Blathering Lockdown: Day Seven


Is the book done? NO

Blather limiter:

Your question for the day:
You get to go back in time and tell your 15-year-old self one thing. What is it?

Hopefully my thing would be actually be more profound than what first came to mind: “Enjoy those feathered locks, kid.” But that’s where my brain is at the moment, I suppose.

Enjoy. See you tomorrow.

191 Comments on “Blathering Lockdown: Day Seven”

  1. No way, I’m not messing up a good thing. Who knows where I’d be right now if I told myself to stop being such a dork. Dorkness rules!!

  2. To quote Leonard Cohen:
    I lift my glass to the awful truth
    That you can’t reveal to the ears of youth
    Except to say it isn’t worth a damn…

    Nothing I could say to that brat would make any sense to him.

  3. “It’ll get better, hang in there.”

    I ran away when I was 16, emancipated when I was 17, and lo and behold, it indeed did get better.

  4. You WILL live longer than you think.

    Start reading scifi NOW.


    People WILL like you, no matter what.

  5. Cut the red wire. Do not cut the blue wire. Please remember this. It is very important. Oh, and the girl with the glasses is a definite life mate.

  6. Get the hell out and call the damn police now and don’t take no for a f*cking answer. Just get out. Get out now before you get crushed under 6 more years of crap. You already put up with 15.

  7. John we are having Zeus (the kitten formaly known as Temp Cat) withdrawls….we need pictures…

  8. Dane nailed it.
    I have wonder if I would listen to myself. I know for a fact that I didn’t listen to anyone else when I was 15. Of course I still won’t listen to anyone else 25 plus years later.

  9. You build a time machine as a fifteen-year-old, and go twenty years into the future to tell your future self to stop being such a dork and go back to being so hip and trendy. Like when you were fifteen. And knew everything.

    The music was better when I was fifteen anyways.

    Dr. Phil

  10. Hey, eejit, you don’t have to have a boyfriend or get married to be happy. That has a far greater chance of making you miserable than otherwise. Get your ass in gear, accomplish some things independently, and you’ll be happy anyway!

    Also, antidepressants. Seriously! Better living through chemicals.

    Note: I am now happily married – but not to the same deadbeat I idiotically hung the stars on when I was 19.

  11. John, now that it’s day 7, I have to ask – do you get weekends off from this blather blockade? Or even a seventh day of rest?

  12. That Microsoft stock that your grandparents gave you a few shares of as a Christmas present? Empty your savings account and buy all you can.

    I actually would have listened to that.

  13. it’s ok to tell katie that you like her, or to kiss her, or something. i know saying “be more confident!” is entirely unhelpful, but, well, just go for it. maybe it won’t be long term, but think of it as gaining more experience so that you can level up sooner. :P

  14. My 15 year old self was pretty stupid and stubborn. I doubt much would get through, but,
    I’d say, “Stephanie is an idiot, and you don’t have to do everything she says and does.”
    And, “Hard work won’t kill you.”

  15. Hmm…

    “Your problems are not for the most part your fault, but the solutions are your responsibility, and the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you’ll be happy.”

  16. Well, it wasn’t that long ago (a mere six years), however I think I’d go back and say…

    “A) Scrap your first 200 ideas for Book, and make it dark and gritty. You’ll like it more that way. Also, talk to grandpa whenever possible, cause he won’t be around in five years.”

    “And scrap the idea of going to an art college. It’s stupid and you won’t like it, and you want to be a writer anyway. So shut up and choose something else.”

    Of course, I expect my 15-year-old self to stare at me like I’m crazy, then look at my hair and wonder just when the hell my mother lets me cut it.

  17. Oh and then of course, she’d ask ‘Why did you say A) when there was no B) or anything?’ But really, that’s just me being stupid.

  18. I’m amused that the trend appears to be guys saying “Go get the girl!” and girls saying “Dump that guy!”.

    15… hm. Probably: “There are other things in the world than sex, and there are definitely other and often better ways to interact with people. Flirt less, talk more, listen most; give people reasons to value you besides your willingness to put out, and trust them to pay attention.” I might have to shout it to be heard over the buzzing of hormones and the sucking sound emanating from the black hole of my youthful self-esteem, but I’d do my best.

