What Would I Say To Myself Then?

So we attended an archery meet this weekend, and a kind of gawky looking kid came in, and I said to my beautiful wife, “I just walked in the door.”

This thought proved delightful not only to my wife, but also brought forth a belly laugh from the teacher whose son was shooting on the same lane as the lad.

I was a thin, gawky young man. Here I am at eighteen at my high school graduation party in May 1990.

I was only spared the heavy glasses because advances in contact lenses meant they could now (that being 1988 or so) correct severe astigmatism and because, for some reason, my sainted mother sprung for said contact lenses when I was in high school. We never were very flush with money, so I cannot ever understand why she sprung for them. Were they something I got in the summer when I went to my father’s home in Milwaukee and got all my dentistry and medical things taken care of under the aegis of his union benefits? That’s more likely.

At any rate, a commercial for Kia that aired during the Super Bowl features football player Josh Jacobs wondering what he would say to his younger self:

As this is a football player, the advice is to have faith in the football.

I expect my message to myself might be different.

Have faith, young man. Although you cannot put any weight on now no matter how much you exercise or how much protein powder you choke down, eventually you will be able to put on muscle if you want. In thirty years, you could go from an adult medium to a 2 XL, you can spend lots of time in a gym, and you can listen to heavy metal whilst doing so. Which could very well make you assume some of the characteristics of the very young people who torment you now.

You can marry a beautiful woman, have a couple of good kids, and pursue an interesting and lucrative and well paid career and yet be vaguely unsatisfied with it. You might spend much of your time restless, hoping for something better, kind of like you’re rushing through these teen years. Instead of focusing on tomorrow and the next best thing and growing up, you should spend today with your brother and your mother and your family because someday too soon they won’t be with you any more.

You know, I could give my younger self the same advice I give my contemporary self, and I’d probably heed it just as little.