Searching for Traces of My Late Father Online

My father was murdered years before the Internet existed as we know it. But I still search for traces of him there.

This story appears in VICE magazine and Broadly's 2018 Privacy and Perception Photo Issue. Click HERE to subscribe to VICE magazine.

My father was an early adopter of the internet—he made airline reservations online in the 1990s and showed me how to create buddy lists on AOL Instant Messenger before any of my actual buddies had dialup. While others were catching up, my dad (screen name: mbai001) and I (gsbwriter, which lives on as my handle on Instagram) resorted to messaging each other, sometimes from across the room, sometimes from across the country.

In technology, my dad—a boomer who was building simple computers from his Bronx bedroom while still in junior high—saw imperfect instruments of progress. He took to the internet with the ease of a digital native, even though he was more than three decades too old to be one. There was no waving the mouse around aimlessly looking for the goddamn cursor, and there were no conspiratorial “Fwd: Fwd: Fwd…” emails. He just got it.

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