  19. All those things your parents and teachers say are your faults? They will turn out to be your biggest strengths.


    This whole high school thing? It means nothing, it won’t really matter and it’s not that important. Its just a holding tank to better things like college and freedom and life. Just bide your time and don’t worry about it.

  20. “You know that money you got for your birthday? There’s a little start-up company whose stock I’d like you to buy. It’s called Microsoft….” Keep in mind, I now 41.

  21. Take a risk and don’t do what is expected of you. Think a little bit and do what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

    I should give that advice to my 40 year old self as well, but its too late in most respects.

  22. Try doing what you want for a change instead of always worrying about what you think everyone expects of you.

    Oh, and ZZ Top is correct: every girl really is crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man, even if you think you look like a button-down poindexter.

  23. “Dude, do some homework”

    Also, don’t become a coach potato, go play some football and rugby. You will still be friends 10 years later.

    Finally, you will die alone. Happily.

  24. I would give the same advice that Alan Arkin gives his ~15-year-old grandson in the middle seat of the microbus in _Little Miss Sunshine_.

  25. “Mostly things will be better, but sometimes they’ll suck like now, and the important thing is that you’re becoming someone you like, which will make all the difference.”

  26. Buy into microsoft.
    Learn to play a musical instrument (so you don’t have to struggle with it in 25 years time).
    Don’t just look at the girls, talk to them.
    Write it down.

    That would cover it.

  27. – Dump Michelle. You don’t need her as a friend.
    -Amiee? She ends up as a crack head in 5 years. Pay NO attention to her.
    – Those music lessons you wanted to take? Take them. Learning the piano is much harder when you’re older.
    -Oh yeah, stick with the French, Driver better (You’ll regret that ticket), don’t whine when you move to Florida, you end up in a better place.
    – And your 21st birthday? Don’t moon the cop. Seriously. It’s not worth it.

  28. Okay, here goes:

    “Christopher, practice how to convey one concept — only one, mind you — to another person, without straying from the subject. Someday this skill will be essential to our continued existence.”

  29. That ass-prat? I wouldn’t give him the time of day, and he wouldn’t listen to it if I did!

  30. Just that the next four years will pretty much determine the course of the rest of your life. So do some homework and get A’s, instead of fooling around, doing no schoolwork and trying to get people to like you. When you graduate high school, you will never see these people again. Get away from your crazy family, go to a good college as far away as possible and get into something you love. Or you will waste years sitting in a cubicle in a soul-crushing job when you grow up…

    (Regrets? No, why do you ask?)

  31. Well, if I had to: Yes, you actually are as smart as you think, and yes, the world will eventually pay you off big time for it. No, this doesn’t give you the right to act like such an ass, and you’ll be better off if you cut it out right now.

  32. “Stop worrying about what people think of you. You won’t see any of these high school idiots after college. So do what you want, say what you want, and if someone labels you uncool, *&^% them.”

  33. Start to learn self defense; two years from now, you will need it.

    Don’t waste your time doing things and listening to music that you think is popular, but go for what you enjoy, yourself. If people laugh and think you’re childish for liking books with dragons in them, so be it; don’t put the books down for that. People will not laugh less at your attempts to do something popular. You’ll never learn to find out what’s popular, but that doesn’t matter as long as you learn what you like, yourself, and you will find that out.

    Don’t say “I can’t!” until you’ve really tried; if possible, scrap the line “I can’t” from your vocabulary entirely and replace it with something like “I’ve never tried that before”.

    When you get to high school, pick biology and study that afterwards, in stead of humaniora. You do have the brains to study biology and you will kick yourself very hard for not going for it if you don’t.

    When you’re given the chance to go back in time and tell your 15-year old self one thing, don’t limit yourself to just one.

  34. I’d recommend the Jergen’s brand lotion while staring at my Heather Locklear poster.

  35. I’d tell myself to go to a better college and study science/engineering.

    Also, like Jeri@16, I’d recommend some antidepressants, instead of the eating disorder.

  36. Don’t listen to your dad. Take the Archeology Scholarship from University of Maryland, not the Engineering Scholarship from Virginia Military Institute. I would still have joined the Army, but I would have had 4 more enjoyable years in college.

