This is a message for my son. Since he is never home these days – busy out gallivanting around the world – I thought I’d write him a little note. Charles, here are just a few suggestions for how to behave at nineteen so you are NOT fucked up when you are forty.
1. When you are nineteen, go easy on the drugs and alcohol. I know it seems like you can party for five months straight – all high and inebriated and stuff – but believe me, you are setting the standard for what’s to come. And it WILL catch up to you. You start with one thing, and then it’s another, and another, and before you know it, you are half way through your life, your hair is falling out, and all you do it sit on the couch rocking back and forth, watching reruns of Good Times. Yes, you USED to have “good times”, but now you’re just pathetic.
2. Don’t sleep with every person you meet. You may regret some of those experiences. And you may start getting lesions in places you’d rather not.
3. Sleep with as many people as you can while you’re young. Then, when you’re forty, your partner won’t have to “take you for all your worth” because he/she caught you boinking Jenny or Jeremy from down the street. And I know this sounds completely contradictory to what I just said, but relationships are tough to figure out. You can’t win.
4. Start eating healthy now, at least a little. Before you know it, that box of K.D. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will turn into quite the pronounced tire around your midsection.
5. Start exercising now, at least a little. Before you know it, that “I’d rather drink a case of beer and then sleep all day before getting up to do it all over again” attitude will make it so that you you need to wear a 38 C cup bra, and you’re a guy.
6. Be nice to your parents now, even if you think they are complete idiots. If you don’t, by the time you’re forty, they may very well have moved to the other side of the planet – just to get away from you snide remarks and negative attitude. Then, when (and if) you have a family and children of your own, you’ll have to rely on that scary kid who smokes weed at the corner store as your babysitter. That was you once. Don’t judge.
7. Pay attention at school. Try to stay awake in some of your classes anyway. It would be nice if a modicum of useful information permeated your brain. Then, when you’re forty, you won’t gargle with Javex to try to make your teeth whiter, and then say that no one told you it was a bad idea.
8. Don’t stay up until four in the morning every single night. Save that sort of thing for the really “big” occasions in your life. Once you start screwing with your body’s sleep clock, it is really hard to get it back to normal. Or do you WANT to work at that twenty-four hour gas station for the rest of your life?
9. Pretend that you care about the world, i.e. don’t throw your garbage just anywhere. That’s what trash cans are for. And don’t be wasteful. There are children starving in Africa – there actually are.
When you are forty – if all teenagers do this sort of stuff – you will be living in a place that’s even more degenerate and gross than I imagine Iggy Pop’s breath must be – the guy in the picture above. Thank goodness, by that time, I’ll be dead.
10. Make sure – and I know you’ve heard this a million times already – that you don’t do stupid shit when you are out driving my car. Don’t drive too fast. Don’t text and drive. And don’t ever, ever think of racing anybody, even if you have a hot girl sitting next to you, and she says, “Floor it. Screw those bitches.” You wouldn’t want to crash, and then – when you are forty – find yourself still confined to a wheelchair. Cars are weapons.
11. One more thing. Try cleaning up after yourself. Do your dishes, tidy up your room, do your own laundry, etc. etc. One day soon – and I mean REALLY soon – you won’t be living here anymore (I hope), and then how are you going to find clean underpants? Girls (or guys, or both, I don’t care) don’t generally want to cuddle with boys who are wearing poop-stained clothing. Well, you might find a few who do, but that’s fairly uncommon. Unless you go on the internet. Come to think of it, you probably know more about this than I do, so never mind.