Not quite sure how this happened, but on Saturday night I watched 17 Again on HBO.
The movie stars Matthew Perry as a 38-year-old schlub whose life is falling apart. He wishes he can return to high school and correct past mistakes. So, thanks to a magic janitor (who sorta looks like the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island), Perry is made 17 again. Wackiness ensues.
I actually enjoyed this film, though I’d happily turn 17 again if I’d be guaranteed to look like Zac Efron and not Matthew Perry or, ahem, me. Although it was clearly a deep-as-a-dime vehicle made with hopes of driving teenage girls to the theatre, it got me thinking about what I would do were I to return to high school, only blessed with the knowledge I now possess:
1. I’d kick ass in basketball. I really would. As a freshman and a sophomore I was cut from Mahopac High’s team. But I knew nothing about the game—how to play defense, how to position for a rebound, the pump fake. I’m not saying I’d be a star, but I’m pretty sure, at 6-foot-2, I’d be solid for 10 points and 12 boards a night. That makes me the starting power forward—sixth man at worst.
2. I’d kiss a girl. This was a sore point for a long time, because I never kissed a girl in high school. Not one. Why? Primarily insecurity … a lacking of self-confidence. So what would I do differently? In truth, I’d drink. A lot more. One day, when my kids are teens, they might find this and take it to heart (Which wouldn’t be so great for my marriage). But, just being honest, I’d be slammin’ the Zima and Bartles & James. Not because I like getting drunk, but because—in college—most of my early hookups were directly related to alcohol consumption. Such is life.
3. I’d punch the school bully in the f$#@%ng mouth. Like, I’d sucker punch him. Hard. I’d practice for weeks and weeks, maybe even buy an affordable brass knuckle set. Then—POW! Odds are he’d proceed to kill me. But I’d have respect and self confidence, instead of tiptoeing around, hoping this guy wasn’t waiting behind the next corner.
4. I’d study harder. Really, I would. And then I’d try getting into Harvard. Have you seen the place? Absolutely amazing. And life-changing, educationally.
Of course, then maybe I wouldn’t be here. At the Atlanta Bread Company. Writing my blog.