  37. When in college, run for student body president.

    And always make him use a condom. Whoever he is.

  38. Take responsibility for yourself. Not just “Don’t Do Drugs” kind of responsibility — that part was easy — but real, deep-down, “This is MY life and it will be what *I* make of it”-type responsibility.

  39. 1. You’re chasing the wrong girl.

    2. Study what you like in college, not what you think you have to.

  40. You’re going to meet the girl of your dreams and fall madly in love with her.

    Listen to the little voice and nagging doubts.

  41. Tell the parents to hold onto the Apple stock.

    Ask her out. Do you REALLY care what the rest of those shmucks think?

    Stop taking shit from the bullies.

  42. It looks bleak now, but trust me on this: Those D-cup cheerleaders WILL marry the football players, but they end up in dead-end jobs. All of ’em. You will find Mr. Right. It takes longer than you expect, but believe me, he’s worth the wait.

    Just do me one favor: Show a little class and don’t laugh your ass off until AFTER the 10-year reunion.

  43. “Writers write; we don’t. Go to Engineering school the first time around instead of drinking our way out of an English program that bores us. We are not Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Faulkner. Also, sell all that tech stock between 1/1/2000 and 2/1/2000. Finally, that girl up the block is smart and cute. Ask her out. Oh yeah. Lou Reed’s Rock’n’Roll Animal. Buy it.”

  44. Seeing as I was 15 in 1965 — “Remember this date: March 13, 1986 – That’s 21 years from now. You’ll be 36. Save every penny you can get your hands on and put it all in the first issue of stock from this company called Microsoft. It’ll split 9 times in 20 years and just about double in price. And don’t buy the damn’ Veag in 1971.”:

  45. “Get involved in the political process. You are not going to believe this, but in 2008, there will be a woman and the first African-American running for president:”.

  46. My 15 year old self? I was pretty tame (read: sheltered & naieve) as a kid. Still, I’d probably tell myself something like:

    “Study harder at your music lessons. You’ll probably get to learn guitar.
    Study harder in high school, period. Don’t skip physics in grade 12, because you’ll get caught.
    There’s going to be a cute exchange student from Bosnia in your english elective classes in grade 12. Help him out with what he asks, don’t chicken out.
    Keep writing, and while playing in a chem lab seems like fun, take a risk and do what you want. Apply to other schools in different provinces for different programs. Don’t be afraid.”

    … Yeah, that’s probably it.

  47. My 15 year old self? Anything I say to him might alter the trajectory that led to meeting his/my future wife three years later. Risky. Far better to secretly open a secret trust fund with instructions as suggested above, to invest in Microsoft. The timing would be perfect. That trust fund to be paid to him/me in 2008.

  48. Everything I’ve ever done that I’m ashamed of, I did under the influence of alcohol. Go for quality v. quantity in beer and all other things.

    And also, you’re not cut out to be a lawyer. You can do the math and the art – be an architect.

  49. No matter how fun it might sound now, it is not funny to shave a cat, slather it in mayonaise and turn it loose in the high school cafeteria.
    Oh, and do your #$^%(@%#(*^ homework you lazy ^%$@^&#!

  50. Learn to study right now, so you actually know how to. You might be smart enough to make mostly A’s in high school just by showing up, but study habits will actually matter when you start enrolling in classes designed to weed out callow smart guys like yourself.

  51. You are gay. It isn’t going to go away. Quit fighting it. And no matter what anyone tells you, marrying a woman will only make matters worse.

  52. Dump all the friends before they suck the life right out of you .. No, seriously .. Besides, you already know this .. All except for that one (Oh, and warn her to take better care of herself .. She’ll thank you later, I hope) .. Likewise all the guys because none of them are worth it .. Just trust me on this .. And besides, you need to go after that one right over there .. Yes, really, that one.

    Oh, and take German class and get into cooking classes. You’ll thank me later.

  53. Sell your baseball cards now (1990, top of the market), invest in microsoft, don’t take a girlfriend to college.

  54. You’re ADHD, and the meds won’t be around until 2001…so here’s what you’re going to do….

  55. “Stop playing Caslte Wolfenstein on that Apple II and learn how to program it. Then remember the term search engine. You will need to know how to design one.”

