So, let me get this right. I drop a quarter into the Zoltar Fortune Machine and the next morning, I’m back as a twelve-year-old? I can imagine how many bloggers will absolutely hate that idea; especially, the women. Mostly, because they probably felt awkward, unpopular, and picked on as children. I have to admit schadenfreude, but I am looking forward to what I think will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the responses to this prompt pile up.
Like everyone else, I was picked on at times and as far as I remember, was never cool or popular. I regularly embarrassed myself by saying and doing stupid things. I failed miserably many times, but for reasons I still don’t understand, I kept coming back for more. I’m hard-headed like that.
The prompt wasn’t specific, so I’m going to make a couple of assumptions: 1) I’m in the same body I was at twelve. 2) Same school, same home, and same parents. But I’m not sure that matters much. 3) Since the prompt did not mention time travel, the year is 2014. This will matter greatly.
My response to suddenly being my twelve-year-old self in 2014 with the benefit of a quarter century of life experience?
Lock up your daughters.
Lock up you wife.
Lock up your backdoor
and run for your life.
I suspect my mother supplemented my breast feedings as an infant with steroids, because I developed early. I don’t think she supplemented me at all for the breast feedings past infancy. The other kids in school would have said something. Right?
At twelve, I was six feet tall (with another two inches to go, as it turned out) and a smidgen over 200 pounds. I wasn’t as muscular as I am now. I was strong and athletic, but clumsy as a newborn moose. I towered over all of my classmates and most of my teachers. I learned quickly that physicality and athleticism is one very effective way to navigate middle school.
A good analogy is prison. The first order of business is to establish your bona fides by pummeling the living hell out of someone. Preferably, someone bigger than you and with whom you have no beef. Yes, there may be consequences from the various levels of authorities, but I guarantee you will only have to do it once because word travels fast. Big Brother is not everywhere and a sufficiently thorough thrashing turns people into John Banner saying, “I know NOTHING, Hogan.”
Having established social dominance (and let’s be honest, even being led away in handcuffs, the goal would be accomplished), I would go about gathering my harem. Now, according to my wife and mother, assuming they are telling the truth, I was a good looking kid. I have seen the pictures of me from that age and I do not disagree. My problem at twelve was that I was unaware of the fact. So, combine a good looking middle schooler who is able to draw upon my experience…ahem, wooing women? I would do well.
When I was growing up, I firmly believed that my parents were Asian because they believed in the Korean Grading Scale:
A – Average
B – Below average
C – Can’t have dinner
D – Don’t come home
F – Find another family
Luckily, I have never found academics terribly difficult or challenging, so I wouldn’t study any harder than I did. I might hit the math a little more, but overall, my grades were mostly B’s because that was the sweet spot of blurring through the work as fast as possible and keeping my parents mostly off my back about grades.
I figured out in college that C’s got degrees, which was never explained to me as a child. I was that jackass most people disliked because for half of my classes, I showed up the first day and on test days. I also completed just enough of the test to earn the grade I desired and left the rest blank. I once refused to do a project that was worth a quarter of the overall grade because I had earned sufficient points for the semester to get my C without it. The professor was quite miffed when I pointed out the syllabus specified grades were on an accumulation basis and nowhere did it say the project was mandatory.
What can I say? Over seventy is over kill. And my attitude as a tween wasn’t much better. That is probably why I am suffering the Mother’s Curse.
But the big thing I would do would be to not take life or myself as seriously as I did. I would cut class more often. Instead of experimenting with beer, I would refined my palate on Scotch. And even though I was a voracious reader, I would read even more. Twelve was also about the age I began writing. I would definitely write more. How much could I have written had I applied the discipline I have now?
I would spread the word that there is no such thing as a “permanent record.” The closest thing we have to that is the internet. I would also tell my grandmother I loved her more often. She died when I was twelve. But now, I’m changing the rules to allow for time travel.