So I have been inspired by someone else to write this thing. It’s gonna be a letter to myself. Except it’s a special, time-travelling letter. I will be using a very special send-shit-15-years-into-the-past mailbox, to get this letter to the 13-year-old version of me. I know this is exciting news to deal with, the fact that this extraordinary mailbox even exists, and you’re probably wondering why I’ve never done anything to spread the word before. But I implore you, please worry about all of that AFTER we get through my letter to the previous me. Okay? Let’s go.
It’s me, man! You, rather. Listen, man, this is obviously going to be some mindblowing shit because of the whole time-space-continuum business. Understandable if you want to walk around the room for a minute, shaking your head in terror and disbelief. When you come back, let’s do a quick thing where I tell you shit that only you would know, this way you believe this letter is actually coming from a future version of yourself, okay? So go do your freak-out thing now…
Are you done? Great. So, yes, this is really me. This is really you. Let me remember… you’re right now 13 years old. This is the summer between 8th and 9th grade so… you’re obviously stoned right now as you read this. (Surely that’s helping. Ha!) Let me see. You’re hanging a lot with Dave Stewart this summer, smoking his parents’ amazing weed. Listening to Cheech & Chong on vinyl, and Europe ’72, right? You’re secretly in love with that beautiful and bug-eyed Karyn C. You admire her because she’s unlike anyone you’ve ever met. You think she’s way too cool for you, way too cool for anyone. I think everyone’s already built the lounge above Moe’s garage by now, right? So you guys are all hanging in there getting fucked up and listening to Pink Floyd’s Pulse and Umma Gumma, and Biggie Smalls, OH!! And Wu-Tang Forever just came out, right?! (Yes, you will always love ODB, even when you’re 28 and kinda sensible.) And getting chased off that old lady’s trampoline, or was that last summer? Whatever, my point is… I’m you, man! REALLY!! I know your life, I know your fears, I know that you think about your enigmatic mother every day, even when you try not to care. I know that you hate being ugly, and you resent all the girls you hang out with because they’re always blowing your friends instead of you. It’s really me, dude. I am writing you from the great year of 2010. Hopefully you believe me by now, and I can begin dropping knowledge. Okay?
Firstly, there’s going to be a huge event in 2001 that is going to pretty much fuck you up real good. I don’t want to tell you what it is (because you’ll end up trying to tell people about it and stop it and you’ll definitely get blamed for being a psychotic asshole or something, so just… deal with it.) but when it happens, you’re going to watch it on the news and it’s going to be the most unreal thing you’ve ever seen. Now, this is very important: After this event happens, you are going to have some VERY disturbing ideas about the truth, and there’s a good chance you’re right, BUT it doesn’t matter who did it. It was fucked up, it happened, and it’s going to make the world a lot stupider and scarier. Dude, here’s the lesson: IT DOESN’T MATTER. DON’T FUCKING WORRY ABOUT IT. JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE, WORRY ABOUT YOU AND THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE. DON’T GET SUCKED INTO THE FEAR AND THE PARANOIA AND THE SPECULATION. PLEASE. JUST LET IT GO.
Okay, so here’s some shit you need to know so you can get through the next few years with less pain…
01: “Cool” doesn’t matter. So Stop lying so much, these people aren’t worth trying to impress. As time goes on, you’re a weird guy, and you’re gonna have a thousand weird amazing experiences. You will eventually have real stories to tell, and they will make heads explode. And the people you’re trying to impress now? In 5 years, you’ll only still be friends with a few of them. In 10 years, you’re gonna think 90% of them are douchebags. In 15 years, you’ll be struggling to remember faces and names. For instance, Karyn C? When you get to high school, she is going to spend the entire time barely acknowledging you, because she’s going to be hanging out with older “cooler” people. When you’re 28, she’ll be married and pregnant and still living in the same fucking town. She’s not going to have the amazing experiences that you will. So stop worrying about her and people like her. Pound for pound, you’ll turn out to be a pretty amazing dude. Don’t worry.
02: I know school sucks shit, I know it does. But. It’s gonna suck when you’re 24 and wishing you’d have gone to college instead of going to rehab. So PLEASE. Get fucking drunk all you want, smoke weed every day, that’s all fine. But get your grades up to 80 or 85% and keep them there. When you get to high school next year, you’re gonna start cutting a shitload of classes and getting in a ton of shit at home. This is going to suck, it’s going to make your insides ache. You’re going to spend months and months being grounded. And because you don’t like rules, you’re going to do more of that running away shit (which I think you’ve already done once or twice this summer, yes?). Well guess what! Running away will lead to this (yes, these are real things that have happened to you/me): eating out of trash cans, sleeping at Fleet’s Cove Beach in the snow, smelling like a sweaty asshole, losing your goddamn mind, committing stupid petty crimes, stealing from people who don’t deserve it, being arrested and spending the night in a really creepy group home, living in your car, running your shitty car into the ground, making your car smell like a sweaty asshole, sleeping in graveyards and in parks and on the bleachers in the back of your school. You will drop in and out of school many times and you will graduate JUST BARELY while in a drug rehab. A rehab that you will live in for 16 months. You’ll go to Community College for a semester while you’re in rehab, but your social anxiety and propensity for class-cutting will keep you feeling trapped in the computer lab, spending all day trying to flirt with girls that will never exist. This will all be a painful time. It will mostly suck really badly. And you will never get to go to your prom, which will sort of haunt you forever. So. Just… do a better job in school. It won’t be that hard. Just practise reading, it gets easier. Go to class. Don’t smoke weed until AFTER school. DON’T drop acid at the bus stop in the morning either… well, don’t do it more than once or twice. In fact, that’s my next paragraph. But seriously, SERIOUSLY, Rob. School sucks, it’s annoying, it’s hard sometimes. But you’re going to regret doing it the way you end up doing it. You’ll be okay, but I PROMISE life will be easier if you just do a little better in school. (Also, try reading some Hunter Thompson or Jack Kerouac or Douglas Adams. These writers will help you realise that reading isn’t so shitty afterall. This will help later.)