  56. Give the acting a serious shot. If it doesn’t work out, you will still have plenty of time to do something “serious” and “responsible.” If you don’t give it a shot, you will still be sorry when you are old, fat, and ugly.

  57. Let’s see – that would have been 1974. I would have had access to the Plato terminal at school for another five to six weeks, this would maybe/probably just work out.

    “You really don’t want to go into physics – you’ll spend 48 weeks of the year interacting with the same 6-10 people, and it’ll drive you nuts. Start looking at computers right now.”

  58. “You’re gay. No, seriously, there’s no question about it, you’re gay. And when you have a chance in about a year and a half to get a boyfriend, TAKE IT and run with it. I can’t say it’ll make your life better, necessarily, but it will make it more honest. And hopefully you’ll avoid becoming an emotional cripple. Have fun, now.”

  59. Go to your second choice college. It would be far better to leave after four years in a state school with no debt than owing tens of thousands of dollars because you chose an out-of-state school.

    Oh – and you will survive your parents’ divorce.

  60. 1. Date more
    2. Go on hunger strike until parents transfer you to a public school
    3. Go on hunger strike until Dad agrees to make a goddamned doctors appointment. (Prostate cancer is CURABLE, guys. Who cares if it’s embarrassing, you’re not immortal, just f*cking GO.)

  61. That girl you’re drooling over? She’s not going to give you a second look. And besides, she’s gonna be a crackwhore 6 years from now.

    On the other hand, that shy girl reading the book in the corner? She’d love to talk to you. And she’s gonna be totally Hawt when the braces come off. (You’re not such a prize right now, yourself.)

  62. In about 10 years, you’re going to see a blog (don’t worry about that word, you’ll figure it out) entry by john scalzi about telling your 15 year old self something. Don’t read the comments, because thanks to a commenter named “jason”, you’ll get ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

  63. “You’ll figure it out. I’m not saying you aren’t a goddamn idiot–because really, you are–but you’ll figure it out.”

    Also: “Hey, you should probably get around to doing the tourist thing in New York sometime soon. One of the landmarks is going to get shut down pretty soon after your next school years starts. Oh, and later this year, when you’re wishing you could punch me in the face for not telling you about–well, you’ll know what: Mom and Dad are going to be fine. Don’t worry about them.”

  64. Swallow your pride, go to the school staff, tell them you’re hungry and need help. Get on the school lunch program or anything else available. Poor nutrition in your formative years will haunt you for the rest of your life.

    If I could tell me another thing it would be: you *need* your *own* car – don’t trust your parent to let you use their car for anything important. It will never be important enough for them, and the cost in terms of hassle, negotiation and arguments will always be too high. You can’t get a decent job, you can’t do decent activities, and you can’t get a decent girl without a reliable source of transportation. You’ll never make the team if you can’t make practice. If you don’t find a way to buy your own car, you spend three more years as a serf.

    Then a third thing: Take the classes *you* want to. Take auto shop. Ditch calculus and higher math – you’re no good at it anyway. Ditch the school band. Learn things you’ll actually need and use in your life.

  65. Pay attention to your cat Fluffy. He will live to be 18 and be an excellent judge of people’s characters, especially boys. Yes, there will be boys, some very nice ones. Some will be jerks, but the cat won’t like them, at all.

    Also, not to worry next year. Sometimes headaches are only headaches.

  66. My 15 year old self? Fuck that, I’m talking to the person who can make a real difference in the young twerp’s life, Mom.

    Mrs Kellogg, your problem is pancretitis. You will dump Dr. Miles and get another physician. The man is an incompetent Jesus freak and his obstinacy (and yours) is going to get you killed. Get an accurate diagnosis and get proper treatment.

    Get after John for his smoking, Dennis for his misplaced anger over Dad, and get Alan in treatment for Clinical Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and have him assessed for Autism and put into treatment if he is indeed Autistic.

    Once that’s done, get all three boys shagged. It’ll make life so much better, especially for Alan. You know who has daughters open for the experience, and are open to the idea themselves.

