To 14 Year Old Me…

You guys, I wish this was a post that was going to deliver laughs by the bucket load.  I wish this was a post that would bump everyone up a few levels on the happiness scale without having to first take a dip… believe me, I do.  BECAUSE OF THAT, I will end this with one of the most adorable puppies you have ever seen and I promise that I will build from where this starts so that you never dip too low… I just ask that you trust me and take that first step.

14 year old Justin.  He was a piece of work.  TOTALLY socially awkward and with the WORST luck ever (even to the point of being “Bad Luck Brian”).

funeral erection

That was basically me as a meme when I was 14.  A decade later and ya never know… there are some pretty hot cadavers out there….

But I digress.  14 year old me.  Wow….

See, up until I was about 12, I was the luckiest dude on earth.  I had this group of friends who were all a good 3-5 years older than me.  They knew me (sometimes better than I knew myself) and despite whatever beliefs they had, they loved me.  Laura, Dan, Tony, Josh… those four…. Nobody in the world could have ever asked for better friends.  And here I was at 14 – 2 years later.  I was in a different city and playing the ever so familiar “I don’t need anybody/I’m gonna do this on my own” angsty teenager game.

And they stood by and let me go.  They let me be this idiot kid who had to do what he was gonna do because they knew what I would go through and they knew I would come out the other side.  I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that.

Hell, I was in 8th grade and I remember having a talk with Laura about being gay.  It would take me 6 more years to admit it (and then another 6 to confuse the hell out of what I really am) and still that night… I was so close back then and it was a casual, two sentence exchange of a side conversation…

Anyhow, all of this reflection is brought about because I read an article on ESPN today.  It was a “letter to my 14 year old self” or something or some sort.  Aaron Rogers wanted his younger self to not dive for a ball in a pick up game of basketball.  Andy Murray wanted his younger self to appreciate the feel of the racket, the bounce of the ball, and the pace of his heart.  And then… Robbie Rogers… Robbie wanted himself to know that he was not going to be alone.

And, being the sometimes sappy and emotional sort that I can be, I suddenly realized what I failed to see back then.  I wasn’t alone.  I may have had to be on my own for a while but I was never alone.  In my awkwardness, in my occasional suaveness, and in my killer dance moves (because SHOW CHOIR!), I was never truly alone.

And so I started thinking of what I would say to that gawky, 14 year old boy, who had no idea how to put an outfit together, let alone how to make it through a day without herp-derping something insanely awkward and maybe even tripping up a flight of stairs.  I came upon a nightly ritual wherein I remember I would clutch onto my pillow and have an inner discourse about the existence of God combined with prayer to change me back to straight.

Ladies' man?  Derpapottamus?  You pick...

Ladies’ man? Derpapottamus? You pick…

There’s nothing I could say to him that would keep his future – my present – what it is now.  I couldn’t tell him that I’d discover what it means to feel “Love” through the pain of heartbreak.  I couldn’t tell him that his classmates already know.  I couldn’t even tell him of the Seattle Sounders, the Emerald City Supporters, the USMNT, Tanya, Ryan, Brady, Eric, Nick… All I could tell him would be a simple “Stay the course.”

And so when all the eloquence of words fails me, that is what I come to.  If I were given the chance to talk to my 14 year old self and help him rest easier at night, that’s all I could say.  “Stay the course.”

Upon a decade’s reflection, I can’t even begin to quantify the things I have discovered about myself and the people I hold dear.  I’ve gone from dreamer to musician to wannabe lawyer and then back to musician before finally swinging around to writer.  I’ve been a boyfriend, a best friend, and I’ve even managed to grow from the mistakes I’ve made.  And all of that, I had to do on my own.  And a part of me wonders if that’s what Laura may have seen a glimpse of on that night so long ago…

And so here I am, thinking back upon the last decade of my life and what I would say to that boy who tried so hard to hide and would wait another ten years to figure out who he truly is – beyond just a word.  I look around to the friends I’ve made and the friends who have been there all along and realize just how blessed I have been.  I have music, soccer, writing, movies, and even the occasional heart to heart all wrapped up into 24 hour doses that repeat every single day… That is what 14 year old me has to look forward to.

