Screenshot of a Google search for "Justin Roth" reveals many hits - only two of which are for The Real Justin Roth.
The Real Justin RothIt just happened the other day, without warning. I didn't even see it coming. One minute, I'm interviewing one of the world's strongest boulderers, and the next I'm in a Google Battle. I'll assume you don't know what a Google Battle is, since I just made it up, so allow me to explain: whenever Googling myself in a fit of narcissistic glee (about once a month), I find I’m overshadowed by another so-called "Justin Roth" (justinroth.com - he even took the URL that is my birthright). This doppelganger looks a little like me: white, of medium build, in his 20s or 30s, glasses, brownish hair, round face... very unsettling. Anyway, Other Justin, as I'll call him, is a musician, a folksy guitarist and lyricist making appearances on college campuses around the country. As such, he's consistently relegated me to the second or even third page of the Google hit list.It never meant much to me; Other Justin simply had a higher profile than I. But things heated up two weeks ago when I found myself mentioned on the first page of hits for the first time ever. This planted a seed in my head: one day I could be the premier Justin Roth of Googledom. Of all the Justin Roth's in the universe, I would be the one easiest to learn about via web research. Never mind that many of my hits direct you to climbing comp results from decades passed, or my woefully outdated 8a.nu profile - it's not the depth of the content I'm concerned with, it's the rank. So it is that I view myself as being in a Google Battle with the musician Justin Roth, aka Other Justin.
Other Justin, from his website, justinroth.com.
Somehow I think all of this brings us back to the classic climbing discussion of numbers, rankings, and the murky difference between right and wrong - is it better to climb hard on eliminate lowball choss, or less hard on pure lines up towers of bullet stone? Is it better to track yourself, via Google or various online scorecards, to see where you stand in the pseudo-democratic hinterland of the Web, or should we all focus on finding that inner purpose and peace, which ostensibly exist outside the realm of societal judgment? Is it better to burn off your friends by warming up in sneakers on their projects, or to climb only for yourself? Luckily, I have neither the time nor the inclination to bore you with my thoughts on such worthwhile topics - I'm more concerned with winning the Google Battle with Other Justin. Perhaps this, my first foray into the blog-o-sphere, will help tip the balance in my favor.Until next time.—The Real Justin Roth