Monday, December 03, 2007

A Letter to the 13-Year Old Col-Col

There's a great new meme going around created by Malach, and Mike tagged me with it. Here are the rules:

-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.

Hey, 13-year-old Colonel Colonel, it’s 1975 where you are, you’re in 8th grade in a middle-class Boston-surburban school and having a blast, one of the best years you’ll ever have in school. Well, listen up, because your 45-year old self has a few words of advice for you.

Basically, unbelievably enough, by the time you hit your 40s you'll be in a pretty good place in most ways, but there are a few things you might watch out for-

You’ve been a Red Sox fan since a relative bought you the book "Yaz", at age 6, in 1968. Since then you've listened to Ned Martin's broadcasts of their games every night. This is an obsession you share with your one living grandpa, and you're just coming to terms with the bitter disappointment of the Red Sox losing the 1975 World Series to the Reds. Well, you won't believe what happens in 1978, and you'll probably be better off just skipping 1986 completely, but it’ll all be ok come the new century.

In a few years you’ll be unhappy in high school and decide to graduate in three years and then take a year off before college. That ends up being a good choice, even though you never make it to college. At the moment you think you’re going to end up getting an advanced degree and becoming a biologist or naturalist or ichthyologist or something along that line, but you’re going to fall into another career quite by accident that’s going to be just perfect for you.

Even at the age you are now, you can’t quite envision yourself working for anyone but yourself. Your few attempts to be part of the traditional workforce, with things like bosses and schedules, are going to be short and end badly. To be honest, with your penchant for completely overdoing things, if you become a naturalist you’ll probably just end up getting eaten by a bear or a seal anyway. Trust me- bookselling will be a good choice.

You're about to become a rabid supporter of Mo Udall in the 1976 Presidential Race. He'll lose the nomination to Jimmy Carter. Udall is a Mormon, you didn't know that, did you? That's because it's not considered an interesting or important topic for discussion in the race. We have a Mormon running for President now too, but his religion is a huge topic, which just reflects how much more religion has become entwined with politics in the new century.

When you hit your 20s, try and have a little more fun. You’re too serious at 13, and you’ll be too serious in your 20s. By the time you hit your 40s that’ll all have changed, but you’ll no longer be able to stay awake long enough to enjoy it fully.

Take good care of your back when you’re in your 20s or you'll be sorry later in life. Also in your 20s, stay away from the girl next door- it’s not just an act, she really is nuts, and you can save yourself a few years of pain by just not going anywhere with it.

Spend more time with your grandparents and listen to their stories. You'll miss them when they're gone.

When you are 26 your best friend will jump off a bridge; there's nothing you could have done.

In 1997 you will be raising baby ducklings, and will have put together a backyard enclosure you think is raccoon proof. Do yourself a favor and check it again before night falls. If you don’t you’ll wake up the next morning to one of the most horrific sights you’ll ever see, and it will be burned into your brain for the rest of your life.

In 1998 you’ll have $5000 extra dollars sitting around and you’ll seriously consider putting it into the newly-issued stock of an internet company called Ebay. I know none of that makes sense now, but listen up- just as you are about to do it your Dad dies, and then a week later your girlfriend, with whom you bought a house the month before, dumps you for somebody else. Even though all that happens, this time around DON’T get distracted by all that and DON’T forget to buy the damned stock.

You know, that's about it. After some self-induced unhappiness through your 20s and 30s, you will finally find happiness in your 40s. A few final thoughts would be-

-don't give up the Latin you will learn in 3 years of high school, you damned well will forget it if you don't practice.

-don't be so quick to lose touch with your school friends. They were very smart & cool, & will be hard to find later in life.

-Life is about living in the moment, so enjoy the moment, dammit!!!

That's it. Remember- don't plan a Sox Victory Party in 1986, and don't be so quick to laugh at an obscure Texas ne'er-do-well who gets into politics because his Dad happened to be President. He's slipperier than he looks.

Now, I'm going to tag:

Cissy Strutt
Beach Bum
Ted Velvet
(just because I think it'll be really interesting)


Preposterous Ponderings said...