So what would I say and how would I say it to him?  Well… despite the fact that I no longer play an instrument, this is my corps.  This is the corps I auditioned for and this is the piece of music that made me truly fall in love with music and performing.  There will never be another feeling in my life like running through this piece with them in the arc… and it says all it needs to.  14 year old me would listen and he would begin a journey of understanding that even a decade later, he is still unraveling…

“…But the fighter still remains…”

And oh what he’ll find.

He’ll find a brother…

541231_4371841492280_897907868_n

He’ll find a family…

972267_10200935913658159_2056119096_n

He’ll find something he loves…

550818_4405317049148_711565256_n

“Are you Tanya? We’ve heard you’re kinda awesome…”

And he’ll even find people who won’t even realize the impact they truly make on him…

1012316_10200932165964469_1263865945_n

So why spoil all of that?  What else could I say to keep him going yet not reveal all the wonders and surprises to come?

 

“…Oh lord I wanna be in that number, when the Yanks go marching in…”

KC Outlaws Section

Phew… we make it through that okay?  Everyone still here?  Good.  Here’s a puppy.

happy puppy

Until next time.

See you, Space Cowboys.

Advertisements

Precipices

I’ve got this chair.  It’s a recliner (that I “mistakenly” keep referring to as a “rocking chair…”  What?  It rocks.  It is therefor a “rocking chair.”  Don’t get all “Nope Nope!” on me about this) and it has a rather nice view of the quaint residential street out my window.  It’s possibly my favorite place to start my day off.  Great view, comfy chair… and, for whatever reason, it feels like the most “secure” form of “personal space” I have.  To say I love this chair  and where it is in my living room is an understatement.  In full disclosure (and because my Mother happens to know that this chair was pinched from the corner on move-out day this past August), it will not be making the move with me to Los Angeles when the time comes.  But for right now, it’s my favorite place in the world.

I’m sitting in it, blaring REO Speedwagon’s “Roll with the Changes” through my headphones, playing Archer on the TV, and glancing out at the fog – illuminated by the soft and rosy/golden glow of the street lamps – that completely conceals the ground just one story below me… and I’m finally able to sit back and say what I’ve worked for three years to say: I.  AM.  OFFICIALLY.  A.  FUCKING.  SCREENWRITER!

Cue: VICTORY DANCE!

For a little over a year, I’ve been working with a good friend of mine on developing and writing a pilot/series and I was finally given the OKAY to post about it.  So I jumped on that shit like a zombie dog in uh…. zombie heat?  (I’ll let you enjoy that image in your head… too scared to type it into Google…)

The weird thing about all of this is that it’s been about 3 years in the making and I’m now, finally, at the starting line.  When I started teaching myself how to write screenplay format (and subsequently devoting a great deal of self-restraint to NOT putting my own eyes out due to frustration), I used to imagine this moment as the whole “Nick Saban, you just won ANOTHER National Title with Alabama, how do you feel?” type moment.  That’s not exactly right, though.  It’s a bit more like training for a marathon.

I’ve wanted an excuse to use this meme for SO FREAKING LONG.

The beauty of it all is that this is not a destination.  It’s not a “well, now what do I do next?  Do I try and repeat everything?”  I can honestly say that getting to this moment has been what the past three years of my life have been about… which is fitting as I have this thing about sets of 3.  If this is what the last three years have been building to, I’m beyond stoked for the next few sets of 3.

But after all the excitement, it’s fitting that things are starting to pick up/go public around a day devoted to giving thanks.  There’re plenty of people in my life who inspire me and plenty of people who believe in me (even when I falter in believing in myself).  Family, friends, and even heroes (small “breaking the fourth wall” moment… Holden read my last post and tweeted me about it… no joke… SO AWESOME, YOU GUYS/GALS!)… y’all have kept me going and I’m so thankful for that.

