Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Letter Across Time

I was tagged earlier this week by my buddy Mike over at Tongue In Check to do a Meme created by Malach. The rules are:

Link back to the person who tagged you.

Send a letter back in time to your 13 year old self.

Tag 5 more people to do this meme.

Dear Bruce,

This is a letter from you – 35 years in the future. The year for you is 1972 and you’re 13 years old. For me (well, you really) it’s 2007 and I’m 48. Yeah I know, you think that’s really OLD but trust me you’ll rethink that when you get here. You’re experiencing some disbelief but just go with it. I know that out of anyone in your family you’ll be able to accept this.

Some background on you so hopefully you’ll know I’m telling you the truth. You’re the youngest of four brothers. The older three are all close in age but there’s an 11 year gap between you and the next oldest. You’re “the baby”. You hate that but you might as well accept it, it won’t stop. It’ll always be that way and you’ll hate it even more by the time you get to where I am. You live with your parents, brothers and your grandparents in an extended family. You father is Irish but everyone else is either all or half Italian and they’re volatile. It’s loud and the general form of communicating is yelling. You sometimes feel like you were adopted. You were not. You have big spaghetti dinners every Sunday and you love to sneak in the kitchen to steal a freshly made meatball or dip a piece of bread in the sauce pot when you think your grandmother isn’t looking. She is and she knows. When you were little you loved riding around with your grandfather (even though you usually got car sick before the end of the driveway, see, I know) when he ran errands for his business. You’ll never forget when you were around ten and he took you to lunch in a restaurant called “The Boat House”. He led you to a back booth, ordered two roast beef sandwiches and two beers and told you to enjoy. He knew long before you did that you were too sheltered and more than a little bit spoiled by your mother and that it needed to change.

That memory makes it hard for me to tell you what I’m about to say. Your grandfather is sick and in the hospital, you know that. What you don’t know is that he will never come home. Even though no one has told you the truth, he’s very sick and I’m sorry to say that he’ll be gone in less than a month. Because you have again been sheltered you will never be taken to the hospital to see him. Insist on going. Your family has good intentions but that seldom makes them right. You should have the chance to say goodbye. I’m sorry.

With the exception of 4th grade (that teacher was a witch, just forget about it) school so far hasn’t been bad. You’re about to enter 7th grade in Junior High School and I’m very sorry to tell you that it will be the worst year you’ll have in school. You are in a very difficult transitional period in life and there are others who will add greatly to that difficulty. An evil demon from hell in the human form of a girl with the initials SS (you know her) will continue to enjoy using you as a target and she will only get worse. It’s never cool to hit a girl no matter how badly you want to but take solace in the fact that Karma is real and she’ll be just as miserable an adult as she is a kid. If it makes you feel better, spit on her when no one’s looking. Also, there’s a guy named Ron. Please remember that fighting never solved anything, should be avoided and that you shouldn’t be the one to start a fight. Except in this case. On the first day you meet him, punch him in the face as hard as you can. Drop him like a fucking bad habit. Trust me it will save you a lot of problems down the road and it certainly won’t hurt your relationship with him. The good news is that you’ll have some good teachers to talk to, the year will end, and you’ll be a stronger person for the experience. After that it starts getting better and you’ll actually begin to enjoy yourself.

Your brother is about to start his own trash removal business. You’re going to start working for him on weekends and summer vacations. It will be exactly what you need for a while. It’ll keep you busy, put some money in your pocket, and the physical labor will have you in great shape by the time you’re in high school. You’ll come out of that transitional phase that I mentioned just fine.

Now’s the time that you should start working on being a better student. You’re not stupid, in fact, you’re pretty smart (if I do say so myself) but you are lazy and unmotivated. That will be made worse by the dread of going to school every day this coming year. You don’t want to form habits that will last into the following years so you need to make a special effort whether you want to or not. It will be worth it. You have a pretty curious mind and you like to learn about a wide variety of subjects and figure out how things work. That will never change. What you do need to try to change is your follow-through. There’s nothing wrong with sampling a lot of different things but once in a while stick with something long enough to be good at it. It doesn’t happen overnight. For instance, you know those guitar lessons you took? I really wish you would’ve kept at it. You’re not terribly musically inclined but you’ll always wish that you were so practice. By the way, while we’re talking about music. Do you remember when you were in Cub Scouts and your dad was troop leader and they brought in some music teacher to organize you to sing Christmas carols to the people at the old folk’s home? And the guy said you couldn’t sing and made you take a speaking part? That shit still bothers you/me. Who the hell tells a kid that he can’t sing Christmas carols to old deaf people in an old folks home? Fuck him! If you ever get the chance, take singing lessons. You’ll never be a great singer, you’ll probably never be a good singer but at least you won’t be afraid to sing Happy Birthday out loud to your kids.

