Now there's a younger self
I'd like to communicate with!
One of the current trends in our culture is the concept of going back in time to speak directly to our younger selves. That is, after first killing Baby Hitler, saving Abraham Lincoln, and fashioning a much more aesthetic set of wooden teeth for George Washington.
The latest celebrity to join the trend is Jane Fonda, who in a recorded letter to her prior self urges young Jane to withhold sex from Ted Turner until he fixes CNN, not to make Barbarella, and to limit face lifts to fewer than one per meal.
It seemed to me that sharing my wit and wisdom with a pint-sized Perry would be pretty cool too, especially since no one else will listen to it. So I suspended my disbelief, climbed into the Way Back Machine, and traveled way back to the playground at Cynwyd Elementary School in May 1958.
Little Boy? Little Boy?
You're eight year old Perry Block, aren't you?
No, no, don't call the cops! I'm not that kind of guy!
You see, I'm Perry Block too.
No, no, don't call the cops! I’m not …oh, I see, you're disappointed. Yeah, I know, not much hair, kind of big nose. Hey, that’s not nice! They’re your lousy genes too!
Perry, I've come here to share some important thoughts with you. I'd have preferred to share them with the young Jane Fonda, but that doesn't make any sense. So here's what I'd like to tell you:
1) Remember to always follow the path of Judaism, because it will lead you to deep spirituality, great Chinese food, and well-to-do Jewish girls, some of whom may have large breasts.
2) Do not waste your time or effort with argumentative or difficult persons. They are vexations to the soul. Just let them steal your lunch money and move on.
3) Find your passion. Then lose it again.
4) Do not get involved with mind-altering drugs! After you thoroughly ignore this, never settle for twigs and seeds.
5) Be kind to others on the way up. On the way down, feel free to be a shit.
6) It's too bad I don't really follow the stock market because I could have given you some excellent tips. Anyway here's a few tips on some nags at Aqueduct for March 27, 1978 from a guy named Big Louie.
7) In college you will meet a blonde girl with blue eyes and a great bod named Alice Bernstein. Even if you have to invoke Satan, summon the guts to ask her out! If you get anywhere, I want details.
8) There will be a comedian on television named Bill Cosby. Tell people you think he sucks. It may take a while, but I promise this will pay off for you.
9) Coke, not Pepsi. Although be prepared to weather an unbelievably whacked time in the late 80's with something called "New Coke."
10) Democrats, not Republicans. If there's any doubt about this wait till you see the asshole they're planning to run for President in 2016.
11) Mary Ann, not Ginger. I know it's counter-intuitive, kid; just trust me on this.
12) Exercise regularly. Once a year every year without fail.
13) If at first you don't succeed, try try try again. Then quit.
14) Do not waste time being jealous of others. Get right to undermining them.
15) Remember: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Thank God this only applies to hockey.
16) You are due for a wonderful experience in about five years. Remember these names: John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They will change your life.
17) And say goodbye to that goofy pompadour. They will change your hair too.
18) Become proficient in a sport because it will make you popular. I recommend curling.
19) Don't waste your time watching television. There are plenty of other ways to waste your time that don't squander electricity.
20) Become a humor writer for your Great Second Act in Life. You will at long last fully indulge your creative and aesthetic spirit as you slowly starve to death
And Perry, this is the most important thing I have to tell you. Don't take for granted those people around you who are important to you. I know you won't really understand this now, but they won't always be here.
Okay, kid, back to 2015 and ... gee, I'm a bit short! Could you loan me a few bucks for the road home?
When will I pay you back?
Tell you what -- I'll buy you a drink when you're 65.