And I’m thankful for my chair.  There’s no place I’d rather be right now than sitting in this chair – my safe place – and actually getting to take a quick breather to look back at the unbelievable amount of support and love I’ve been shown… with my Hawkeye blanket my mom made for me (that’s quickly become my “almost adult safety blanket”… don’t you judge me!).  I’m ever so grateful and I just hope…..

… I hope that you’ll laugh.  I hope you’ll cry.  I hope that you’ll be entertained.  And, in the end, I hope I can give back and give to others what you’ve all given me.  Thank you so very, very much.

From me in my chair to you in yours, thank you!

– JP

See you, Space Cowboys!

Holden Onto Happiness

Happiness breeds more happiness.  Yes, it’s cliché and yes, it doesn’t help those who aren’t happy.

I found this trick back when I was still dealing with my breakup and it’s been one of the single easiest ways to snap myself into a good mood.  I knew I’d walk by a place he’d said he liked to buy clothes every day when I’d be on my way to work.  So simply enough, I made it a point to GENUINELY SMILE every time I walked by.  It started by blaring whatever music I could find on my iPod to set a mood of happiness and it permeated out from there to the point that I have realized just how much I smile whenever I’m out and about now.  I’m pretty sure he’s never seen that… and that’s okay.  See, it wasn’t really so much an “I’m so much happier without you, you piece of whatever” as it was “if I smile, I’ll be happy because smiling means I’m happy.”

I HAZ SMILE!

What got weird about that whole thing was when I started to realize that I was smiling because I was actually happy.  That bled into more and more of my life and pretty soon… it’s turned into me being a beaming and giddy nerd.  We’re all entitled to our own opinions but in my experience, the “beaming and giddy” variety are the best type of nerds.

None of this is to say that I still don’t have my ups and downs… but I’m glad to feel a paradigm shift toward optimism in my personality.  I’ve also rediscovered punk-rock bands that I used to love when I was in HS (basically: music that represented the last time I felt carefree) and gotten tickled at the simple prospect of having fun with the entirely absurd in my writing.

Favorite clip from this movie.

That’s exactly a point that came up at dinner last night.  I was discussing “moving on into real life” with one of my artistic minded friends.  Aside from the fact that the atmosphere at Red’s was unbelievable (68 degrees outside, the fire pit was on but not oppressive, the outdoor lighting was perfect, the music was amazing song after amazing song, and the vibrancy of life from everyone on the patio was palpable), we were having a conversation about our futures as young people that was not fraught with anxiety.  For a great majority of people, finding happiness in life is an ultimate quest.  It just so happened that Megan and I were confident that, if only for the next little while, we were doing things that brought us happiness… and we were doing it for OURSELVES.  It might not work for everyone but for us, being able to say “I do what I love and it’s going to be my job” is an unbelievably exciting prospect.

The life I want is not routine.  It’s not mundane.  It’s exciting.  It is the closest I can get to stepping into a blue box that is bigger on the inside than the outside and having adventures nobody would ever believe.  I’m a 23 year old college student who has been to two major soccer matches in the past two months (on his own money), gotten a beer with his childhood hero, who is writing a comic book that is actually going to be produced, who LOVES food (seriously, my healthiest relationship, from an emotional standpoint, is my affair with Bar-Bee-Que Sauce), who loves movies/tv/comics, who writes movies/tv/comics, and who gets to share all of this with the people in his life whom he loves and holds dear.  All this on a server’s budget.  I’m not going to give that up because all of it is such an essential part to who I am.

The past year has been all about finding out who I really am and who I am going to be.  I’m an American Outlaw, an Emerald City Supporter, a nerd, and the list goes on… but the most important thing is that I have started to figure out how to create my own happiness from life around me.  There’s a French proverb that says “Success is the best revenge.”  With respect, a quest for vengeance will only get you so far.  It’ll take you through pain.  It’ll take you right up to the point where you have to have faith in yourself.  It’ll get you right to where you have to let go and reach for the next rope to swing on.  All it takes is a deep breath, a smile, maybe some Yellowcard, and the faith to say “I’m fucking awesome.”  Then, all you gotta do is let go and grab hold of the next rope.  So rather than search for success out of a quest for revenge, just smile and be happy.

