If I Ever Were To Write a Letter To My Younger Self…
Nick to Nick —5 Life-Defining Moments
By Nick Coston,
now 61, writing to Nick Coston, then 16.
Same guy, I know.
Dear 16 Year Old Nick,
Don’t freak, this is your 61 year old self writing you, or me, at 16. Not sure if this arrives via U.S. Mail or just shows up on the bathroom sink. Yes, you will live to at least 61, no, your wisdom teeth never do come in, you were born without them. That should serve as a big hint. While I’m not exactly sure how this works, after all I am you, complete strangers will be reading this. Some of them I don’t even like. I just hope at age 16 you can read. This whole letter to my younger self has become quite the hit, famous folks like Michelle Obama, who you will meet in person at your family’s Beverly Theater where you work now, and again in 2005, Oprah, one of the Jonas Brothers, Jon Hamm, Stephen King, Alice Cooper, yep he’s still kicking and don’t bet against if you golf with him, and James Woods, to name a few. In James Woods case, they kill him off in Ray Donovan but not in real life. He just looks dead.
But I really don’t get it. Why bother. Why not write your children, nephews, or your dog. Send a thank you note to Mom and Dad. Or me, you all can just write me, I’ll read it. I like getting letters.
I came up with about 100 not so glowing items, you really are quite the character, to be polite to myself. For the sake of not being indicted for criminal behavior, I narrowed it down to 5 life-defining moments you, or me, need to know about. But I know all these already since, I’m writing this. To myself. Speaking of me, here they are:
- Get into the billboard business sooner than age 44. Please. I can’t go thru this again. You already were graying, living in rental units, and usually broke selling magazine advertising. You were so broke you cooked your roommates trash, ate leftover pizza from hotel hallway, granted some were really good and they left a lot, mostly pepperoni and made milkshakes out of office coffee, free Slim Fast and Half & Half when you worked at USA Weekend. As an afternoon snack. I won’t get into where you slept some nights while in between apartments, you already are a legend in NYC advertising world for that stunt. And yea, they found where you stored your clothes.
- You don’t grow above 6 feet tall. In fact, since you, or me, or we, are Greek, we shrink at least an inch. After age 65, an inch a year, if we get that far. You will never get taller than you were in 7th grade, you peak at 13. By the time you are 24 you can’t dunk and you’ll be relegated to being a softball pitcher. Slo-pitch. I’ll stay away from the whole weight thing. Lets just say you gain and lose enough weight to make 4 more people. Big people
- Get laid more. Really. As your cousin Little Jimmy said back in the late 80’s, “my cousin Nicky has avoided more sex than any man I know”. I don’t know why. Your big brother Jim swore you were gay. So did most of your friends, maybe your wife. Your Dad would just shake his head. He was Marine, you don’t want Dad shaking his head. Maybe you are too nice, or too dense. Either way, as you get older, stop turning it down because you have to get up early for softball. It’s like if your billboard goes empty for a month, you can’t get that back, that chance has passed. For God’s sake boy, take those hints and don’t ask for the check so fast. Order dessert.
- Don’t frigging buy that 1965 Lincoln Continental. In 1978. Yea it was cool, you have the Animal House car, but you drive your Dad nuts with repairs. Like when then transmission fell out at 55,000 miles. Or when the lights would cut out on your brother when he was driving in Wisconsin at night. You’ll drop an exhaust system at 24th & M St in DC. That big black boat will sideswipe more cars in 1979 that people are still looking for you. And me. Since I’m still you. Just shorter now.
- Finally, swear more. You didn’t swear until you were 50. Nobody takes you seriously if you don’t swear. Drop some F bombs and incorporate more God Da@#$%into your daily vocabulary, like your Dad and Uncle Pete did. They didn’t go 10 minutes without swearing, most of the time for no reason. Hang out with those guys more, take notes.
So Younger Nick, from older, shorter Nick, these are my top 5 head slaps I need to convey to you, or me, I don’t know. And stick with the name Nick, if anyone calls you Nicholas, tell them to FU%$ off. You’re a Nick, God@#$%.
Like the great 1983 John Cusack movie quote, “Yeah, Nick. Nick’s a real name. Nick’s your buddy. Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car, Nick!”
But you do mind, trust me.