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. The first series of letters can be found here, and yesterday's letters are right here.
Today's letters: Gangly Warfare (6th through 8th grade)
Listen, twerp: The Mariners are going to lose in the ALCS this year and you're going to cry.
Yeah, yeah, we're wading into Back-To-The-Future-2 territory again, but this one's important. You're in the formative years of your baseball fandom -- and while Dad is a Yankees fan and your brother is a Red Sox fan, you might be tempted to go with the exciting Seattle Mariners.
On the surface it makes sense. The 1995 Mariners have got Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and Bad-To-The-Bone Jay Buhner. What a team, right?? Here's some schooling for you, kid: Sic Transit Gloria. That's Latin for "Glory Fades" and my oh my is it ever going to apply to this team. There'll be a few bright spots after this year, but it will mostly be a black pit of impossible blackness.
If you could look forward a decade, you'd see your haggard self scanning the MLB standings and hoping -- praying -- that the Mariners are at least above .500. A good season is one where we're not at the VERY bottom of the AL West, and even that won't happen often --
OH MY GOD FELIX PITCHED A PERFECT GAME! LET'S GO MARINERS! LET'S GO MARINERS! IGNORE EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE, KID. FOLLOW YOUR HEART!
Listen, squirt: Just sit this one out.
You win some years and you lose some years. And let's just say…you can't lose if you don't play. I'd recommend drinking a warm glass of milk, fluffing your pillow, and just sleeping through this entire year.
Unless, of course, you enjoy near-constant angst over whether or not you're ever grow hair on your legs. If you're into that sort of thing then this year's perfect for you. Or maybe you're more into the ignominy of braces. Do you enjoy ignominy? Oh for the love of -- you've been in school for what, seven years now and you still don't even know what that word means? Freakin' "alternative" education…
Listen, string-bean: If you're not reading crap fantasy novels and playing D&D at least 8 hours a day, you're wasting a golden opportunity.
Sure, you need to learn algebra and read "Of Mice and Men", but beyond that the most important thing you need to be doing is capitalizing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to waste your time. Why stop with D&D? Get into some cyberpunk RPGs while you're at it. And don't limit yourself to Robert Jordan and Weiss/Hickman novels -- explore that entire canon of weird-smelling paperbacks in that corner of the library.
Why? Because pretty soon you are only going to have a couple hours in the day to do that kind of stuff. Then maybe an afternoon on the weekends. And finally you'll just be reading about the latest PC games while at work but not actually playing any of them because when you get home you have to work out, cook dinner, do the dishes, call your mom, and prepare lunch for the next day.
CARPE DIEM, my awkward little friend. CARPE DIEM.