SMOKE: Meeting Yourself
Originally published: 13 November 2003
I had the most amazing dream last night. I can't remember much about it but the thrust of it was that I was 60 years old and one day I looked over the garden fence and living next door was myself - age 10.
The most amazing part of the dream was that the mini-me seemed perfectly accepting of me and was mighty happy to be my mate.
I remember apologising to him for looking the way I did at age 60, but I assured him that throughout his life he was going to have the most awesome, mind-blowing sex.
It was really weird seeing myself so young - oddly enough I looked exactly as I used to at that age (often your dream distorts reality, but in this case it was a picture-perfect image of myself more than two decades ago, complete with brown check shirt, tight little brown shorts with a sewn-in, white and brown elastic belt, leather sandals and a pudding bowl haircut - gotta hate the '70s).
I also got to see what I will look like at age 60 and it seemed a pretty realistic version of what I will look like should I reach that age, which in all honesty is highly unlikely.
I could see that the mini-me was a little disappointed that he was going to be a wrinkly old fart but he seemed like an open, intelligent kid and as such I knew he would be alright.
I've never had a dream that is so open to all manner of psychological examinations and I'm sure a shrink would have a field day explaining all the hidden meanings of it to me.
But I was more intrigued by the concept of actually meeting a younger version of myself and it got me thinking about how I would like to see myself the other way round - as the little kid, looking into his future to see what it held for him.
My overwhelming feeling as the old me was that I hoped the little me wasn't disappointed in what he would become and since I woke up I've had some serious introspection going on.
How would I want to see myself and what would I have done differently in my life if - as a child - I had known what was in store for me?
The benefit of meeting mini-me was that I could tell him what pitfalls to avoid, which direction to take, how to deal with the various obstacles which really have been thrown in my path throughout my life, and so on.
I can't remember what advice I gave him in the dream, but here is the advice I would give him should I ever meet him again.
The first thing I would tell him is that he is in no way inferior to any other human being, no matter what anyone told him.
I would tell him that despite his frail physicality his greatest weapon against the world is his mind, because although there are bigger boys around who have the ability to hurt him, one day they will not be able to use that physicality to hurt anyone else as there are consequences as an adult for doing so.
He, on the other hand, will always have his brain, and will always be able to use it. There is no greater weapon on this Earth than intelligence.
I would point out to him how to recognise incompetence early and how to avoid those who perpetrate it. I would assure him that while so many incompetent people seem to be able to make a success of their life, the cost of that success is their integrity and while integrity isn't an automatic guarantee of success, the success that comes with it is beyond reproof and therefore all the more impressive and fulfilling.
I would tell him to avoid drinking bottles of tabasco neat when pissed, as it leads to irreparable stomach problems. On a similar note I would point out that while doos-wyn is a short-term fix to an evening with no money, the long-term result is less than desirable.
I would instruct him to make as much money as humanly possible - without it life is a misery, no matter how lofty your ideals. To do this he would need to avoid trying to become an actor, because no matter how romantic his vision of it the reality is always different.
I would tell him not to shun his musical ability and that taking Latin for matric is not as clever as taking music instead.
I would let him know that he will discover he has an ability to write music and that he is to pursue it as a career at the expense of all else.
I would tell him to believe in his ability in this regard and to get over the nagging doubts that will plague him as they do any tortured artist - people will like his music and he will be able to make a profitable career out of it.
But he needs to stick at it and not get himself into a position where it is impossible for him to pursue it.
Finally - I would tell him to recognise a good woman when he sees her and to grab her before any other filthy bastard gets his hands on her.
I would tell him what she looks like, what her name is and where he can expect to find her, but would instruct him not to let on to her that he was given this information by a version of himself who was 50 years older and who spoke to him in a dream.
I would tell him to have sorted out any residual anger he still carries from the past before he meets her, so that she will not have to deal with it.
And I will make sure that he knows that if he doesn't treat her as a man should treat a woman - with respect and love - he can expect another version of myself to be visiting him sometime soon after meeting her. The version which he doesn't - at any cost - want to meet.
Then I'd slip a little note into his school bag with all the results of every sports match ever played in his future and set him up with a contact at the tote and a hefty deposit in his bank account with which to make his fortune.
I wish I'd met me earlier.
All Smoked Out,