I have no problem admitting that I’m nearly 24 and I still have a “hero.”  I’ve had many heroes throughout my life and this is actually the second soccer player to grace the list (the first is Alexi Lalas).  A few years back, there was this blonde dude with all sticky-uppy hair who took the field for the Houston Dynamo.  Dude was BRILLIANT in his play.  Watching him was like staring into the burning core of a star and being able to see the energy created from the nuclear fusion.  He played with a pure passion and love for the game and it was evident every time he took the field (often, commanding the entire flow of the game).  I was still an armchair fan when Stuart Holden was suiting up in Dynamo Orange.  The spark he showed on the field got me pumped up for every game I managed to catch (which, admittedly, was rare in those days).  Then the 2010 World Cup happened and I suddenly cared.  There was that blonde dude with the styled hair subbing on for Jozy Altidore during the game against England.

Stuart Holden. (He’s the one with hair).

I didn’t really think much of it at the time as he only played about 15 minutes (if I remember correctly) and the scoring was already completed for that game… but as the tournament wore on, I began to wonder about that dude who used to absolutely light it up at Houston.  Turns out, he hasn’t exactly had it easy.  Serious injury after serious injury (included a shattered knee) threatened to derail his playing career.  His family went through a huge loss.  Even after the 2010 World Cup appearance, he suffered another serious injury on a bad tackle that has had him off the pitch until about a week ago (he literally just tweeted about having to set three alarms to get up for training with Bolton… yes, it’s 2:45am right now… I’m a night owl… and I love twitter).  I started casually admiring the guy because of his perseverance and what I found as I dug a bit deeper into his rehab was that Stuart (can’t quite call him “Stu” because I’m not actually friends with the guy… but by rights, I feel like I should be simply because of how inspired I am by him) is an enormously positive person.  Even after the loss of a family member, his mantra (and that of the rest of his family) was (paraphrased): “Let’s look at this as a celebration of life and good memories and be happy because we’re capable of being happy.”

Bottom line is that this dude’s career should be over.  Nobody would blame him for throwing in the towel.  Nobody would blame him for being sad.  But here he is, waking up for practice with the Wanderers.  He’s back on the pitch and he’s done it all by being happy.  I make no secret of dealing with depression in the past year (most people do at some points in their lives) but the one lesson I learned that got me through it and has stayed with me now (and will be with me into the future) is “Celebrate life and be happy because I’m capable of being happy.”

Happiness breeds happiness.  If it’s something so simple as just making sure you smile or if you look to a baby-faced attacking midfielder for inspiration and strength, just do it.  Be happy in what you do and how you live.  Do what you do because you love it.  Live because you love it.  It’s worth it.  In the end, you may just find yourself a new team to root for in the process.

“Cuz Bolton Wanderers will never die!”

See ya, Space Cowboy.

(Ed.  Yeah, I’m adding Bolton to my list of clubs I support that is at the end of my last post.  Pretty simple reason.  I’ll root for any team Holden plays for because he’s Holden.  Even if the dude never reads this and I never actually meet him… He’s my hero and that’s worth learning chants, screaming myself hoarse, getting a scarf, and enjoying watching my hero work.)

The Living Bebop

One of the things I find incredibly enjoyable as a writer is to leave my mark on certain existing things.  I even find it fulfilling to simply imagine my own stories with characters I already love that manage to fit into the existing framework someone else’s work.  Some call it the “highest form of praise” and others call it “Copying” but I tend to think of it as being able to give something back – at least within the confines and safety of my own skull (where I wouldn’t be sued for copyright infringement) – to the characters and/or universes of somethings that I love.  If you paid me (or promised to not sue me), I would sit down and regale you with copious amounts of stories about The Doctor’s adventures, life as a Federation Marine during the Sphere Builder War, what happens to Alpha, Echo, Topher, Dewitt, et al between taking down Rossum and the Epitaphs, and I could even tell you a good story involving the ORIGINAL (1988 TV Series) Mission Impossible crew.

