One of the things that differentiates the great masses of us from our betters (at least in terms of fame and/or accomplishments) is the relative haphazardness of our earlier lives. Let's face it: we've now smartened up enough now to realize that possible employers or human relations directors do scrutinize Facebook to look for signs of a non-corporate mentality in what we thought we were sharing solely with our friends. (Not to mention the less discreet bikini poses that we had meant solely to appeal to our b.f.'s dejour.)
And, of course, any drinking or other violations of the laws of God or man might be seen by law enforcement personnel. No, the problem is more than that. Most of us, even if we live our livesInteger vitae, we still have those less-than-sterling residues to come up and bite us in our increasingly padded butts as we reach the heights of fame or fortune. After all, say you're running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts (a sign in itself of moral questionability), and it is revealed that your seventh-grade report card has mostly C's and D's. The Dons of Hah-vard will go "tut," and make an unjoyful noise that you are unworthy! Or, let's say that you are the hottest of the hot supermodels, and your tween picture of you with braces comes out? Or what about that dubious dress that you wore to the prom, or that sweet but impossibly outréboy who you went with?
Or even more so, your membership in that kooky cult that wore those silly outfits and acted like Young Republicans off the reservation? We're talking Situation Damage Control here! Doing repair work on the ol' image.
A big source of damaging information is everyday official records, such as school or police reports. Some are supposed to be closed; but persistent journalists or papparazzis can dig up dirt if there's dirt to be found. Unfortunately, the only ultimate solutions are sort of illegal; such as hacking into records of varying types and making them sound better or discreetly bribing your way to civic virginity!
Photographs are easier, provided you also destroy the negatives or memory cards. Keep the ones marking major life events, such as graduations, honor society memberships, or worthy school activities, provided the pictures are flattering. A tip: get some professionally-taken ones; no glam shots and, above all, no boudoir poses! Obviously, destroy all souvenir detention slips.
And bribe your old high school assistant principal to silence. Actually, if he is like most, he is all-too-willing to support yourpersona: after all, not many of his charges amounted to anything.
Personal possessions should be culled from time to time. Having a single, charming stuffed animal left over from your childhood is desirable; having a cabinet full is -- whoa! -- a little too much disclosure! Clothing should be deliberately culled, lest they seem dowdy, bizarre, or too intrusive. Imagine yourself being famous; and having a museum of your childhood home. And what is on display? A bra that you wore back as a freshman will be studied by all, and your size checked and commented on. And, for God's sake, lose those cute hats! No one looks good in a hat!
On the plus size, purchase a few faux trophies and certificates to indicate your showing early promise. No one will look further into them.
And have a few tantalizing items that are incompletely accounted for to add a touch of mystery. After all, you want them to continue to look, you know. Maybe a baton, or a cheerleader's outfit or a gavel. Or a notebook of poetry. Copy neatly only your best efforts, though. And try to appear both open and modest if enquired.
Look at my advice not as a suggestion to be dishonest, but rather to be strategically revisionist. After all, even newspapers have editors. Why not edit your life to make it more in line with your present accomplishments?