Sunday, 15 November 2009

Dear Me...

There’s a charity book out just now called “Dear Me” which is full of famous people writing notes of advice to their sixteen year-old self. Which got me thinking...what would I write to my younger self?

Dear Me,

Some advice for you. Ignore it at your peril because as sure as eggs are covered in a thin shell you have become very wise in your young-middle age.

First off, don’t be so freakin’ sensible. Have fun. Chill.

Next, a warning: you won’t always be this skinny. The cakes will catch up with you.

The things that come easy? Work harder at them, then you get a career you enjoy.

Read a lot; write a lot. (I stole this from Stephen King)

Buy black socks only. Saves a lifetime of pairing them up after a wash.

No matter how much you love her, don’t let her talk you into getting your back waxed. (Yeah, you get a hairy back. And there’s more bad news coming about the hair situation)

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to watch other people making mistakes. Just don’t laugh in their face. If you do and you get caught, say that you were laughing WITH them.

Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

Going bald (told you) is no biggie. You’ll get used to it very quickly.

It’s nice to be nice. Any number of small acts of kindness are much better than one grand-stage act of generosity. The latter tends to be for show.

When in company and struggling for something to say ask the other person a question about them. If you are interested you become interesting.

When in company and someone talks about nothing else but themselves, develop a pressing need to go to the loo, pretend to faint, choke on a anything just get the feck away from them.

Don’t listen to your father. He’s an eejit. Except about that one thing...oh, and that other thing.

He was also right about the dishes. Let them pile up on the draining board. What’s the point in putting them away in a cupboard when you’re just going to use them again?

Never use a screw-driver. A hammer will do the job much quicker. If anything REALLY needs to be taken apart again, you can always move.

Your father was also wrong about the black tape. It doesn’t fix everything. Least of all a broken desk. That’s where the hammer comes in.

99.9% of the problems that grow in your mind until they block everything else out give you ulcers. Then they melt away and never happen. Wasted time, yes?

In general, people are nice. If you treat them the way you would like to be treated, things will go well.

People are bastards. They bash your car door with their car door and drive away without as much as a scribbled apology.

Go to THAT school re-union. You’ll learn perspective. And loads of other stuff.

The boys at school who laughed at you because you had lots of female friends were actually very, very, very envious.

The cool kids at school turned out to be addicts and alkies or they got shit jobs. The nerds, a l’autre main, took over the world.

Lose that frickin’ habit of speaking half in English, half in French. SO annoying.

You WILL lose your virginity. Eventually.

Don’t be so freakin’ shy and don’t wait to be asked.

Don’t pretend that you’re in training to be a priest to get rid of an unwanted advance. It’s not smart, it’s not clever and you look like shit in a dog collar.

Always take your socks off before your trousers. If you happen to be with a woman you’ll look less like a dork.

Women say one thing and mean another. Then once you get used to that approach they go back to meaning exactly what they say. Then they switch back again in the time it takes you to say, ‘What the...?’ It will confuse you. Don’t fight it. That’s. Just. The. Way. It. Is.

The priests were wrong; it IS good for you, you won’t go blind and the only hairs you grow on your hands will be over your knuckles.

Learn to recognise that wee voice that says, ‘that’ll do” and ignore it, ‘cos it never does.

Eat more and exercise less. Oh...wait, it’s the other way round. And don’t worry, this is one thing you’ll never get right.

Don’t eat anything that comes in bright packaging. It’s full of all kinds of chemical shit that will give you a chronic disease and may eventually kill you.

Enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Get your skinny/fat/skinny/fat arse down to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. Then celebrate with some cake.

Embrace your love of cinnamon. Add it to everything. Especially porridge.

Cake. You’ll never get enough cake. With cinnamon.

Get yourself a nice golden (cinnamon) coloured fleece. Women will love it. They will want to touch it.

When someone says “yes, but...” they actually agree with you but they don’t want to listen. They’re so locked in to their own point of view they’ll carry on regardless. They are stuck. While you should give them the “loser” sign and move on.

Keep your opinions to yourself. No one is really that interested. They’re just pretending, dumbass.