For the young kids in the audience, it may surprise you but this team worked better WITHOUT Ethan Hunt (because when his character was introduced in the movies, this team pretty much all died).  Also, Peter Graves was THE MAN (next to Steve McQueen).

There are very few things that I find influential in my life and to my writing that I DON’T wish I could get my hands on just for a brief period of time.

In the summer of 2001, I was surfing through the channels late one night while at my Dad’s house.  I’m not even going to pretend that at age 11 or 12, I didn’t have a soft spot for anime.  I will admit that around that time, I had just outgrown Dragon Ball Z  and Gundam and, being in America, I really had limited access to the wide myriad of offerings.  I managed to stumble upon a show where an androgynous child and a dog were on a scooter chasing a dude who sold magic mushrooms.  It had some wicked Jazz and took place in space and even though I was starting to shift away from “cartoons” to live action fiction, I wasn’t completely beyond giving one last anime a try.  I tuned in the next night and realized that this was going to be something I had to watch from the beginning.  Luckily enough, the series restarted a little while later and I made sure to catch every episode as the music, the mood, and the characters caught hold of my early adolescent soul and would not let go.

I need to find a way to get this as a poster.

For those who are unfamiliar (and I don’t blame or judge you), the series is entitled Cowboy Bebop.  To this day, it is one of my top 5 favorite shows… ever.  Period.  Back then, it was a a release valve.  It was an escape hatch.  It was a warm blanket on a cool, rainy day.  As a 12 year old boy – and at that specific time and in that specific location – Bebop provided one of the strongest connections to real life that I could have ever hoped for.  The simple reason was that the show – though futuristic and all Sci-fi-ey – was deeply rooted in the humanity of its characters.  How is an idealistic 12 year old really supposed to accept that the world is not predominantly “good” or “evil” and that often, things happen without rhyme or reason?  Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, bad things to bad people, good things to good people.  There’s not one thing anybody can do about how life runs its course and at the end of everything, the world is neither good nor evil… it just simply, tragically, and miraculously exists.

The story of Bebop exists in a twilight of consciousness.  Spike, the central character, is stuck between feeling as though he is dreaming or truly awake.  He’s the man who can’t die yet doesn’t know if he’s truly alive.  All of this is a metaphor, beautifully woven together with the other characters and their colored experiences and somehow, my adolescent mind was able to accept and understand it.  Now, obviously there was humor and action and fun within the series.  It even got downright campy at times (and chillingly creepy at others) and yet no one single quality overrode any other mood in the show.  It was a neutral universe with only the characters and their experiences – both good and bad – affecting their pasts, presents, and futures.  THAT registered with me.  It struck every fucking chord it could and when the final scene faded to white, tears filled my eyes and I smiled because this “cartoon” had made me make sense of Life, accept it, and make my own place in the world.  I make a point of watching the series at least once every year and am still incredibly emotionally moved when it reaches its conclusion and the fade out allows us to retrospectively think about the entire story all at once.  In a great many ways, Bebop is the reason I’m here today, writing and just (finally) LIVING.

The series’ influence over me is pervasive in everything I work on.  From simple things such as timing and sly allusions to the show, all the way to how I think about different shots, put scenes together in my head, and even putting music to different scenes, my mind always seems to spill and get Bebop everywhere when I’m trying to work — and at the very LEAST, it allows me to open up how I think about something and expand on what I really want.

