What I Looked Like at 20

Now you know.

This is me on the balcony of the offices of the Chicago Maroon in the Ida Noyes building at the University of Chicago in the summer of 1989. In the summer the newspaper did one weekly edition, so as editor-in-chief I had to stick around for it. The plant, incidentally, belonged to my girlfriend. She left it with me for the summer and I took a picture of it to prove I hadn’t killed it yet. The picture was taken by James Warden, who is now at it professionally. Go check out his site.

60 Comments on “What I Looked Like at 20”

  1. Good looking hair, man. That’s not a cheap shot — my own hair looked similar in my college days in the early 90s. Wish I had that much now.

  2. @cturkel: I’ll have you know that a mullet was a PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE HAIRSTYLE in the late 80s.

    And the fact I also rocked a mullet then has no bearing on my statement. Really.

  3. John’s recollection of the plant in the photograph is inaccurate. I, as the portraitist, insisted that the plant be included in the image. I knew that they were both young and small and the plant served as a visual symbol echoing John’s youth and inexperience.

    The plant is now 6 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds and so does John.

  4. last post: I was goofing
    this post: In all seriousness – if that looks like a mullet, it is the flaw of my photo. his hair was too long flowing and luxurious to be a mullet . . . really!

  5. In 1989 I had a 3 year old daughter. I wouldn’t trade her for the plant any day. :-) I also had shorter hair than I do right now. I cut it when she started to reach up and pull at it as a baby.

  6. Well, everyone was young and good looking once upon a time. However ….

    That’s why I told my kids as they were becoming adults that they shouldn’t look for a beautiful/handsome spouse. Looks are guaranteed to go bad, sooner than you think. Personality lasts.

  7. dude… I….. you….

    Also, I dont know what you were thinking but the potted plant is doing ASL for ‘ oh no, not again’.

    What did you do to that poor thing?

  8. The next time you’re in PDX, I’ll show you my college ID, and we can compare mullets.

  9. What a cutie! I’ve got a pic of myself at around 24; I look at it now and then and sigh heavily…

  10. Dear Krissy: *highfive* (Pls pass that along John, kthnx)

    (Also I look back at pictures from my twenties and think “damn, I was CUTE!” I had no idea at the time, sadly. Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young!)

  11. With no clues or dates, I’d have said that was Jerry O’Connell. You’ve posted your byline photo and some others from your Fresno days and I could look at those and say, “That’s John Scalzi.” This one not so much. Maybe it’s the angle or something.

    I didn’t know you played hockey in college/were East German/were an East German hockey player. Nice Vorkuhile.

  13. I spent a lot of time in Ida Noyes Hall, albeit in the basement at the grad student pub.

  14. Personally, I always held to the standard that if it was long enough to wear in a decent pony-tail, it wasn’t a mullet. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ with it.

  15. I never did have that look back then … my hair’s so wiry that I keep it as short as possible, to the point where it rarely even needs brushing (trying to comb it would guarantee destroying the comb).

    There’s (or was, haven’t checked in ages) a photo of me at one of my psoriasis-support groups accompanying an email interview the site operator had done with me, in which I was not only overdue for a trim, but my hair looked like I had my fingers in an electric socket.

    I’m currently at the other extreme, and look almost like a skinhead. The grand-kids, who probably spend more time here than at home, have been having problems with stubborn head lice, and my wife wisely decided that at least one of us should deprive them (the lice, not the kids) of a place to nest.

  16. Dawww, you were such a cutie!

    And that’s not a mullet, folks. A true mullet is an in-your-face kind of thing. You can’t ignore a mullet, no matter how you wish and pray to god that you could. That? That’s just like he said, he was too lazy to cut his hair, so he trimmed the sides and brushed it back.

    Just like Farrah Fawcett.

  17. Forget the hair. Forget the plant. What I want to know, having spent a little time in the area during the season, is what are you doing wearing long sleeves in Chicago in the summer?!

  18. Wow, the Midway looks different nowadays. Also, I know what I am naming my next cover band…John Scalzi’s Hair. Will there be any copyright problems with that?

  19. OMGoodness Brother…. You and Isaiah look VERY much alike. Crazy!!!! Especially with that look your giving….

  20. Wow, I’d date that guy. In a flash. Probably would have dated that guy when I was 20 myself (not that he would date ME in any scenario; I’m just saying).

    But I would cut his hair. Probably with electric clippers.

  21. You were just as cute as a button, weren’t you!

    But let’s be honest: a mullet by any other name, intentional or unintentional, is still a mullet. It’s ok – remember, it was actually stylish for a few seconds back in our mis-spent youth :)

  22. That is a picture of one fantastically suave bastard, who had no idea of the glories awaiting him. Unless past Scalzi had a time machine, which would decrease his ignorance of future Scalzi, and increase the already stratospheric suavity.

  23. DH, of course it’s a joke. That’s a spider plant, and if you remember to water them, they’re pretty hardy (unless you have cats around, in which case they get batted around, knocked over, and eaten down to stubs.) The marijuana plant’s behind him, just off the left side of the picture.

  24. Absolutely adorable, John!

    But I have to echo @eewhite85Eddie’s question… what the heck were you doing wearing a long-sleeved shirt? I still lived in Chicago back then. I remember that summer. That was the summer I gave birth to The Offspring. That was not a chilly summer (well, except in my apartment where my two roommates were at each others throats, but that’s another story).

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