There’s no point in being self-conscious. People look at you for like a second, dismiss you and then go back to inhabiting a world with their ego at its centre. Mostly, you don’t mean shit to them.

Walk away from the cheap brandy. It will give you one fucker of a headache.

Don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong. And apologise.

Never go to bed on an argument. Grow a pair, stay up all night and shout yourself hoarse.

You will discover a talent to grow a single, six inch long hair from your earlobe. It will appear overnight. Pluck it, learn to live with it, and be on watch for the next one which will appear just as surely as the world will become obsessed with a pair of tits called Jordan. And keep a pair of tweezers by your shaving mirror.

Never add garlic to an omelette. Sucks big time. Add it to EVERYTHING else.

Brussel Sprouts. The curse of your childhood. You’ll never get over it. Not even garlic will make them palatable. You will continue to barf at the sight of them for the rest of your life.

Be kind to your sister. She knows not what she does. Approach her with fondness and always be prepared to make allowances. It will save you a shit-storm of stomach acid.

Earn enough so you can pay someone to do the jobs you hate; the garden, housework, ironing. This list will increase as you grow older. Your sister will help and it will only take the going rate.

Ignore the adverts; toilet paper that is too soft makes for an ultimately uncomfortable toilet experience. Or if you learn the art of multi-tasking and keep a pair of nail clippers by the paper you could clip while you are, ehm...unloading. A wee hint - leave your toenails for later.

There’s a reason why we love chocolate. It’s because it melts at body temperature. Don’t let anybody, I mean ANYBODY keep it in the fridge.

You will develop a healthy disregard for the celebrity obsessed culture that is coming your way. Try to spread this particular view to as many people as possible. In fact make it your life’s work.

Never. I repeat, never get a credit card. They are the work of Satan.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story/ poem/ blog. You will always write with a touch too much honesty, but it will be heightened, exaggerated, disguised and people will never be quite sure what to believe. This is A Good Thing.

And finally, if your young self is going to pay attention to any of this crap it should be this: ignore everything you’ve just read - the most effective lessons are the ones you learn for yourself.




  1. You've excelled even yourself here, Michael. I loved it and agree with everything except the bit about putting chocolate in the fridge. Great blog, plenty of laugh out loud items. And far too much truth.

  2. Now it's your turn, Bill. What would you tell your young self?

  3. Your fleece is CINNAMON? For God's sake. Aren't you a Winter?

    Chocolate should always go in the fridge, I agree with Bill. Otherwise this is all sound (indeed brilliant) advice. Did you see Matthew Paris on this in the Times today? Also some excellent tips.

  4. You should know about Blacksocks (, which sends socks -- all black -- by sockscription. Your black socks will come directly to you. Saves time (and sock headaches) and they all match!

  5. My you've given this a lot of thought.

    My favorite two, scratch that, three - ditching brussel sprouts (God did not invent brussel sprouts, the Brussels did and what do they know?), making enough to pay for a housekeeper (yes! yes!), and the bit about being self-conscious. It just shows how egotistical we are; It's all about MOI !

    And yes, Bill and Gillian have it right. Cold chocolate especially in Louisiana.

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  7. Marley, it was so good you said it twice.
    Lori - I will look into the black sock thing, thanks

  8. Hello
    Cinnamon porridge sounds good.
    Found you via Gillian.

  9. Hi Rachel, thanks for dropping by. I also add honey to the porridge. Yum.

  10. Nice blog Michael. The wise man is he who sees hindsight as a privilege. Would qualify one of your statements though: women DO mean what they say but men, with their inherent,chronic condition of selective deafness,only hear what they want to hear - or at least what they though they heard during half time!

  11. Sorry about the typos, just trying to get used to this new laptop!

  12. Sara, (or is it Aras) as you well know I am always willing to consider another opinion...having considerd what you say? Nah.

  13. michael, this was tres funny

  14. Cheers, Thea - what would you write yourself?

  15. what would I write? well, the one thing in my life that has proven true is all ways is:
    My mother was right. She didn't give alot of advice as a rule, but when she did, she was spot on....damn it. I should have listened!