It’s also one of the few projects I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to work on, if given the opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be a crowning achievement in my life if I were given the opportunity to work on a live action Bebop (and PLEASE, fans of the series, do not worry… I understand the importance of both ENDING the show with “Real Folk Blues” AND leaving said ending open to interpretation).  It is also a series that’s initial impact was so strong because the story existed within the thin sliver between fantasy and reality that Spike experienced as his life.  The power of the show lies in the twilight between dream and reality and I’m not entirely sure I would – in the role of writer/producer – be okay waking from said twilight to realize the reality of the dream and the fantasy of “reality” (which anybody working on the production end of the project would have to).  I could do it… but I’m just not sure I want to…

BUT THEN AGAIN… It can be said that the best dreams we ever have are the ones we get to live – even for a brief moment… and even if it’s coming in on a show with an androgynous kid and collie both riding a moped and chasing down a magic mushrooms dealer.  As a writer, artist, creator, etc. isn’t it our job to create the dream for others to live and sometimes even share our dreams?

I go back and forth and the only conclusion I can come to is actually something Spike says: “What happens, happens.”

I’ll go on record and say that it would be an honor to ever be able to be a part of Bebop… but only if it was Bebop the way I know it… and if Bebop is not meant to be woken from, I’m completely okay with that.

See you, Space Cowboy.

PS… Proof that the music for the show is amazing, here’s the opening titles.  The song is entitled “Tank” and it is one of the most amazing jazz charts I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.

Space Cowboys

AAAAAANNNNNDDDD here’s my triumphant return from a short hiatus (wherein I promise I was actually REALLY busy… there are podcast episodes to prove it… and those close enough to me who are privy to certain information about things will back me up on being insanely busy).  Cue up the music and get excited for my triumphant return to the “Hall H” of my life that is my blog (… it’s a comic con reference…).

There we are… I’ve discovered a new talent: I can sing along and type at the same can’t feel myself don’t want nobody else to ever love me— well… almost at the same time.

Anyway, back to catching up.  I’ve been on a bit of a “I like stuff with spaghetti western elements” kick recently.  Lots of Enino Morricone has been listened to, some good movies were viewed, I’m knee deep in the Serenity comic books (set between Firefly and the movie, Serenity), and rewatched Cowboy Bebop.  I guess the “kick” isn’t so much me being hooked on the classic cowboy western genre movies but more how those have influenced different aspects of genre culture all around.  The image of the Explorer on the Ragged Edge is one I just can’t seem to get out of my head… and tumble weeds!  Lots and lots of tumble weeds!

For real, now….

Yes, yes, I’m the science fiction/superhero nerd… and don’t worry, I’m not swapping out my bow tie and tweed jacket for a stetson and six shooter (though stetsons, like bow ties, are also cool)… but this idea of the explorer on the frontier is a bit more fun to think about and indulge in at the moment than the BOOM EXPLOSIONS SPACESHIP ZOOM ALIEN-NOOKIE AWESOME BADASS DUDE stuff that – well… we all have a more immature side.

Here’s part of mine.

I guess it has a bit more to do with the fact that the time is quickly approaching when I’m going to be moving and doing the whole “adult life” thing.  While I do truly dislike a great majority of Iowa City, it will be an adjustment to get used to life in a larger metropolitan area.  Then there’s the whole new social landscape to navigate… and of course, there’s the 405.  That too.  All in all, it’s been a nice shift to go from “Precocious Punk” to “Eager Explorer” and it’s an angle I haven’t really taken before.

It’s not really a coincidence that the original title for Star Trek was actually “Wagon Train to the Stars.”  Life’s about exploration and discovery and the cool stuff – the things that go BOOM! and look really awesome – is but a small part of that (if your imagination is vivid enough) –  never the center of everything.  It is the human drive toward the unknown – our obsession with knowledge and craving for the “new” –  that puts us out on that ragged edge.  Whether we’re running away from something, running toward something, or just admiring the view, we’re all frontier-men/women in life and that is a fantastic story to be a part of.  We are all truly on a Wagon Train to Somewhere… and for a very lucky few with either gobs of money, an insanely long lifespan, or a wild imagination combined with ADD and a desire to tell stories, it very well may be headed toward the stars above our heads.

So that’s about it.  The Cowboy is restless and getting ready to leave… and for once, I can honestly say that I don’ think he’ll walk out of town in semi slow motion with Nine Inch Nails blaring in the background before a massive explosion rips the town behind him and he grins as a blast of wind from the explosion hits him and ruffles his clothes, making him look even more badass.  I get the feeling he’s about to ride off into the sunset, possibly on horseback, smiling all the way as he moves on in life… and with an aim to misbehave.