    One last thing, tell them about the abortion. I figured it out, they will too. It’s why you kicked Dad out, and why you’re still so bitter about the separation after all these years. Clear the air, it’ll make life better for everybody.

    My time’s up. Next time it won’t be advice but orders.

  67. “Believe in yourself, and dare to do what you dream about. That is, don’t do what you think people expect of you.”

    That’s basically, “ask the girl out,” or, “dump that guy.”

    I’d stay away from the Microsoft quotes, though; as we’re able to travel through time it’s obvious that we can alter the past now, and hence the future. Maybe, just maybe, something else takes off.


  68. Need to floss more, the rest of life takes care of itself, but only you take care of your teeth. Oral surgery sucks and is entirely preventable.

  69. “Hey knucklehead, you need some help. That clinical depression ain’t going away on its own. And once you start taking the meds, stay on ’em. And for the love of God, when you meet Alene in college…ah, what the hell. That was fun while it lasted. And the heartache goes away…for the most part.”

  70. Dude,

    Talk to all the pretty girls in school, they are probably just as uptight and lonely as you are cause like hey, everyone else is afraid to talk to them too!!!!

  71. Go talk to her! You meet her next year! You become really good friends! Speed up the process by a year!

  72. “I’m gald you’re enjoying the X-men, but go pick up that wierd DC title Sandman. Seriously. I mean, Tori mentions it on both her albums. Anything Tori recommends can’t be bad, and it will give us a good 8-year head start on the rest of our life.

    “Oh, and that one? I’m not saying don’t, but don’t expect sunshine and happiness even if you get what you want.”

  73. Tell Paul, community college might suck, but the Army and Vietnam aren’t going to work out for you.

    Fifteen was a little too late to tell John that the water isn’t as deep as it looks, and diving in head first is not a good idea.

    For myself: The Marine recruiter is going to lie and tell you there is no language school. The rest? You’re going to love Japan. You’re going to look back later and say you did pretty good. You married the right girl. You’ve got a good family and a good job and a good life.

    That Consumer Report article recommending the Volkswagon Rabbit? The ones they tested were not the ones they built in PA. Don’t trust everything you read.

  74. Naturalist @ 72: Jesse Jackson & the rainbow coalition

    what I’d tell my 15-year-old self:

    (a) you’re smart, but not as smart as young think you are. Nothing in your high school cirriculla will help with this problem. Keep reading the SF in the library, by all means, and the James Clavell, and what-not, but try a history book or two, or maybe a book on physics, or comparative theories of economics.

    (b) Colleen ****** is never, and I repeat emphatically, NEVER going to go out with you. The reason has nothing to do with you. There is, however, a rather sweet and cute girl right over there who’s always had a tiny bit of a crush on you. Trust me, she told me so, years from now, in a reuniony moment of drunken “truth or consequences”. The best part: she just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter and cuter and cuter the older she gets.

  75. When you meet her, and you’ll know who, don’t marry her. For godsake don’t marry her!

  76. This is a hard one, because while I screwed up etc etc, I think the smallest change could land me somewhere else than where I am now, and I want to be where I am now. Even though high school sucked.

    But I would think about saying two things. 1) “High school doesn’t matter a YEAR after you leave. Act accordingly.” 2) Buy Google stock (or, alternatively, I like the lottery number idea someone mentioned above. Reminds me of the almanac in back to the future II…)

  77. Get help for your depression and crippling shyness. 25 years later, you will still be miserable and alone, and pretty much a failure, if you don’t.

  78. “Stop those useless and stupid diets right now before you gain another 30 pounds.*
    “You’ll actually live to be 25. And then some. Get used to the thought.
    “Practise working on things that are hard.
    “And don’t panic.”

    * As if I could have…

  79. “You will find it hard to believe, but sometime in 1996 a friend will give you 30 thousand dollars for safekeeping. Invest in something called Ya-hoo and in 1999 you both will be millionaires”.

    Alas, certificate of deposit…

  80. Not a damn thing. Things turned out really well for me mostly because of his boneheaded screw ups. Why should I put my happiness at risk in order to save that little bastard a little stress?

    Okay, I might tell him to take a statistics class. Man, I could use that now.

