Future Tom, it’s time you and I had a talk.
Sure, I know. We can’t do that, not face to face. The universe would explode. Sure.
And I know we’ve had our disagreements, our temporal quirks. Sometimes I put cell phones and car keys in weird places, and I forget to tell you where. Sometimes I agree to do horrible things, like go and see the Chipmunks sequel, and who has to deal with that?
You do. Just like hangovers; they’re your problem, not mine.
But really, I don’t think you give me enough credit. I mean, when I started running, and got up to four miles in a month, that was for you pal. By definition, that was for you. You were the one walking around ten pounds lighter, while I was back in time, playing with my belly.
But did you thank me? No. You thanked Kimya Dawson. You thanked the Flobots. You thanked Bill Gates for the iPod, even though I bought it for you.
Sometimes I’m so mad at you for things like that, I consume ten beers and a one pound cheeseburger called an Anvil – screw you.
But that doesn’t help. We’ve got to learn to communicate more effectively.
So let’s just say it: You don’t like me, and I don’t like you. Right? I mean, let’s just put our cards on the table. Okay? And then figure out where we go from here.
It wasn’t always like this.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be you. The first time I remember thinking about you, I believed that you would be an astronaut. At the time, I thought being an astronaut was more about aliens and lasers, than math. But it didn’t matter. I thought Future Tom, The Astronaut was a perfectly reasonable guess.
Later, I started noticing our connection, the way I’d do something wrong, and you’d get in trouble. But by the time that happened, I was you, and were you someone who would never do that again? No, you weren’t. You were the same jerk, scowling at me across time – like everything was MY fault.
I think the problem is, frankly, I’ve been giving you too much slack. I’ve been too nice; it’s that simple.
Remember when I was single, and I always made sure that I didn’t bog you down with obligations? I wouldn’t even sign up for a car payment – for years – just because I thought it would stress you out.
A car payment. That would embarrass me, if someone thought I couldn’t handle a car payment, but you were fine with it. Cool, you said, I’ll just dump this money down the toilet.
And dating – remember how I always made sure that no one could break up with you, by keeping us out of exclusive relationships all together? Those were good times. Lazy, shallow, and good.
Don’t even get me started on marriage. That was all for you, pal. You needed a wife and a child, because we’ve seen what it looks like when people like us grow old, alone. Look in the mirror, pal – I did you a favor. And what’s your favorite thing to do?
Bitch about it, that’s what. You’re such a prick.
Sure, and by then, it was clear you were never going to be an astronaut. It was actually clear long before that – you just weren’t Air Force material, ever – but by then I had a different prediction. Future Tom would be a writer, a famous one. That was a relief, because I could sit down and write when I wanted to, and anyone could look at me and say, “Well, sure. He sure looks like a writer, weird little dude.”
Which one of us didn’t do it, Future Tom? Was it me, or was it you?
Well, we could sit here all day arguing about it, but the fact is, you’ve done some of the things I’ve asked of you, and there have been a lot more that you simply ignored. And that has to stop, Future Tom. The clock’s ticking. Pretty soon your Future Kids are going to be wiping the corners of your mouth for you, and I could sit here hoping that you’ll become who you’re supposed to become by the time that happens.
But don’t believe the movies, chief. Hope’s not going to do it.
No, what we need to do is what we’ve always been told we need to do, by anyone who has ever succeeded where we have failed. Starting today, Future Tom, you need to write something, every single day.
And just to make sure you do it, I’m starting a new blog, where you’re going to do it publicly, no fewer than eight hundred words, fiction or non, on any topic you like.
Every single day, Future Tom, for one year. I can set it up and tell everyone you know what you are going to do, and if you stop, then you’ll never be able to act like you’re some kind of frustrated writer who can’t catch a break. You’ll never be able to act like it’s my fault, or anyone else’s. Forever and always, you’ll have to know deep in your heart, that you decided to be whatever you are, writer or not.
You’ve only very rarely become what I’ve told you to become, what I’ve said you’d become, what I’ve hoped you’d become. I mean, sure, you’re not an idiot or a total screw up – that’s the horrifying nature of your subtle and timeless curse.
You never do it, because I never make you, and that’s about to stop. You’re going to become who I tell you to become, right here on these pages, in full view of anyone who cares to look.
That’s how I’m going to do it, old friend. That’s how I’m going to break the Curse of Future Tom.
Now get to work.