And you think I don’t know how much you hate being told what to do? Idiot. Of course I know. I/we are 28 now and it’s still the same way. But. This is me WARNING YOU FROM THE FUTURE, RETARD!!! Special rules apply. Listen to me. I’m not saying go be a fucking square and don’t have fun. No. Experiement. Lose your mind. Freak out, man! It’s all fine. Just… regulate. School. Do a little better. It’ll make your life easier in the long run. Okay?
03: Anyway. Yes. LSD. Cocaine. Ecstasy. Painkillers. Heroin. Ketamine. Mescaline. Mushrooms. All of these are going to eventually make an impact on your life. But… someday after it’s all done, you’re going to understand that it was all too much. Here’s a story. (I’m calling you and I “we” from now on, for logical reasons, yeah?) We will start buying sheets of acid in the city soon enough, and selling enough to make our money back. But during this time, we’ll be eating too much of it. It won’t be safe. You will go on to have shaky hands for the rest of your life, and you’re never going to get very fast at guitar and you’ll be self-conscious about how your voice sounds because you end up talking like a fucking acid casualty. Don’t do that, man. Don’t sell it, don’t think it’s going to make you “cool,” I promise everyone is still gonna think you’re an ugly weirdo. And oddly enough, in your early 20s, you’re going to start shooting drugs with Matt. Don’t do that either? Ahh… who am I kidding? I guess you have to do all the drugs, right? Because, even looking back, I understand its place in your life. So. Disregard this #3 altogether. Just… Try and be safe, okay? And in a few years, when Corey and Edwin wake you up with a sheet of Jerry Garcia blotter acid, maybe you should wake up and think about your day a little… don’t just snatch hits of acid out of people’s hands when you’re barely awake. Not advisable. Okay, sorry for preaching.
04: Okay. This is gonna be weird. Your mom is still alive. She is probably going to die in 1998. But. If you want to find her, go to San Francisco. She’s living at a place called The Mission Hotel. Oddly enough, it’s right next to the hospital you were born in. Maybe you can go there and meet her, and maybe it’ll change your life. Maybe you’ll feel less of a void, I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t tell you, but I did. And ask her about Jason Magro. Or look up Jason Magro in a few years, he should be in either San Diego or Arizona somewhere. CRAZY things, dude.
05: A tip for the future world you’ll live in: The internet is not going away. It’s gonna get bigger and bigger. You’ll be pretty good at doing some creative things with it, but if you go school for it all… (they’re going to call it “graphic design” or “web design,” try getting into that shit early on) you’ll do a lot better. You might not have to worry about money so much in the future.
06: Also, as far as money goes. The Kentucky Derby is retarded, but it can get you paid. Start betting as soon as you’re 18. Bet everything you have. Year 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus. 2001, Monarchos. 2002, War Emblem. We are not greedy so. Three is enough. Bet though, dude. You will get paid as fuck.
Okay. I guess that’s enough. I mean there’s so much more to tell you. I really wish I could be the father you never had… but that would be fucking weird, wouldn’t it? But know this. You’re gonna be okay. There will be tons of times where you’ll think that “this is the end, I’m just gonna kill myself.” But you’re not going to. And you’re going to live on. You’re a lot stronger than I realised at 13 or 16 or 20 or 25 even. You’re gonna be okay. Don’t worry so much. Don’t kick yourself so much. You are sensitive and creative and an overall decent human being. These things may not count in middle school or high school. But they count out here in the real world.
Finally, I just want to say don’t worry about being stuck where you are forever. You may not realise it yet, but you are going to go to strange lands and meet strange people and have amazing times. And just imagine… if you follow some of the advice I’m trying to give you, you’ll probably have a life that’s even better than the one I’ve lived so far.
I know most of this stuff is all pointless. I know you won’t listen. I know I know I know. But. Just remember the one important thing. The one where I told you you’re going to be okay. Always remember that. Even when it gets dark, and I remember it getting VERY fucking dark sometimes, just remember that you’re going to be okay. You’re going to experience a handful of great loves and a handful of great friends and a bunch of days/nights that you will never forget. You’re going to create beautiful art and music. You’re going to learn so so much, and you’re going to love the world… for the things that you find out are in it. You are going to have a weird crying problem when you get older because sometimes things are beautiful enough to make you want to burst. And yes, you are going to be okay. Through all of it.
Enjoy it, little me. Enjoy the fucking ride. Shit. This isn’t enough. Maybe I’ll write you back some time. If that’s okay…
Robert A. Boylan