  81. Leave off on your novel now, because in 3 years you’ll come back to it & make it better than you can ever write now. (which is what happened, I just want to make sure it does)

    Get Amber to talk to you and then you can skip all the crap you’re getting from her in 2008

    Regain the musical abilities you had when you were in 7th grade, because soon you won’t have any at all and it’s a lot harder to get them back then.

  82. 1. Stop worrying so much and stop working so hard. Also, life gets better every year.

    2. About boys, you know, those crazy individuals that run around all the time feeling each other up and sweating profusely? Yes, you know the ones I mean. Well, they stop being stupid at some point. Hang in there.

    3. Tell your relatives to pull out of the stock market NOW. (Pre-2001 bubble bust)

  83. Oh, and when your school counsellor tells you you can skip right to honors chem, DON’T DO IT. You end up hating Chem, do not belong in an honors science class at all, and you have to take the first semester over in your Junior year. You don’t want that.

  84. Wait. I need to explain that. I wasn’t married at 15, but I ended up marrying that boyfriend.

    So, I guess I would say at 15, don’t date him.

    And also, don’t throw away all those baseball cards you collected just because you’re a girl. I could have been rich.

  85. You don’t even remotely look like you’re 18, so just forget about trying to buy that Six Pack &/or pack of Camels &/or Penthouse.


  86. Absolutely, positively INSIST that your sister not be allowed to marry that knucklehead until AFTER she finishes high school. It will save much trouble and heartache later, especially for her.

  87. redo on earlier thoughts. Less about me. Well, still quite a large portion about me, but only in an indirect way:

    This date here, write it down. Keep it with you. Don’t lose it. Better yet, burn it into your memory. What’s special about it? It’s the day your best friend Andy & his girlfriend take a ride on his Harley and never come back. You’ll know what to do when the time comes…

  88. Oh, also…

    1. Don’t have sex with that one chick.
    2. Short internet everything in 2000
    3. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.
    4. Don’t be so hard on Emily, she’d have gone through hell and back for you.

  89. Oh, and for God’s sake-

    tell everyone when they ask. You might get crap about it at that time, but it will save you from getting a lockjaw complex.

    Oh- and Pat is an #($&*#*$. Tell him so.

  90. Things turned out well and life has been a heck of a time so far. That being said my advice is:

    “Stop watching Scrubs after season 3. You’ll only be disappointed.”

  91. Quit wasting time trying to please your parents. Nothing you do ever will. Figure out what YOU want.

  92. I’ve tried going back in time and interacting with 15-year-olds, but it never turns out the way you hope.

  93. Upon further review I would just have the CDF cram my current consciousness into my 15 year old self.

  94. “In about five years? Tell him.”

    Either that or “Buy stock in Google,” since the above situation worked out anyway, just six years later.

  95. Old me to young me:
    “Don’t change a thing. You will go on many adventures and see wonderful things. You will travel the world and despite your lack of education you will successfully be employed as an network and systems engineer throughout your career.”
    “Oh…Forget that chick in NY she is nothing but bad news”

  96. When Forry Ackerman asks you to stay in LA for a couple more days to be his and Ray Bradbury’s date to see a new unearthed Lon Chaney film – don’t say you have to get back to college! Stay and go with them. A few days of classed can wait!
    And if I had a 2nd one – don’t take the big diamond ring off when you go swimming and then lose it forever out of your purse.

  97. When you meet Cathy of the half-shaved half-green hair, she’s gonna like you. Don’t let her get away. I can’t guarantee it’ll lead to great things, but I can tell you you’ll always regret it if you don’t try.

  98. When you can, take the money and go to England. Shack up with some bird, make her your life mate, and then come back and do the education thing. Also consider taking up Social Sciences instead of English, you’re better at it.

  99. Don’t go out with him. And since I know you won’t listen to that…hang in there. You will find the strength to break up with him, and it *does* get better.

  100. In considering others’ points and thoughts, I might modify my advice to something more pithy like:

    “You’re smart and have good instincts. You’ll never be able to count on anything else, so learn to listen to yourself and think it through. Learn to reject bad advice, no matter what the source, step up, and start solving your own problems right away. Nobody else will. Ever.”