After high school you will go to college at a small school in Maryland. It will be a fantastic experience for you. It will open the door for you to things that you never knew existed and will provide a much needed opportunity to grow and mature. It’s a liberal arts school and despite its religious affiliation and the presence of that influence, you’ll never feel that anything is being shoved down your throat. You’ll learn how to think, not what to think. That’s more valuable than you know. You’re not going to be a doctor but that’s okay, you never really wanted to be anyway. A few years after school you’ll fall into a profession and although you’ll never be particularly passionate, you’ll do well. There will be a few bumps along the way with work, mainly due to the fact that you just don’t fit in well with the corporate world and their bullshit – you’re too independent (deep down, you don’t care much for authority, in particular, the abuse of authority). All in all you’ll do okay.

I’m sure you find this all very interesting but I know you well my friend and what you really want to know about is girls. Before I go into that let me say this. You have and will continue to have a passing interest in astrology (not the “the stars rule my life” kind of interest, more like the “what’s the weather going to be like this week?” kind). You’re a Pisces and the classic description of a Pisces fits you to a tee. You’re romantic, creative, imaginative, a dreamer, and you’re sensitive. You’re sensitive to others that you care about BUT you also get your feelings hurt easily. Less so as you get older but still, it’s there. Also, you love to be in the company of girls. That’s been true ever since you discovered them in kindergarten. Those two facts about you taken together will prove to be a blessing and a curse for a long time…but in the end it will work out splendidly. In the first grade you fell in love with Juanita and risked ridicule from other boys by playing hopscotch with her at recess. That more or less set a precedent. In a few years when you’re looking at extra-curricular activities, I’ve got one word for you. Theater. Think about it. In sports you’ve got a bunch of smelly, sweaty guys rolling around on the grass with each other and taking showers together. In theater you’ve got a bunch of attractive, talented, creative girls; a bunch of gay (in 1972 that would be queer, but we don’t say that anymore, it’s offensive) guys; and YOU. Do the math. Besides, it comes into play later.

In high school you’re in great shape, you’re not bad looking, you start to get noticed and have fun but not much really happens. College is where it takes off. You have a series of relationships with high highs, low lows and you will get hurt. But I’m not going to warn you off of any of them. You will learn from them but more importantly in some weird fated way each one leads you to the next one until eventually you arrive at the ONLY one. At the end of your senior year you’ll meet someone from outside school. You’ll move in with her and stay in Maryland after graduation. She’s NOT the one. In the fall of 1981 when you’re 22 you’ll go to see her in a theater production. You won’t know it but there you’ll catch your first glimpse of the right one. Three years and a lot of life experience for both of you passes before you’ll see her again. This time you’ll both be in a theater production. She’s beautiful, smart, talented, and funny and she looks amazing in a sweater. You become friends and a lot of flirting takes place. The show ends and you part company but you think about her a lot. Be patient. In the spring you stage manage the next production. One Sunday night you walk into the rehearsal studio and see her across the room. She’ll be wearing a white dress with a red belt and red high-heeled shoes. Fasten your seatbelt. Take that first step towards her and do not look back. I’ve given you more information here than I probably should have but I do not want you to fuck this up. Honestly I believe that it's meant to happen and it will no matter what you do, so be patient and let it. I can’t stress how important this is. She will be your life and is mine and everything meaningful for you from that point on will come through being with her. We’ve been together for 22 years, we have three beautiful daughters that fill us with joy and pride and I promise you…life is good. It all starts when you realize that you cannot let her get away, so don’t.

That’s not to say that there will be no bad. I wrestled with warning you about some painful things that will happen along the way but in the end I can’t for fear of changing what comes after. If I had assurances that nothing in my present would change I would give you much more information but no such assurances exist so I'm forced to let life happen. I’m sorry. More sorry than I can tell you. Sometimes bad things happen to good people but life moves forward. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted.

