Returning to school was always a stressful time for me, because I was a half-witted ball of neuroses. If I could go back and visit my former self, I would say: "Sam: Cool the f%$* out, buddy." In that spirit, I've written a series of letters to my former schoolboy self, providing heartfelt advice for the new year. Yesterday's letters can be found right here.
Today's letters: Almost Worthwhile (3rd through 5th grade)
Listen, short stack: You can't draw.
I know you're getting into X-Men comic books and you're starting to think that maybe you'll draw them for a living, but let me save you some heartache right now: Stop. See, it turns out that your parents and teachers and pretty much the whole world has been lying to you. You CANNOT achieve anything you set your mind to. There are "talents" that you either have or don't have, and you do not have artistic talent. Period.
While I'm at it, let's just cross a few more things off the list of possibilities: Professional baseball player, musician, Egyptologist (where did you even learn about that?), superhero. None of those careers are going to work out, so any energy you invest in them will be wasted. Focus instead on cultivating sincere compassion for others. Believe me, it turns out to be pretty important.
And just an update: You're still an idiot. You know how to read -- congratulations. But you still struggle to understand things that would be common sense to an adult. Just bear that in mind.
Listen, pee-wee: This is as good as it gets.
You've got your complaints, sure. Tyson can be a bit of a jerk. Learning the multiplication tables is a drag. But just a heads up: This is as purely happy as you will ever be. Hard to believe, right? I mean, it's not as though life is terrific in 4th grade, but things will get incrementally worse every year from here on out.
Try to savor that fact in whatever way your half-baked sensibilities are capable of. Don't worry about your propensity to miss the ball in kickball (you'll have plenty of time to hone your kickball skills during a nostalgia-driven resurgence of the sport in "fun" adult leagues in about twenty years). Don't worry about cursive -- it's for girls. And don't worry about accomplishing anything very well, as you remain entirely incapable of excellence of any kind.
Just be happy, you brat.
Listen, little guy: Invest the money you're spending watching Jurassic Park over and over in Apple stock.
Yeah, yeah, I know this is in breach of the letter-to-former-self-Back-To-The-Future-2-wormhole-agreement. But come on, kid. Don't get me wrong, JP is a solid movie, and you'll delight friends and new acquaintances with your spot-on impression of John Hammond's "We have a T-Rex!" down the road. But let me break it down for you.
You're going to watch Jurassic Park in theaters about 15 times, OK? At $5/pop that comes out to $75. Add on popcorn and pre-movie arcade game play and we're talking $150. Now, in 1993 $150 would have bought you 25 common shares of Apple Stock at ~$6/share. At today's price of $632, those stocks would be worth $15,800.
So: Would you rather develop a confused sexual attraction to Jeff Goldblum at the age of 11, or buy a new car in a few years? Your call, buddy.
Check in tomorrow for Grades 6-8. And write your own suggestions to your former self in the comments, because, y'know, this is a blog and stuff.