Thursday, December 10, 2009


So there I was the other day, driving, and I heard on the radio station how Elton John wrote a letter to his teenage self for some UK book. The jock went on a little about it and I thought, "Huh, how interesting... What would I say to my teenaged self given the chance?"

After thinking about it a small while. This is what came out:


Dear lil' Ant:

Your parents are doing a pretty good job so I'm gonna concentrate on the shit they're not gonna tell you. Brace yourself because I'm going to be blunt.

Ok, so you're small. Can't change it. And stop wasting time with those fucking weight gainers. You're 120 pounds. How much fucking weight you think you're gonna gain? There will always be asshole bullies in your life. Don't feed into them. That's what they want. And sure, they may be the shit now, but trust me, in 20 years, you'll still have your hair and not look like you have an inner tube under your shirt like most of them. That's your revenge.

Booze, et al.
Don't dick around with it. Yet. There will be plenty of time and believe me, kid, you're gonna enjoy it when you can. For now, stick to sippin' those faggy wine coolers. That's all about you can take. As for smoking, we all know you watched your father smoke unfiltered Chesterfields and could mimic it perfectly, but you're allergic to them. Remember that. Fight the urge.

Speaking of which...

Nothing huge to divulge here. At some point, you're gonna get your heart ripped out like one of those characters in Mortal Kombat but life will go on and you'll be surprised how easy it'll be. You'll know lots of girls -- many of them friends. You're picky. Stay that way. Pay attention to these little cuties. Each one will teach you something you'll use almost daily.

The words.
I'll be honest, hopping a flight to the Left Coast to hob-knob at the studio commisary with writers and agents still ranks pretty high up there. But I'll save you some trouble. You're not gonna make movies. That said, however, you will carve out a pretty decent career in the news game. It'll be a long road. Shitty assignments. Totem pole stuff. But you like to write. Stick with it. It'll serve you well financially -- meaning you'll be able to live -- as well as satisfy that creative spark you've had since grade school. Cultivate your writerly senses. Watch people. Listen to what they say. It will come easy. The writing will be the actual hard part. Your ideas will never fail you. Trust yourself.

That catholic school you seem to hate right now will teach you many things. While you may not currently understand, it'll provide you with some pretty decent life skills. Like what? Well, being that there aren't any girls, it'll force you to grow a sack and talk to them on weekends at the roller rink. Plus, without the distraction of giggly teen chicks in class, you'll concentrate on building better friendships and how to value them. Perhaps most shallow, catholic school will teach you how to look good in a suit and not be afraid to wear a tie. Ok, so getting dressed up every day sorta sucks for you now, but there's gonna be a time where nice threads won't seem so bad. In fact, you're gonna like it. And you know what, kiddo? You're gonna be a clothes horse. And hey, between you and I, save those knit ties -- they'll be coming back.

Higher ed.
This one is tough. When it comes time for college, you're gonna be bribed to stay at home with a car. A pretty cool car, in fact. Resist the urge. The car is gonna die a slow death and it will cost you almost 10 grand in repairs through the years. Go away to school. You'll learn things that took this guy way too long to learn. Like laundry. While we're on the subject, ditch grad school. You're never going to use your graduate degree and pay for it long after your first child is born. Did I just freak you out? Good. There's gonna be plenty of those moments. Brace yourself. You'll do fine.

Most important, spend more time your your dad. You don't realize it now but he's seen alot. Ask him about The Depression. Chat about World War II. Talk to him about when he was your age. Believe me, if you don't have these conversations, you'll regret it -- like I do.

trust me.

--- Big Ant


  1. This is so insightful and creative. I'm blown away. Its as if I went back in time with you. I love how you called yourself Lil' Ant. Its an interesting view to look back at yourself and advise yourself as a young person.



  2. So often I'm tempted to write to my past and future selves, with my insights and ignorances, hoping to compare notes with a fictitious self, or to have a future self read it and figure it out. For whatever reason, I've never had to guts to write it all out. No sustainable urge. I'm glad you had such an urge. This is a fantastic view at yourself.

    (One note - it's "Mortal Kombat." Spell it with a 'c' and your younger self will totally look down on you. I'm just trying to help!)

  3. John: Thanks so much... You're right. I just felt Lil' Ant slap me upside my head...

  4. Absolutely, wonderfully creative and instructive. I would love to do something like this but I know L'il Paul wouldn't even read it...that's just the kind of kid he is!!!
    Fantastic job, Anthony!!

  5. The voice in this was so strong, I could hear you talking as if I were listening to one of your podcasts. Very honest and insightful and I loved the choices you made in your advice.

  6. excellent. very observant and avuncular. Like the old do btw, a classic.

  7. I love your voice in this piece - I almost felt like I was a friend standing next to your teenage self listening to your dad ramble on, and though I may have rolled my eyes and twirled my hair, the words were sinking into some basement that ten years down the road, would emerge like a flaming phoenix of insight.
    Nicely done!

  8. How TIME TRAVELER'S ANT this was to peek in on. And you done so wondrously well with: "Cultivate your writerly senses. Watch people. Listen to what they say. It will come easy. . . . Your ideas will never fail you. Trust yourself."

    You do come across with all the TRUST you endowed your earlier self in, BigAnt ... including the dressin' smart advice and the learning from the dames you come across ... That all said ... one thing wrong, prediction'wise speaking ~ I DO see you with a screenplay, makin' more of the movie scene than just sharing great celluloid faves wit' those in the know.

    (Yeah, I was near Erin, likewise twirlin' long tresses ... We both saw you makin' BigTime -- for you live inside yourself so well, and then reach the world.) Damn great posting concept. ~ Absolutely*Kate

  9. That was an awesome read, totally changed my Monday morning, love it!


  10. Loved this. Did exactly what it was supposed to do in fine style. Gave an assignment to students (more than one group) to write to their future selves, and the difference between hopeful and experienced is now super clear. Terrific piece.


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