Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Of Clove and Garlic Muffins



Prompt: (A Letter to my ten year old self)

Dear Ron,

(You like Ronnie now but trust me, you'll hate it later)

Take a moment and ponder how you feel about things, how everyone seems to be out to hurt you, how life is just one disappointment after another. Think about how mad it makes you when your shoelaces come untied, or it rains just as you leave the house to play. Question whether any of your friends actually care about you, or if they only want your company to fill their own emptiness, to plug a hole in the outfield, or to reach the cooking vermouth on the top shelf of mom’s kitchen cupboard so they can pretend they’re drinking cocktails.

Please! Put down the penis and step away from the Playboy! This is serious!

I submit that how you feel today about life, love, peanut butter, property taxes and dentistry, is exactly how you will feel 43 years from now. You will never leave the emotionally stunted plane you are standing on, you will always be overemotional, a loose canon, suspicious of strangers, incapable of joy and ponderous to the point of paralyzation. Unless of course, you listen up.

Sit up straight for God’s sake, you don’t have to hunch to make yourself look smaller and less scary! You’re big. Live with it. And stop wearing those vests to cover up the fact that you have a spare tire! You’re not fooling anyone, although they are kinda stylish.

Ok, here’s the deal. You know your fourth grade teacher? The one that called in your parents when you misspelled one word of a hundred while the rest of the class misspelled 20 or more? Remember how she said “Yes Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie, your son is very bright. But he’s just not living up to his potential, he could be so much more.”? Well, forget her pal, she’s a moron. She’s just jealous that you can spell better than she can, and that you probably belong in eighth grade because there’s nothing in that condescending brain of hers that you don’t already know. There. Fixed! Now….

Chuck Konold is going to make you very, very angry one day. Do NOT make him mad. Just forget about it; or buy spokes for your bike wheel right now and stuff your nose full of tissue because he’s going to crush your bike and your nose in one ninja style swoop.

Helen Swartout? Yes, yes, she’s very cute and will fill out very nicely as you suspect. Forget about it bud, you’re not her type. She likes the guys that go around threatening to kick the asses of boys like you. Save yourself a lot of heartache and fall in love with electric guitars or medieval basket weaving. Trust me, girls are overrated! I realize that sounds silly now, but believe me or suffer inestimable torture for many years to come. And that means don’t kiss the newspaper you deliver to the Johnson household either. Susan doesn’t read the paper, she doesn’t touch it, she doesn’t see you as human and she won’t care if you are run over by a bus tomorrow. Stop pining and start a worthwhile hobby, like collecting insider information from the stock market.

When Sister Mary Alice asks the class to recite a list of funny words and their definitions, do NOT start your list with “teat”. Your knuckles will thank me.

I know the school lunch chow mien is like the greatest food substance ever. Stop eating two plates of it every day it’s served or start designing training wheels for your belly. And that reminds me, mixing bowls are for mixing! Not for breakfast cereal!

I know, I know; you’ve been called by God to become a priest and when Father Chris comes to school you’ll want to be the first in line to volunteer for the seminary. Here’s how it’ll work. By the time you’re thrown out of the order you’ll have been stripped of your pride, your self worth and your faith. You will NOT become the first American pope as your gramma wants; instead for the rest of your miserable life you will wander from theology to theology, pondering all, selecting none until one day the entire universe of religion will seep out of your soul (along with all the non black material) like escape driven spaghetti from a colander. So think before you leap. Maybe God’s just kidding! Maybe He’s calling you to be a plant microbiologist and it just sounded like “priest” cuz you’d been swimming and still had water in your ears!

In spite of how obvious it will be that high school is a prison, of how easily you’ll be able to skate through it, of how incredibly lonely you’ll feel while you’re within it’s moldy walls, it IS important, you SHOULD stay long enough to graduate, and you should never, never walk into the vice principal’s office in biker regalia, drunk, stinking of keg beer and shouting obscenities until he calls the cops. It will seem like a lot of fun. It’s just silly and you’ll regret it…. you’ll giggle when you remember it, but a moment later you’ll be sad.

No drugs please. Yes, all your friends will be doing them. Yes, you could be famous among them for being able to take more drugs without dying than any of your peers. Absolutely, your having memorized 60% of the Physicians Desk Reference would be a thing of genius. Sure, you could impress people by keeping a list of all the substances you’ve ingested, and their quantities, along with their chemical compositions and their Latin names. These are not the people you want to impress. These are the people that will eventually fill the jails and trailer parks. Concentrate on impressing Dana Soroko instead; he’ll be the president of an engineering firm one day and you’ll need a job!

When you reach the age of 18, beg your doctor for a prescription for serotonin uptake inhibitors. It will save you a lot of embarrassment caused by screaming at strangers because they happen to be within range of your aura. Yes boy, you are loopy. Get used to it. Some days it will be very entertaining. Other days… well let’s just say your mouth is not a pistol barrel repository; it’s for chips and soda pop. If you ignore me and decide to end it all anyway, for God’s sake do it this time.

You are not to blame for your mom, your dad, your brother or for Barb the Incorrigible. Shit happens, you will blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life if given half a chance. Take the other half and save us a lifelong pity party.

Don’t marry Anita. JESUS! What are you thinking!!!!!!

Go ahead and marry Marie even though she’ll eventually dump you like a lint encrusted clove and garlic muffin. Everyone needs someone to mourn, and you’ll have infinite story fodder for later.

And when you get there, cherish a woman named Linda. It’s true, by then you won’t be able to love unconditionally, you will probably never again trust anyone completely. Give her everything you have, as often as you can, for as long as you are alive. More than anyone you’ll meet by that moment in your life, she will deserve whatever it is that’s good about you, and every gift you have to offer.

Oh, and finally, try to avoid school pictures if you can, especially this year. But if you’re forced to participate, grab a Kleenex, there’s a booger in your nose. How do I know? Let’s just say I’ve seen the proof.

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