I have this envelope with the words, “Don’t Open Till Oct 7 2008,” written on it. A letter that I wrote to myself. I assume I wrote it on October 7, 1998, because I remember that when I wrote it I wasn’t supposed to open it for ten years. It was an assignment to write this letter when I was in Mrs. Adams’ 10th grade English class. While I don’t remember the specifics of the assignment, I think we students were supposed to answer specific questions such as, “Where will you be living?” and “What will your job be?” Mrs. Adams also told us that it might be a good idea to keep it in our underwear drawer since we would always have underwear.
Well, I went ahead and wrote the letter and put it in my sock/underwear drawer where it remained for several years. Later I moved it to a safety deposit box. In 2009 or 2010 I was thinking that my ten year high school reunion was coming up, and so it had probably been more than ten years since I had written that letter and it was about time I read it. At the time of this writing, another three or four years have passed.
In the years between writing it and opening it, I thought of it from time to time. I’d see it in my drawer and be like, ”I sort of remember what I wrote.” I remembered that I wrote that I would be driving a Ferrari, specifically the car that Magnum P.I. drove. I remembered that I said I would be living in Hollywood, and that I would be a movie star. (Which I have no idea why, since I never really wanted to be an actor, I just wanted to be famous. Also, I remember that the girl behind me had said, “Hollywood!” as soon as the question was presented to us, and that seemed alright to me.) And I remember that I wrote that I would be married to this girl I had a crush on named Julie.
Let me get to the actual letter, which I’m sort of reading for the first time again, since it has been so long since I last read it. The thing about it is that I’m pretty sure that those three things, car, job, and wife, were the ”only” three things in the entire letter. I remember that before I read it, I was like, ”I wonder what things are in the letter that I forgot.” And then I read it, and I was like, ”Absolutely everything I remembered was in it, and nothing else!” So, anyway, I’m about to write the full body of it right now, so we’ll see what’s in it. Here goes…
Ten years from now on October 7, 2008, I suspect that I am reading this. Jack, by now you ought to be in Hollywood, where all the rich houses are. Married to the hot, foxy babe Julie S. By now you should be making about 10 million a year. You work as an actor. Mostly in mystery and spy films. Most people like the movies you are in. You’re not in any perverted movies, but violent ones. Yes, you live now in Hollywood in a 2 million dollar home with a butler named ” “, anyways he’s cool enough. You have one room in your house that is a pure trampoline. No, actually you just have a real good one in your back yard. You have only one child, a girl which has a funny name, or a boy’s name, but either way, weird. You should now be driving a Ferrari, the same year that Magnum P.I.’s was. You should be rich, happy, never hungry. Your wife doesn’t cook. Your cook does.
You sometimes ride in a limousine, and have a chauffeur with a french name. You have visited England, France, and Egypt by now. You also sing rather well. You play no instrument, and you obviously are stupid for reading this. If none of this ever happened then you either became a professional killer, joined the army and will fight, or already fought and died, in World War III.
Wow! That was freaking weird. Especially the ending part, it got a little dark there, didn’t it? Where did that “professional killer” stuff even come from? I must not have been taking it seriously at all, I mean I remembered that I was considering going into the Army when I was in high school, and I kind of figured that World War III was going to happen.
The rest of it, though, was pretty much what I remembered. Hollywood actor, Magnum P.I. car, Julie. I mean I used a lot more words, but that was the gist of what it said. I guess I also seemed obsessed with money and being rich, but that kind of went along with the whole Ferrari and Hollywood thing, so I’m not surprised that I didn’t remember that specifically. Also, for reference’s sake, I literally wrote ”quote-unquote” for the butler’s name. I have no idea why. I guess I couldn’t think of anything.
So what was I actually doing ten years after writing the letter? Career-wise, I was a student. Financially, I made about $12,000.00 a year working part time. Relationship-wise, I was single, and Julie was married to someone else. Vocabulary-wise, I ”still” use the word “fox” to describe attractive women. (Speaking of which, let me tell you about Julie, she was one of those girls that was a total nerdy-looking, dare I say ”ugly”, girl in the 8th grade, then when 9th grade started she wore contacts, did her hair, used at least some makeup, and stopped wearing baggy clothes. Like a butterfly out of the cocoon that was the summer between 8th and 9th grade, she emerged, and I had a crush on her right away.) I do remember that I wanted to give my children unusual names when I was that age, and that has changed. At this point I wouldn’t even give them unusual spellings of common names, such as “Rebekah” for “Rebecca”, since I think that’s pretentious, and everybody’s doing that these days, it seems.
I suppose that’s the real irony of the ten years later thing. Not much changed. I was a student when I wrote it, I was a student when I read it. Basically I did all the same things I did then. It’s actually kind of depressing to think about.
Years before I wrote that letter, when I was an even younger teenager, I thought life was hard. So hard, in fact, that I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to even begin to figure out how to approach it. I was hoping that I would just wake up one day with amnesia, and it would be ”ten” years later and I would have my whole life figured out. Yeah, just wake up one morning, have a wife, a job, a house, a car, and children. Everything that one needs to make life worth while. I’d just wake up, find a woman next to me and be like, ”I guess that’s my wife.” Get up, go to the bathroom to shower, look in the mirror and be like, ”I guess this is my house, and I guess that’s me.” Sit down at the kitchen table for breakfast, and be like, “By the way, wife, I can’t remember the past ten years. That’s why I just called you ”wife” instead of your name. Also, children, what are your names?” And the children would be like, “Mommy, daddy’s being silly.” Then as I left for work I’d give my wife a kiss as I walked out the door, just assuming we did that every day, then I’d just drive around for hours since I didn’t know where work was. Yeah, that’s what I was hoping for as a teenager. Heck, I was going to write a novel about it entitled, “Ten Years Later”. It seemed like life would just be easier that way. I wouldn’t have to figure anything out. Now I realize that you still got to figure out life. It doesn’t happen automatically, just because you will get amnesia in the future. So that’s my plan, figure out life, then get amnesia.
What’s weird about my amnesia fantasy as opposed to what I wrote in the letter, though, was that in the amnesia fantasy I didn’t care at all about being rich and famous. I wonder why? Even today I still fantasize about being famous. But in the amnesia fantasy all I wanted was an ordinary life. The amnesia fantasy predates the letter by a few years, I think it first crossed my mind when I was twelve or thirteen. The letter was written when I was fifteen. So maybe that was the difference. Of course the amnesia fantasy was all in my head, I never wrote it down. I only thought about writing a novel about it, about some other guy that had amnesia, and not me. The letter was written down, it was about me. It’s possible I didn’t want to write down some fantasy about me living some ordinary life, I mean this girl in class was saying, “Hollywood!” when the question was posed. I wasn’t about to write down something less exciting. I kind of wonder what happened to that girl. Maybe she did end up in Hollywood.
Perhaps I should write another letter to myself to be opened in another ten years. Certainly my life has not yet come full circle, there are still things to come. I do have more practical expectations of where I want my life to go, where it will probably go, and where it might go, and certainly I could make more interesting predictions, but, on the other hand, I don’t think I’ll write down such things. I don’t want to jinx myself. You know what I mean?