This showed up in my Inbox, for which I'm grateful:
Hey Drew, If someone during your formative and
developmental years kept whispering and reminding you
of something in your ear, what would that message have
Thanks for the continued informative and riotous blog.
Be well Larry
What message indeed?
There's so much I'd like to tell the previous version of myself, my proto-me. I probably have enough for a weekend seminar, if not a semester-long college course. ("Okay, as you see in the syllabus, next we're going to be talking about the sublime pairing of hot tubs and cigars.")
And then, of course, there's the whole question of what would proto-me be ready to hear.
"Hey, you guys? You're never gonna believe this. After fourth period, right, I cut gym, right? And I'm hanging in the lounge writing 'Siouxsie Sioux 4 EVER' on the cover of my AP History notebook--I am totally failing that class--and anyway, I had this like apparition thing happen, where this like big guy with a moustache, and he was like bald and everything, like appeared to me and he was like... No wait... He was totally like... 'Drew, can I have a moment of your time?'"
There's plenty of practical advice, too. "Learn to drive stick!" (Still haven't.) "Join little league!" (I wish.) And probably most importantly, "Don't listen to your father! Become an architect!"
Not that I would have followed through on any of that. Back in high school, I was terrifically screwed up. I remember once sitting around with a bunch of people I worked with getting stoned and we decided to each answer the question, "Where will we be in twenty years?" When it got to me, I said, "Uhhh... Remembered fondly?" And no one disagreed with that.
I guess it would be this though. The fundamental message: Don't be afraid.
The sixteen- seventeen- and eightteen-year-old me was afraid of everything. And the twenty-five-year-old proto-me also had a lot he was afraid of. And the thirty-five year old proto-me? Ditto.
Although I still have things I'm afraid of, I tend not to let my fears hold me back at this point. So progress is being made.
Hey, man. You. The skinny kid wearing the high water pants with the big coke-bottle glasses and the giant hair. C'mere. No. Relax. I'm not coming onto you. That would just be way too weird. But I will give you a backrub. Damn you're tense. The muscles in your back are like Trans-Atlantic cable. And that's what I want to talk to you about. Don't let stuff get to you. I know I know I know. There's your wicked stepmother. And the whole thing about you being queer. (Between you and me, that's the best thing God did for you so far.) But here's the deal. You'll get through. You'll be intact. You're always going to have people in your life who love you and who think you're a great guy. Although that will change over time. C'mere. Lemme hold you close. Yeah, boy. It's cool. You don't need to be afraid. Don't be afraid. I know. I know. It's tough. And I can't guarantee it won't get tougher. But don't be afraid. The best is yet to come, boy. Don't be afraid. Try new things. Open up to new people. Don't be afraid.