Two decades ago, I turned 18. I thought I’d go to college, take the world by the balls, write awesome novels and live infamously as a supercool dude. Unfortunately, none of that’s happened — except for the college part, but whoop-dee-doo.
I want to warp back in time to give 18-year-old me some advice. I wouldn’t cheat and say, “Invest in the internet” or “don’t major in English,” but I’d like to impart some wisdom I’ve learned over the past 20 years.
• Don’t pierce our ears on our 18th birthday. The holes will turn black, and we’ll have two stupid dots on our ears for the rest of our life.
• Specialize in something. I wish we could’ve learned a trade, but we’re about as good with our hands as we are with numbers. Friends call us over to help them fix something, but they’re just tricking us into breaking something and then helping them move the piece of junk. So find something we’re good at. I wish I could help you out, but I still don’t know what that is.
• Write every day. These columns, blogs, novels and newspaper pieces don’t write themselves. Every dickwad with a pen, pencil, paper and laptop has a million creative ideas. Only a few of these “writers” actually type anything. Even fewer get published. So put our ass in a chair and type. And get a nicer chair.
• Submit writing to publishers. It’s terrifying, but it gets easier.
• Don’t be so negative. Be open. Smile more. That makes everything better.
• Take care of our body. I’ve got some bad news for you: We suck at sports. We’ve injured every joint we have, so take up golf or hiking.
• Absolutely nobody except nobodies thinks we’re cool because we can drink a lot of booze.
• Who cares how annoying she is? Marry that rich girl.
• Get on stage as a punk singer or a stand-up comedian. Who cares if we suck?
• Don’t worry about stuff being “gay” (bear with teenage me, he was 18). Learn how to dance, dress to impress and pick out a nice restaurant.
• You’re not a trendsetter. You think wearing polyester pants, Aqua Sox and visors are cool. They’re not.
• Also, Velcro is not your friend, so get rid of that stupid watch and those ridiculous shoes.
• Finally, I know everybody tells you to just be yourself. No. Don’t be all-the-way yourself. A big part of you likes Limp Bizkit, comic books, 40 ouncers, hemp necklaces, goatees, collecting action figures and wearing the same crusty baseball cap every day. The other part of us likes dating women, being taken seriously and not looking at old photo albums while thinking, “Maybe with enough plastic surgery and the witness relocation program, nobody will remember this person.”
I wonder what I’ll write to myself in 20 more years.