I couldn’t believe the size of the older me. He only stood about four inches taller, but his body looked huge. I just stared. I finally asked if him if he would take off his shirt, and with a sigh, he did.
I ran my fingers over his chest. I couldn’t believe I would eventually have his body. I asked him how he got so ripped. He explained that I needed to start working out with weights every other day and begin running the days that I didn’t lift. I said that sounded like a lot of work.
“I don’t care how much work it is. Don’t be such a lazy shit. And don’t quit Karate either because when you get to college you join their karate club. You’ll win all kinds of medals in tournaments, which looks great on our C.V. Stay in shape, and try not to fuck up our body.”
I asked him if all the exercising would interfere with my studies.
“No, not as long as you realize that you won’t really be able to do any extra curricular activities in high school.”
I didn’t like that idea. I told him I wanted to be on the year book staff and on the student council. Loads of hot girls participated in both, but I didn’t tell him that.
“I don’t care. Do both if you want. I didn’t, but if you want to join, I’m not against the idea. But let’s get one thing clear: make sure you’re joining for the experience and not any other reason. I don’t want you participating just because you like some fucking girl.”
He was good.
“Let me tell you something. the only thing girls do is hold you back. When I was in high school, I went steady with a girl for two years.”
I asked him if he had sex with her.
He sighed and seemed annoyed. “Yeah, I did, and that was the problem. Look, I fell in love with this girl and spend a lot of time with her.”
I thought that sounded cool. I told him so.
“No it’s not cool. Because I eventually had to break up with her to go to college, which was hard enough, but then I found out that while I had been wasting my time with a girl every day after high school, I could have been getting my basics out of the way at a community college. Had I done that, by the time I entered the university I would have been way ahead of the curve.”
He seemed lost in thought for a moment. Then he looked back at me. “If it hadn’t been for that bitch I coulda graduated from undergrad in half the time.”
I didn’t like where this was going. This guy scared me a little bit.
“Look, don’t test me on this.” He pointed at my face. I knew I shouldn’t be afraid of myself, but I kinda was. “Just go on a couple dates with one girl, dump her, and then go out with another girl. But don’t go on more than three dates with the same girl, and for fuck’s sake, don’t fall in love with them.” He stepped a little closer to me. “And do-not-fuck-anyone. I’ll know if you do.”
I felt as if he was ripping me off. He got to do all kinds of cool shit that I wanted to do. Seemed unfair. I told him so, and he seemed to soften a bit.
“Look, I don’t want you getting side-tracked like I did. You should double major in college, and it will be really helpful if you focused on school work before you get to university. I didn’t, and I should have.”
I asked him where I should apply to college. I told him I didn’t think I could get into the university he suggested.
“Yeah, you can. And truthfully, you could probably get into a better school, but that one is fairly well-regarded, and they have an excellent pre-law program. You’ll eventually apply to their law school, which is ranked much higher than their undergraduate school, anyways. Plus, I don’t want you to miss out on their karate program.”
I asked him what the other subject was that he thought I should major in.
“Something that makes you read a lot. Subject doesn’t matter so much. Literature. Journalism. Poly-Sci would be good since you’re going into law.”
I told him I liked literature.
“Yeah, I know, and honestly, it’s probably best if you avoid lit. I don’t want you to forget that law school will help you achieve our goals.”
I asked him what my goals were.
“To make lots and lots of money.” Then he laughed. I felt like I should laugh with him.
I asked him if we join a frat, or if we do anything cool while we were in college like in movies we had seen.
“Get all that Animal House Van Wilder crap outta your head. In fact, don’t even think about going out, or drinking with a group of guys, or any of that dumb shit. Truthfully, guys at college are just like the shiftless losers in high school. Just study…nothing else, okay?”
I said okay, but I really didn’t agree. I figured he knew best, though.
When it was time for him to go he hugged me and told me happy birthday. I told him happy birthday, too.
After he left, I got found the few notes I had made and visited my ten year old self. I tried to duplicate the meeting as closely as I remembered it.
The following years were a bit lonely, but I got a hell of a lot done. I did like I told myself, and I didn’t bother with the usual high school stuff. I didn’t date, and I began to amplify my workout schedule. I found that I liked lifting weights, but I was especially fond of running. I became worried that I wasn’t lifting as intensely as I would have wanted, so my sophomore year I signed up for the weightlifting elective.
I learned an incredible amount about fitness and physiology during the semester of weightlifting, but more than that, I found that simply being around a group of people stimulated me. I did have to consciously restrain myself from allowing the clique of guys to assimilate me as one of their own. I knew the older me wouldn’t have approved of diversionary relationships, so I declined an offer to join their competitive weightlifting team, and I began to concentrate more on running.
My junior year in high school I signed up for night classes at a junior college in the next town. My days were scheduled quite rigidly. Study, study, train, train, study study. Sleep and repeat. My parents encouraged me to take my time and enjoy high school, but I knew what I needed to do.
I avoided dating altogether. From the way my classmates acted I was sure that I had made the correct decision. It seemed to me that their days were filled with mindless gossip and drama, and frankly, I felt quite sure their “relationships” held them back.
The only time I ever had any problems was during my senior year. My mother said I needed to go to my prom. I told her no. She began to cry a little, and she told me that I was wasting the best years of my life by working too hard. I told her I worked hard so that I would be able to enjoy life later on.
She stared at me with confused tears in her eyes and told me I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. She had never swore at me before. I didin’t like it. I asked her if she expected me to foolishly squander vaulable time pursuing sex and alcohol. She said I was a fool if I truly believed that’s what she wanted me to do. She told me she just wanted me to enjoy being a kid.
I explained I was a goddamn kid. I was a kid that knew what it took to be successful, and I felt ashamed to have parents who didn’t know what it took and who wanted to hold me back. My father stopped the fight. He told me to just shut my mouth and go to my room.
Although I couldn’t make out what they were saying, I could hear them arguing all night. I had to put on headphones so I could drown out words like “obsessive,” “compulsive,” “narcissistic,” and “emotionally distant.”
I chose the university the older me had recommended, and since I scored so high on my SATs, I had no problem getting accepted. The university expected me to live my first two years in a dorm, which I felt extremely nervous about. I knew the odds of the university pairing me with an individual as studious as myself were slim, to say the least. As I feared, the fellow the university forced me to room with was something of a dummy, but I needn’t have worried. Between the hours I spent at the library and the karate club and the hours he spent wasting away with women and alcohol, there were very few occasions in which we clashed.
The few times we did exchange words, I made it abundantly clear that I was not the type of person to stand idly by and waste words on a moron that wouldn’t understand them. I told him that I since I was intellectually unable to express myself simply enough for him to understand, I would simply pound my replies into his face. Sadly, he never tested me on this.
On my twentieth birthday, I made sure that I woke up early to see myself turn fifteen. I had meticulously written down everything I had told myself that year. I studied it quite judiciously before I left. When I returned, my dorm room was empty. I had expected my twenty-five year old counter-part to be waiting for me. He finally showed up several hours later.