  101. “write down the stories you hear from your relatives- and if you’re not hearing them, ask! Once you’re in college and able to browse journals, look for an article by W.S. Bonds with the title that starts ‘Recognition and treatment…’ and then really research this topic. Also, people who love science fiction have this thing called ‘fandom,’ and they’ll have fun meetings called ‘conventions’. You need to go to this one in 19xx.”

    Ok, that’s 3 things. I could drop the “listen” advice: likely I already knew it and was just ignoring it the way teenagers do. The convention? That’s where I met my life-love.

    The Bonds article? This is a 1987 article that mentions how ADD does persist into adulthood and that ritalin treats it just fine (going by the abstract). I’m trying to think of how I could tell myself without spooking myself. Reading about it one year into college would be about right.

    I have ADD. It didn’t matter at 15: I could read quickly enough to make up for it. I wouldn’t have believed it at 15, (nor would any doctors). But in college: ouch.

    The problem was that the first books that showed how women with ADD might not have any traditional “hyperactive disrupting boys” symptoms didn’t come out until 1995.

    I was diagnosed in 1997. Ten extra years of knowing would have helped.

  102. That guy that breaks up with you in grad school? Do NOT try to keep him. SERIOUSLY. Let. him. go.

    You’ll save yourself years of doubt and heartbreak and psychiatrist bills.

  103. For the most part, I’d just shoot the breeze with myself. I think I was a fairly interesting fifteen year old, but if I had to give one piece of advice…

    “Just because people are desperate, emotional and needy doesn’t mean you have to let them drain you in order to feel fulfilled. You’re going to meet someone who’s very much all of these things very shortly. Do not become good friends with her. Do NOT.”

  104. The advice I gave my 15 year old son was “suck the juice out of life!”

    My advice to myself would be “date more,” which come to think of it is the advice my sister gave me and I didn’t take, so I guess my advice would be “listen to your sister, you idiot, and DATE MORE!”

  105. “You know that thing that’s wrong with your little sister’s brain? You remember how these things have a huge genetic component? You know the days you wind up the end of it and you can’t think until you do something extreme to clear your head?

    These things are connected. Figure out this connection and begin the coping strategies NOW.”

    I would like to be able to tell myself not to make friends with those people, or fall in love with that girl, but unfortunately, despite how badly they wrecked me eventually, they also kept me alive for several years that otherwise would have looked very bleak, and the circumstances I was in, I can’t say that I could find anyone to replace them.

    Oh, also, “Your aunt is wrong. Don’t let her define your success parameters. It’ll save you panic attacks in eight years.”

  106. … So aparently I can’t read. If there was just one thing (and not four) things I could tell my 15 year old self: “Don’t break up with him after you’re done school. See where things go. You like him more than you’ll admit.”

  107. Stay away from girls named Elizabeth. Don’t even talk to them; just turn and walk away, as if from a live grenade. Which is what one of them will be. Also, be careful driving in December of 1991. In fact, don’t drive that month at all. Seriously.

  108. Find a book group or convention to discuss science fiction with other people. This is your community, they are nice, and won’t bite.

  109. In 5 years time you will be faced with the choice of rehearsing your undergraduate play or meeting Kurt Vonnegut. Seriously. It isn’t a question with multiple choice answers. Just one. Make the right one.

    Oh, and listen to that Otis Redding guy while you can, and take as your motto the words of that raucous Ms Joplin. Try just a little bit harder.

  110. “Guess what dude? You are smart enough to build a TIME MACHINE.

    And oh ya, there will be wild phenomenon in the future such as cell phones, Internet, and BaconCat.”

  111. Lee S. @112
    Good catch with my incorrect wording. I meant to convey that the 2008 presidential election would be the first that had a woman AND an African-American. Jesse Jackson and Sharpton were there before Obama. So how far did they get…..

    Actually I did try to talk to an Illinois congressman regarding the Viet Nam War, which is what turned me off regarding politics. The guy could not have been more of an ass.

  112. I know life is miserable right now and it doesn’t seem worthwhile, but start taking care of your back now. Really. So walk a lot, bicycle a lot, go swimming, and strengthen those muscles. Otherwise it will hurt like an absolute b—- in another 20 years. Also cut down on sugar. A whole passel of relatives will die of cancer in the next few decades, and cancer loves sugar.