Remember to close your mouth and open your mind and that life is a journey that ends with the destination of death. You'll never know how long the journey will be, only how long it was. Enjoy the ride and don’t be in a rush to reach the destination. It’s all about the ride. You’re doing fine - you will do fine - and as I said, life really is good.

Oh, two more things.

1) The first Saturday in May 2005. The Kentucky Derby. Bet the #10, #18, # 12, and #17 horse on the Superfecta. A $2 ticket will win a record $1.7 million.

2) Powerball lottery drawing for Wednesday August 22, 2007, numbers 12, 37, 40, 48, 50 and powerball 37. There was no winner for that drawing and it rolls over to $340 million. You can get a ticket in Pennsylvania. Don’t forget.

As far as who to tag...This meme has been circulating all week and I'm late getting it done so most everybody I know has already been tagged. So I will nominate:
1. Crashed Site
2. Spirit Uncensored
3. Three players to be named later or anyone that hasn't been tagged that wants to take a crack at it.


Kitty said...

Malach has created the best meme ever - I have so enjoyed reading the posts it has prompted, not least yours.

That was really interesting, moving and fun. Thank you for sharing :-) x

Mike said...

Malach did do an excellent job with this meme and deserves a lot of credit for it. It is very therapeutic.

Excellent job Bruce and very moving. It is easy to see where people are in their life today when you read the letter they send back in time. Oh, and the powerball numbers....great.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

good letter.
it IS important to look good in a sweater.
you should've probably warned yourself about the boozy blogging broad (hows that for illiteration!) with a thing for tom selleck that will haunt your blog.

Hungry Mother said...

I enjoyed reading your letter and you probably enjoyed writing it. I'm glad you made yourself rich, too.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Thanks Kitty, I usually cringe at the though of a meme but once I got started this wasn't bad.

Yeah Mike it definitely gave a chance for a little introspection. Thanks for the tag.

TM, there was just not enough room to explain all that. Anyway, some things should just be a plesant surprise. So right about the sweater. After I saw her I was pretty sure that sweaters were invented for her to wear.

HM, thanks and I'm sorry to say I didn't get rich. I lost the letter sometime during an unfortunate college drinking incident (or it could've been when that person I was living with threw all my shit out on the landing). Fortunately I comitted the numbers to memory but unfortunately not the dates. I bought the lottery ticket in 2005 and bet the Derby in 2007. Idiot.

Colonel Colonel said...

That's a very interesting and well thought-out letter, thanks for sharing it! This is definitely one of the great memes of all time.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Thanks Col. I have enjoyed reading everyone's letters. A little insight into ourselves as well as each other.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I always cry reading these things!

You did a super job Brucie boy writing this.

I'm going to have to start keeping a box of Kleenex handy.

Take care Bruce!

Simply Curious said...

I cry reading them too. I even cried when I wrote my own. Malach is evil. :|

I like the lotto idea. :D

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Prepon and SC, thanks so much. I'm glad you liked it. Just stop crying, I hate to see a woman cry.

Malach the Merciless said...

Awesome job Bruce, I am collecting these and publishing them to one of my websites.

Crashdummie said...

Oh u just didnt tagg me?!?!

Here I was going all awwwwwwww and building up all praises on how wonderfully wicked this post was, and how I got to know so much abt you in a really creative & fun way...


i just remembered why I needed a break from VR..

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Thanks for starting this Malach. I groaned a little at first but I enjoyed doing it and reading everybody elses. Collecting them all together is a great idea. Please besure to post a link, there were so many flying around this week that I'm sure I missed a couple.

Hey Crash. Don't hate me :-(. You're one of the first one's I thought of. I enjoy your writing and thought your letter would be great to read. I honestly don't want you to feel pressured though, only do it if you want to. Peace.

BBC said...

Ah, I just read this post. Don't have time to do the meme and at 13 I was a dumb kid in Northern Idaho. No point in going back and talking to him now, the future from there to here has already happened. It's tomorrow I'm wondering and worried about.

You're still a kid, to me. Just wait until you get my age. Not that I ever expected to get my age. I didn't expect to get to 30 and here I have more than doubled that.

I sure as hell hope I don't triple it. By then I would be a babbling idiot. LOL

Pablothehat said...

That was truly excellent.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

BBC, no worries.

Pablo, thank you. Haven't seen you in a while.