John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Snagged From Spiked Punch

Normally I don't engage in these exercises, but this time, I think I shall.

Here it is: you have been given an opportunity to write yourself a letter. This letter will be sent back in time to your past self at any point in your life. In sending this letter, you must adhere to the following:

- Only your past self will be able to see the letter. No one else.
- You cannot include objects in with the transfer of the letter. The only thing in the envelope will be the letter.
- You can only write one letter, and that letter will only be delivered to yourself at one point in your past.
- The delivery of the letter will be very inconspicuous. Your past self will simply turn around and see it lying there with the words "To __" written on the front.

The concept of writing a letter to yourself raises all sorts of questions, including:

- Even with this opportunity, would you write a letter to yourself?
- What would you say? Would it be intensely personal, even if your past self wouldn't understand what you were saying?
- How much would you tell of the future. Would you tell yourself about September 11, or not to invest in Enron? Would this risk altering the time stream?
- At which point in your life would you send this letter to? How much good/bad would it do?

To: The Gneech
Rhodes Hall, VCU
September, 1986

From: The Gneech
Reston, VA
December, 2003

Okay. You're away from home, finally. Welcome to college, and your life. I've got a few important things for you to keep your eye on as things move forward:

First: Everything you know is wrong.

Your parents, while theoretically at least intending nothing but the best for you, have really done a number on your psyche. I want you to think very carefully about this: You listen to what they tell you, you think about what they say ... but if they had a single clue, would they be living the lives they are? They're not exactly what I would call happy, fulfilled people.

You know what I'm talking about: the clothes. The attitudes. The fundamental paradoxes that make you stop and think, "Say WHAT?" It's not your imagination, man: they're screwed up. And they've screwed you up, too. You're going to spend most of the next decade getting over this, so you'd better get started.

So your best bet is to ask their advice, and then do the exact opposite of what they tell you.

Get up to speed on hygiene, exercise, and social habits sooner rather than later. There will come a time soon when you'll want -- nay need that social life you've been avoiding since you were five years old. You've got a lot of dumb mistakes to make before you know what you're doing, and college is the place to make 'em. Go to it.

Very important: Do not let yourself become a victim of this! There will be a lot of temptation to cry about what your parents have done to you, or to use it as an apology for things, but try not to. You are in control now, not your past.

While I'm thinking of exercise, this is important. Pick a sport at school and go after it with passion. It doesn't matter what it is, so much, although martial arts is my recommendation. Find something the school has a team in, and do your damnedest to get on it and compete. You need to get out there and learn to face challenges, instead of avoiding them the way you habitually do now. And you know how you're not happy with your weight now? It's going to get worse. Fast. Now's the time to fix it.

Oh, those philosophy courses you're thinking of taking? Forget it. They're a waste of time. Take the critical thinking and rhetoric courses, skip the rest. I know, you like to smugly quote Nietsche and the like, but you'd be amazed how quickly that stops impressing people -- including yourself. Instead, take advantage of the time to get into the illustration courses. Your cartooning is very promising, but by 2003 you'll be wishing you were more accomplished artistically.

Do pursue the English ... that will give you everything the philosophy would, without all the useless chaff to sift through. If you combine the English with some real artistic training, your cartooning will be a force to be reckoned with. And keep writing! Don't stop that for anything.

What else? Hmm.

Don't bother with programming courses; you'll never use any of those languages. But do try to get involved with the Unix geeks.

Extremely private paragraph snipped.

I think that covers the important stuff. One last item: I regret to say that Uncle Kenny won't be around much longer. Get as much of him as you can, now that you're finally starting to appreciate him.

Yourself From the Future,

-The Gneech

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