Advice to a 14th Grade Nothing

Advice to a 14th Grade Nothing

Here I am at the end of the bar.  You see me staring at you.  I’m alone.  I have a Jay Cutler look on my face (although you don’t know who Jay Cutler is, do you?) I have that smug look because I was just served rail scotch in a plastic cup.  I didn’t like this grunge shit twenty years ago– but having to relive it tonight, is hitting my last nerve.  I can’t go to the bathroom– I’ll stick to the floor peeing in that trough.  I’m also a little pissed with all the cigarette smoke in here.  My hair is going to smell like smoke when I go to sleep tonight. My wife is going to kill me.

It’s 9:00pm on a Wednesday and you’re at Kam’s.  How predictable.  You’re likely listening to bad music, drinking Keystone Light out of a plastic cup (again) preparing to take a lap, which will entail you wearing that “too cool for school” look (ironically, the same Jay Cutleresque look I’m wearing) you try to pull off in an attempt to make people think you don’t care if they notice you, when you only want to be stopped, pulled into a conversation and be made to feel important.  If nothing else, people should notice you because of that damned teal cardigan that you’re wearing again.

We make eye contact as you pass on your lap.  You give me a double take– because I look familiar to you.  You’ve seen me somewhere before, but from where, you’re not certain.

So I go for it.

“Excuse me,” I say.

“What up,” you say back.

I should tell you to take off that damned cardigan, but instead I order us a round of Yagermeister and suggest we walk a block to the Quad and have a little chat.  You give me a sideways look and start to walk away, so I take out my identification and ask you to look at it.  Strange.  It says your name with a Chicago street address with the issue date of 2011.  2011?!!??

I tell you to relax.  I explain that my buddy, Jimmy Greenfield gave me access to a time machine and instead of meeting Jesus Christ or Abraham Lincoln or Cleopatra, I decided to go back in time and visit me/you to give me/you a piece of advice.

With that, we take our leave of Kam’s and take a new lap, this time around the Quad, starting at Lincoln Hall.

I only have two pieces of advice: 1. ENJOY YOURSELF.  2. TAKE MORE CHANCES.

You look at me like I’m the asshole, which considering I’m you, makes you the asshole.

“You just pulled me out of a bar on a Wednesday night to tell me to enjoy myself?  Really?”

Here’s the thing.  You have your whole life in front of you and you feel pretty indestructible now.  But you will be defeated.  Your parents will divorce.  You will endure heartache.  Your kidney will go into failure and your body will give out on you when it does.  You’ll be 32 years old and you’ll feel 80.

But you will always keep your positive attitude.  Always keep that with you.  Because after 20 years Brian, it will all be worth it.  You’ll be married to what may be the only woman who can somewhat tolerate you, you’ll have two beautiful children, a son who is a mirror image and your daughter, who although she looks like you, really is so much sweeter.  In short, you’ll be happy, personally and professionally.

But to get there, you will fail.  And fail again and again.  You just have to keep getting up, dusting yourself off and moving forward.  Yes, it sucks as you pull yourself up off the ground again, but you’ll get moving again and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake again.

But life is short.  ENJOY IT.  You can’t leave it with regrets.  Even when you don’t feel like it, force yourself to smile.  You’ll find that people around you will smile back.

Secondly: TAKE MORE CHANCES.  I know, you really are pretty conservative, but you are not going to be the person you want to be unless you go for it.  Sitting on the couch and dreaming about what you want to be isn’t going to make it happen. Get off the couch and do it.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  You fail.  So then you get back up and do it again.  You only lose when you stop getting back up.

So basically, live your life the way you’ve been living it.  Because I can honestly say that at 40 years old, you’ll find yourself in the position you now dream of being in, sans Halle Berry.  Although, ironically, your wife does know you have a framed picture of Halle in your nightstand underwear drawer.  Absolutely freaking weird.  But that is just what makes you, you.

So as I drop you off back at the front door of Kam’s, home of the Drinking Illini, I’ll give you one more piece of advice: Find $10,000.00 and put it all into Microsoft.  You won’t be sorry.

Filed under: Change of Pace


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  • Hey fellow Illini, great post!

  • Thanks for this Brian. It's been really interesting to read the advice everyone gives to their younger selves.

  • Hey, BT. I stop through and read your blog from time to time. Needed this. Thanks!

  • In reply to WQueen:

    Thanks Whit. I have to make time to write. Being busy at the office is a good thing/bad thing.

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