Nice pic! :o)

Figures you'd be checking out pussy! LMAO

Great letter Colonel.Have you tried looking up some of your old friends at Classmates.com ?

Sara Sue said...

Nicely done, Colonel! Wow ... almost an e-bay tycoon??!!

Malach the Merciless said...

Nice stuff, but who are you tagging?

Kerstin said...

Good letter. And good advice.

Sirdar said...

Very well done. Even though I don't know you...I know more now than I did a few minutes ago.

It would be nice to actually have that happen. I always say it would be nice to go back and start over again...but with the knowledge I have now. I would hope I don't make the same stupid mistakes.

Great post!!

TED VELVET said...

god damn racoons killing baby ducks. why? whyyyyyy! good letter.

Beach Bum said...

Raccoons sure look cute but the little bastards will attack a man if cornered. Had one in my closed garage one night and it was really nervous and scared and wanted a piece of me while I tried to get the garage door open. I did and it ran out into the night.

And yeah we skipped the chance at eBay ourselves.

KellyNerd said...

What a fantastic idea for a meme!

Your letter to your younger-self was interesting, filled with good advice, touching and funny all at the same time!
Sounds like you had quite the life...

C.Rag said...

The last line is the damn truth!

here today, gone tomorrow said...

Wonderful...really wonderful. I love that photo. (And I posted some Branford duck arses for you.)

Colonel Colonel said...

Everyone: Thanks very much, it was an interesting project. I just hope it doesn't sound too tragic, it's not supposed to, but there were a few bad things that might have been better avoided.

And then I forgot the tags! I've remedied that now.

Mike said...

The thing about the "bad things" in life is that if they don't kill you, you usually come out of it even better than before.

Great post Colonel.

moooooog35 said...

OMG - I had the same raccoon/baby duck crap happen at MY HOUSE...when my gay cousin, Gary, decided to bring ducks to my house when he moved in...never realizing that animals that EAT ducks live in the woods.

Awful. Horrible.

Thanks for dredging that one up.

I got tagged by Malach on that too. My list is up.

...but I notice you don't have the same "don't fart in algebra" reference that I do.

Probably a good thing.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Great letter Col. I'm still thinking on mine.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i liked your letter. i did mine today, and then went back and edited it. ugh.

nice pic. you look straight out of jethro tull.

Colonel Colonel said...

Mike: Thanks, and isn't it the truth.

Moooog: Algebra was first period. I was snoozing.

Bruce: Can't wait to read it!

T-Bird: And that was at 13, you should see me now!

Hungry Mother said...

I spent 3 summers in the Boston area: Cohasset 1978, Dedham 1979, and Newton 1980. I probably ran into your former self somewhere along the way, maybe at Fenway.

Tequila Mockingbird said...


Chickie said...

Raccoons have gotta eat too.

Phoebe Fay said...

Great letter. I think your 13-year-old self would be pleased and proud to receive it and see how you turned out. Well, except the stuff about the red sox all those years, but that builds character.

Beach Bum said...

Just saw my tag, will get it tomorrow.

Simply Curious said...

Out of all the tags, this is the only one I actually read. Usually I get to like the third thing out of the twenty-million that they mention and I quit. It's like a quick version of someone's life story.

About Ebay...I met the guy that started facebook on a flight once and he asked for advice and gave me a card. I remember thinking, this shit's never going to go anywhere, because of myspace, so I threw his card away. Every once in awhile we kick ourselves for those things that seem so insignificant at the time.

KellyNerd said...

This meme managed to find its way around to me... fantastic fun it was to write!

Colonel Colonel said...

Hungry Mo: I thought I remembered you!

T-Bird: Not not not!

Chickie: Raccoons should all become vegetarians.

Phoebe: Yes, the Red Sox have built so much character, I've got character coming out my ass by now.

Beach Bum: We are all waiting.

SCG: This has been a really interesting meme to follow. As to Ebay and Faceook- screw writing letters, I want a Time Machine, dammit.

NerdGirl: Can't wait to read it!

anaglyph said...

Being newly acquainted with the minds of teenagers (as I am) it seems to me that the biggest problem you'd have writing to your 13yo self is getting him to listen.