(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: Tom Stoppard)
For the lucky majority of us, the Player's taunt is an empty one. Most of our youthful indiscretions, though they may cause our toes to curl in moments of excruciating recollection, are at least buried in the past with no surviving evidence.
Not so for Generation X-box, the children of the electronic age. Every bitchy e-mail, every inebriated garbled text is potentially there to be viewed in the cold light of day years after the event. The doings of todays young people are recorded in the kind of detail that in previous centuries attended only the actions of royalty.
The concept of privacy has undergone a radical change since the advent of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter et al. Their users treat the world to a constant stream-of-consciousness narrative regardless of merit or consideration. And there are going to be repercussions.
'A Labour election candidate who cursed leading politicians, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg, on his Twitter page has been removed from standing. Stuart MacLennan will no longer be the party's Moray candidate and has been suspended as a Labour member after admitting tweeting offensive comments.' (BBC news)
The offending tweets were broadcast last year when Mr MacLennan was still a student. Now, my student days are long gone but I do remember that, in the political hothouse of my alma mater, I was hardly what you might call a model of moderate speech or opinions.
And I am ceaselessly grateful that none of my self-righteous political opinions from those days can ever come back to bite me.
Update: From Guido Fawkes - Prophetically one tweet said “Iain Dale reckons the biggest gaffes will likely be made by candidates on Twitter – what are the odds it’ll be me?”