    Why should you? Well, a few decades from now, your life’s gonna be pretty good: you’ll pretty much manage to stop the black dog from following you all over the place, you’ll have love and friends and work you mostly like, and interesting things to do. But if you take your health more seriously now you’ll be able to enjoy all those things much more.

  113. 12, 26, 27, 28, 29. Oh, and 24.

    It won’t do you any good for a long time, so write them down.

    Why? Because as much as my life has sucked from time to time, I *really* like where I am now, and I don’t want you to screw it up. Write them down and find some way to get the paper back when you’re thirty.

  114. Don’t put up with some guys bullshit just so you won’t be alone. You won’t be lonely without him but you will be miserable with him.

    (I did eventually learn that one. Just not until I was in my 30s.)

  115. “Since everyone else is using their time machine to buy Microsoft stock, empty your savings account and invest in Cisco. If you ignore my advice until it’s too late, invest in Google.”

  116. I was a big-time science fiction geek when I was 15. “The Terminator” was just a couple of years past. ST:TNG was doing time travel all the time. “Back to the Future” was out. My fifteen year-old self would’ve been too freaked out by the appearance of my thirty-five self to worry about anything I said. “You have to go back, before you f**k up the space-time continuum, you moron!”

    But seriously. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d say, “Be true to yourself. Don’t worry about what other people say or think, because your well-being is more important. Be honest with your parents. It might take them a while to come around, but they’re adults, they’ll understand, eventually.

  117. Get a meningococcal vaccination. If that doesn’t work, make the really smug doctor listen to the intern who says it’s meningitis on day one. Don’t let them wait until day eight to diagnose you. Or yanno, just go to another hospital and make them treat you.

  118. Idiot self [I’d say], do not drop out of high school. Swallow the bitter pill of humiliation, stay back a year if you have to, learn to discipline yourself, sweat blood if you have to, but do not drop out. The pain of that struggle is next to nothing compared to the consequences of quitting.

    And then I’d make damn sure that foolish 15-year-old stayed in school.

  119. There’s not much I could say that my 15-year-old self would understand (I’m 56 now). Maybe this: Write down all the stories your grandparents tell you about their early lives.

  120. 1. Tape record some conversations with G-ma; You will miss her laugh and voice so much some day that your heart will just ache at the thought.

    2. Everything works out great in the future; Buying a lot of Microsoft stock in the mid 80’s will help make the checkbook balance less of a worry… but if not… don’t worry you will still be ok.

    be well,

  121. 1. Brush your teeth every night and every morning. Floss as often as you can. Periodontal surgery is painful and expensive.

    2. Find exercise you like. Keep learning yoga. Stay the same weight you were in high school. Ignore what your mother and doctors say about it, do it for yourself; you can, you know.

    3. Don’t drop out of college in the middle of the semester because you’re bored and disgusted. Stay in school, go home, get Dad to buy you a car, any car, and take off after your birthday. Please. The rest of your life will be so much better.

    You will live a long time, much longer than you think you will. Take care of yourself. (As in, if I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.)

  122. I hate you for that question, Scalzi. Hate hate hate you.

    Given a time machine, there is *no way* I’d use it just for *that*. My plan has been to go back in time and *kidnap* myself shortly after birth and raise myself *properly*. (I wonder how many people replying to this also participated in your classic Poor thread. I think many of those people would have the same desire!) For one thing, I’d know *math*. Second, I’d be filthy rich *and* *not* an asshole because of it.

  123. 1: Don’t listen to that asshole in the trailer park when he says “You won’t get caught”.
    2: No matter how bad you think you have it, people elsewhere have it much worse.
    3: Procrastinating is the worst posssible thing you can do.

  124. Don’t go to college close to home just to stay with your girlfriend. There are plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of them are better than her. See as much of the world as you can while you’re young enough to appreciate it.

  125. Telling Grandma you’re gay won’t kill her – she’s going to die next year anyway. Tell her while you still have time, or you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting the distance you put between the two of you. She probably already knew anyway.

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