A Little Knowledge

Was talking with a friend the other day about the perils of dating, with the whole dirtbag/not-so-much a dirtbag situation and how to know before you’re deeply entrenched in a relationship.

“When I met my husband, I did a background check on him,” she told me.

Now my friend had small children at home, so I completely understood her reasoning.  It’s not stalking. It’s being safe.  But what I was surprised about was how easy it is to do something like this.  So I tested it.

I looked myself up in the public records database for my county.  Boom.  There was my mortgage paperwork:  how much I paid, my mortgage company, when I bought the house, who I bought the house from, my address, my marital status, etc.

Here’s what else you can find out:  marriage date, divorce date, criminal record, liens, bankruptcies, child support judgments, names of relatives, people who live with you, age, and so on ad inifinitim.

This information age we live in offers endless possibilities.  And it’s all out there for anyone who has the time and wherewithal to look it up.  And you don’t even need anything besides a person’s name to do it.

Crazy, huh?


It made me wonder about the bar we’re setting for potential mates.  What happened to the days when we just liked the look of someone and thought they seemed interesting?  Has that all gone to the wayside in the search for the “safer” bet?


I mean, I get the whole “good provider” thing, and, of course I’m not advocating handing over the keys to your heart and brand new BMW to a guy you know has two DUI’s in his not-so-distant past, but isn’t a little knowledge a little dangerous sometimes?


Someone has a bankruptcy from ten years ago following a particularly nasty divorce.  Does that mean he’s an irresponsible mess who hasn’t grown up and grown more responsible?  I don’t know.


Or is the guy with the drug conviction from when he was eighteen years old got caught with a joint? Is he morally irredeemable?  I’m just saying.


Call me crazy, but I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Now, I don’t have any of these things in my background, but I’m kind of a Pollyanna.  And I’m really kind of lucky.  I just don’t think anyone should be judged solely by their past.


Still, I have to admit that it’s nice sometimes to know.

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