 

See ya, Space Cowboy.

The 5 or 6 Year Idiot.

Good afternoon.  The weather in Iowa City is currently 90 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze toward the southwest.  Barometric pressure is holding steady at 30.3 and visibility is 10 miles… and if you look across campus, it’s an excuse for bro-tanks, yoga pants, and thongs/shorts (so… Thorts?).

I happen to be comfortably situated in my recliner (not to be confused with a “rocking chair” apparently… who would have thought a chair that rocks is not actually a “rocking chair” but something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT??  Certainly… not me….) and actually getting work done when it hits me: “Oh hey!  It’s Thursday.  Update time.”  Are you all happy about that?

Hands down one of my favorite 60s Spiderman memes.

Don’t you just love the whole: “What advice would you give your 5 or 10 year younger self?/What would wish you would have written down back then to tell you now?” type question dealios?  They’re my FAVORITE…. (sigh… I hate “getting to know you” bullshit like this but at least it’s a legitimate opportunity to look back and see how far you’ve come).  So here’s Freshman Justin… 5 years and 364 days ago (it was actually taken at the first FAC event for the trombone section… the first Friday of school).  He’s pleased to meet you… and he’s a complete idiot.

My mother had such a problem with… MY OUTFIT…. say nothing about the copious amounts of pitchers littering the table, it was that outfit that I had to hear about for the next month. To this day, I see relatively little wrong with it… as most straight guys dress like that or even worse.

Yup… that was me.  I’m going to GLOSS OVER certain parts of Freshman-Justin (I never did anything SUPER embarrassing… and if you really wanna know what I’m glossing over, just ask Mel…) and give you a bit of an introduction.  That fucker up there had no clue how the game of football was played, hated class, wrote at an even more mediocre level than he does now, and discovered a love of everything Coors Light… and he had this weird idea that he’d be a great musician!  (He also loved some really terrible music back then… I’m not referring to S Club 7 because they’re still great… more like Rihanna… ugh).  He had awful comedic timing, talked WAY too much (more than I do now…), hated school, BUT he played a mean trombone and had a pretty sick sense of humor.  In all of that though, he’s a proper idiot.

Yup… sick sense of humor.

So nearly 6 years later… I get asked this question about what I’d tell myself back 5 or 6 years at the beginning of all this… After a flurry of “Don’t live xyz place,” “Don’t kid yourself with the music major,” “Write and read way more than you do now,” “AVOID GOING TO SHITTY BARS!” “Don’t make that Anne Frank joke about your old boss to his face… even though you knew you were on your way out anyway…” “Don’t date douche-bags,” and ” Go to class just a little more than you do… doesn’t have to be all the time but definitely more…” I came to realize a mantra I’ve always lived by: I wouldn’t change a thing.

Doofus up there needed all that stuff to happen to him.  As a writer, all of my stories, scripts, stand up, and obviously my non-fiction stuff is all influenced by the events of my life… a great many of which happen because I’m still a complete dolt (just with a much better taste in music).  I like where I am and the path I’m on and if I had to be a complete moron to get here… it’s worth it.  So when responding with “I don’t really have anything to tell that guy,” it is simply because I think he figured it out in the end.

Draw me like one of your French Girls?

I guess I’m just a big party pooper when it comes to “get to know you” type stuff and that many people “didn’t want to think that hard/introspectively” (“Introspectively” was an unexpectedly large word for the individual who used it in the discussed situation)… but that’s the honest truth.

Now, I need to shower and get back to my next 5 or 6 year (to the astute among you will pick up that this is a reference to Mr. and Mrs. Smith… I love it and I’m currently watching it) round of being an idiot… pretty excited to see where this term lands me!

See ya, Space Cowboy.

OH ALSO… I don’t know how many of you this bothers… but it is one of my favorite words and I love it.