A personal post to start off today, if you’ll indulge me…
One of the hidden benefits no one tells you about when your parents get divorced when you’re still a kid is that your childhood artifacts and mementos are rarely, if ever, gone.
Fact is, with all of your stuff divided into two dwellings for the rest of your parents’ life, chances are one or the other will give you a call periodically over the next 25 years (as mine have) and tell you something like “Hey, I was going through the attic and found a bunch of your old projects from school, and your 4th grade report card, and a whole lot of other crap. Want it?”
To which I always say “Of course.”
So it was that I got a call like that from my dad last week, and when I saw him a few days later I was enthralled and thrilled to find that yes, I’d passed 4th grade (“Michael is a pleasant person who always tries his best!” Mr. Zimmerman wrote), that I was a runner-up in the 1989 Town of Smithtown tennis tournament (that’s me in all my giant-glasses, huge-Afro glory on the left up there, and yes, I, too wonder looking at that pic how I wasn’t swarmed by girls wanted to date me), and that apparently for a spell in 3rd grade I had much better handwriting than I do now.
But what really struck me as interesting was finding a five-page printout called “My Autobiography,” which from the proceeding details I can tell was written when I was a junior in high school. I’m guessing it was some class exercise designed to get us used to writing college application essays, and in re-reading it I was transported back in time to the spring of 1992. It’s rare that as an adult we get to read a piece of self-analysis from decades ago, so I dove right in.
Full disclosure: I wasn’t the happiest of kids in high school, wasn’t popular, looked gawky and geeky, and so I nodded and winced when I read my opening statement that, despite adults “always telling me that these are the best years of my life, … I just don’t think this is as good as life gets.”
I went for a little bit about my “accomplishments” so far, some nice self-puffery about my modest junior tennis career, my grades (I was a B student) and my other activities. I was glad that my memory is correct in that by then I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster or sportswriter (I wanted to be the next Marv Albert, but alas, it never happened.)
But what really struck me all these years later was what I wrote about my parents’ divorce, which had occurred just two years prior.
“Life has a way of changing you before you’re ready and forcing you to grow up sooner than you want to,” I wrote, “and that’s what this did… “I’m a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason… I believe that the reason for my parents’ divorce was to show me that life isn’t always fantasyland and sugar-coated, and that yes, this could happen to me. As unbelievable as this might seem, I actually believe the divorce benefited me a little, because it showed me what the real world was all about.”
I winced reading that, because I don’t remember thinking that or writing that at all back then. I’m surprised that just two years after it happened, I had moved from denial about my parents splitting up into “this is going to help me in life.” In my memory, I didn’t get anywhere close to “this divorce is a good thing” until well into college. I’m surprised at my cynicism here; my parents had a terrific relationship post-divorce, and still do, and yet here I am at age 16 talking about how this forced me to grow up sooner, and how that’s a good thing.
It really is interesting how in life our memories so often clash with reality. My 11th-grade self sounds a lot healthier, psychologically, than I remember.
**Next up today, this struck me as incredibly cool. With dude-bros everybody looking for a cool or different kind of bachelor party, I think we’ve finally found one that blows away the “Vegas trip” or “strip club” genre. Check this out: The Dublin Wax Museum in Ireland now owns and rents out an old Popemobile made for John Paul II in 1979. The Museum “pimped” it out by giving it 15 seats, including a papal throne you can sit on (or throw up on, if you’ve already had a few too many pints of Guinness. There’s also a rooftop viewing balcony (“Dudes, check out the view from up here!)
For the low low price of $388, you and your buddies can cruise Dublin and violate every rule the church holds dear.
What a world we live in!
**And finally today, it’s been FAR too long since I’ve written about one of my favorite blog topics: Robots taking over the world. But thanks to the brilliant minds in Germany, robot world domination is one step closer. Please meet the “BlessU-2,” a robot designed to offer blessings, and forgive your sins, with a touchscreen, glowing hands and it speaks five different languages!
Can’t you just see in the future, instead of going to confession 10-year-old altar boys who stole wine just have to punch in a few buttons on a robot and, poof!, salvation?
Sounds good to me. Course, I’m Jewish, so …