An open letter to Richie (aged 18)

Hi Richie. Oh, you don’t go by that yet, do you? I’m sorry, I’ll call you Richard. Hey, at least it’s better than Screech, huh? I know you think you’re pretty hot shit right now. You’re at university, you have a job but you still live with your parents so you have a bit of disposable income, you’re old enough to drink, and you’re doing a lot of it. I’m you, at age almost-30. Frankly, I’m here to tell you that you’re not really all that.

As someone who has lived with your life choices for around the last twelve years, I just wanna let you know what you’ve got right, and where you are going totally wrong. I know you’re not going to take my advice, shit, I wouldn’t when I was your age (you’ll read up about the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle a few years down the track and get an intellectual hardon about this as well), but it doesn’t hurt to try.

For simplicity, I’m bullet pointing this. We don’t want to read a novel about your life.

  • You’re drinking a lot of shit booze. I don’t mind, I still drink a lot, but you really need to remember that quality matters a lot more than quantity. You’re going to regret downing that box of Woodstock Bourbon and Colas in the morning; The only thing to regret about spending the same cash on a rigger of decent beer is that there isn’t more of it. Yes, you’re not saving any money, and yes, you’re not getting as drunk at parties, but if you can learn to stop using alcohol as a crutch in social situations at this stage in your life, you’ll do much better. The sooner you stop drinking to get drunk, and start drinking to enjoy it (with the positive side effect of getting drunk), the happier you’ll be.
  • With that said, the time you got two dozen Quick Fucks at MonkeyFeather for $30 was totally awesome.
  • But the time you got so drunk you vomited all down the front of yourself at MonkeyFeather while sitting next to the girl that you were dating at that point, was not, so maybe learn to take it easy.
  • Speaking of dating, taking a girl to the McCafe that you work at is not an awesome date. There are good cafes and restaurants in your city, get out of the fucking house and go to some of them some time.
  • Make sure you check who you’re texting, and make sure you know that a girl is actually attracted to you, rather than just giving you the time of day, before you text your friends about how you have a new girlfriend. The time you SMSed your friend about how the girl you met in your class was totally into you, but you actually sent it to her, is going to be reaaaaaaaally fucking embarrassing.
  • And while you’re at it, learn that women aren’t just there for your sexual gratification. There is no such thing as the friendzone, as you will say yourself in a few years. Basically, read that, and get over yourself.
  • Pay more attention at university. Dragging out your degree for an extra year and a half is really expensive, and a massive waste of time. You’re not going to be able to coast on what you learn by osmosis anymore, you need to put a little work in. You’ve got the brains, put them to the test now, rather than failing a bunch of classes and wasting a couple of years of your life to learn the lesson.
  • While you’re at it, you need to start thinking of what you’re actually putting the work in for. Start playing the game. Sure, getting work experience means less time drinking and playing video games, but the last thing you want to do is spend 26 grand to end up working at a McDonald’s, and then in a call centre (believe me, I know). The graduates who get the jobs are going to be the ones who either have plenty of experience, or are able to charm their way in. We both know that you don’t have a lot of charm.
  • You are going to get into a lot of really diverse music. Start practicing for the day when heavy metal isn’t as important to you, and stop saying that hip hop sucks. Soon enough you’ll be eating those words.
  • While we’re talking about music, Tool isn’t really that good. It’s a whole bunch of spiritualist bullshit set to wanky melodies. It’s not a way to live your life
  • You’ll go through a few different styles over the next few years. Remember to be true to yourself, and not just do things because that’s what your friends are doing. It’s all about what you think is cool, not who.
  • But then again, this was a pretty awesome style right here:10498148_10154257860205004_7721345978211198876_o
  • Start reading books and articles about feminism and human rights. Start off with some bell hooks. The sooner you start to learn that you’re getting an easy ride because of the circumstances of your birth, the better a person you’ll be. Start fighting for the rights of others.
  • But don’t let others make you feel bad for who you are. Accept the negatives about yourself, try to better yourself to make the world better, but don’t change yourself or apologise for being yourself. You’re never going to be liked by everyone, and it’s not worth trying. If someone has a problem with you, let them come to you and explain it, rather than feeling bad about it.
  • Call out the bullshit that religion causes in the world, but leave people alone for simply having beliefs. They are no more ignorant than you are. You are not some special fucking snowflake just because you understand that the universe started with a singularity.

That’s about it for now. I have a day job to wake up for in the morning. Yes, you have that to look forward to.

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