn’t tape them (not knowing then that later on they could get famous on the Internet for it). They probably feel gypped, too. Worse off are the old-timers and baby boomers who didn’t even have the technology to record their stupidity – they never even had a chance to make fools of themselves in front of the world (eventually they let Kevin Costner do it for them).

YouTube – the hugely popular Web site that allows anyone to broadcast their homemade videos to millions of people – has got lots of people reminiscing these days about their less-than-proudest-moments, wondering: What if?

“What if we had a camcorder that time we were wrestling and you put me in such a tight ‘Arabian Crab’ that I farted just as my pants were splitting?” asked another one of my friends who joined the conversation. “That would have been YouTube gold, because it really looked like the molten blast you forced out actually caused the blowout.”

While my friends and I are stuck in the failures of our past, there’s people out there letting YouTube dictate their future. They don’t want to regret not cashing in on their thickness like the last generation did. For example, over the weekend, a New Jersey donut shop employee beat a robber on the head with a ceramic mug – not to recover the money or defend his own life – but because he didn’t want to forever look like a sissy on YouTube.

“What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard,” donut hand Dustin Hoffman told reporters. “There are only a few videos like that on YouTube now, so mine’s going to be the best.”

Note: Dusty clearly sounds like a sharp guy who’s got it all figured out. But I wonder if he’s ever worried about how he looks on the security camera before the robbery? (Ten bucks says there’s some priceless footage on there of him cranking out donut holes in a way that YouTube hasn’t ever seen).

Nevertheless, Dustin’s desire to not look like a pansy in a potentially life-threatening situation leads us to our next world-wide video sharing topic: Always be ready for the camera.

Because most new cell phones come with video capabilities, most people can post videos on the Internet. That means you never know when it could be your turn to get “YouTubed” instead of you “YouTubing.” So it’s best to be prepared at any moment to do something cool for the rest of your life in case the world has to see it. What’s cool? Fighting (as long as you win), farting (as mentioned above), stripping (if girl), being drunk (if you’re funny), blowing stuff up (as mentioned above), hurting yourself and risking your life. What’s not cool? Fighting (if you lose), farting (if girl), stripping (if guy), and being drunk (if you’re not funny and/or you barf).

By and large though, even if you do get a little embarrassed, you’ll still never look as bad on YouTube as the hate-spouting racists, sexists, homophobes and religious intolerants who get caught raw and posted around the world (just ask Michael Richards, a.k.a “Kramer” from Seinfeld).

That said, the key to making it in the YouTube world without regret: Don’t get caught without a video camera, don’t get caught by one.

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