A note to my 16-year-old self

Do everything exactly as I did, changing absolutely nothing, because if you change anything, even the smallest detail, it will ripple through the space-time continuum and – like an Amazonian butterfly wingflap causing a hurricane on the other side of the world (yes, you heard me right, there will be a period of time in your future when people say idiotic bullshit things like that) – possibly change something, and you don’t want to change anything, believe me. You don’t want to change the house you live in, the beautiful woman you are married to, or your children, who are funny, beautiful and brilliant and love you as much as you love them, if you can imagine such a thing, and you love them perhaps imperfectly, but absolutely. Change nothing at all. You will suffer, but less than many people, and you will witness intense beauty both great and small, and you will be very happy, for the most part.

Now, if you can be absolutely sure that you can change a few things at your age without fucking things up for me, here are a few small tips:

  • Stop worrying about the size of your johnson*, it’s perfectly fine, and anyway it’s not the size that matters, it’s how much of the housework you do.
  • Soon you will be seventeen. In that year, punk music will happen, and you will go to Europe, and kiss a pretty girl, and grow a beard. Seriously, it will be a great year.
  • However, when a drunk guy driving a van cuts you off on the freeway near 78th St., please slam on your brakes instead of swerving, because if you swerve you will hit a car and it will be your fault. No one will be hurt, but it will suck nevertheless.
  • Isn’t “swerve” the coolest word?
  • Take better care of your lower back. Running, swimming and working out with weights all help.
  • Coincidentally, they also help with depression. Perhaps seek therapy for this as well, if more exercise doesn’t do it, it will improve the quality of your life considerably. Melancholy is fine, but depression is a waste of your life.
  • Begin taking electric bass lessons immediately, if you get good you are practically certain of finding a spot in a band. Cello also. It is a beautiful instrument and you will sound better when you are older.
  • Before doing anything, ask yourself a question: Is this stupid? If the answer is yes, and you still do it, and it really was stupid, learn from it and don’t do it again.
  • Also ask yourself: Will doing this hurt someone more than if I don’t do it? If it will, don’t do it. In general, try to pay closer attention to other people’s feelings and don’t hurt them, you will regret it all your life if you do.
  • However: learn the difference between wisdom and fear, and grant the former a larger role in your life, and the latter a smaller role.
  • Your dad: talk to him, watch him more closely, listen to him. He loves you deeply, he is just giving you space and giving you a choice. He is letting you make your own mistakes. He has some good advice, try to get as much of it as you can. If you can, make friends with him, because you will miss him sorely when he dies.
  • Be friendlier to people, and kinder, and do not fear them
  • Study writing if that’s what you want to do. Don’t waste your time studying economics, you’ll forget everything after graduation anyway. Study more languages, you have an aptitude at your age.
  • Buy Microsoft stock, as much as you can. Keep buying it until Google stock becomes available, then sell all your Microsoft stock and buy Google, then sell that in like 2008 or something.

*my apologies to people named Johnson, it’s just my favorite word for wang**.

**my apologies to people named Wang***

***also people named Dick, and Pecker, and so on