Dear 15-year old me,
I am writing this to you from an age…considerably beyond 15.
If, by some miracle of Science, you actually receive this letter, stop reading now.
Seriously. Read no further.
I’m not kidding.
Life turned out just fine. Great, in fact. So keep doing everything you’re doing / I did, exactly as you’re doing it / I did it, and we’ll all end up happy.
Continuing to read this letter might cause you to alter course and screw everything up.
Sure, avoiding that impending wardrobe malfunction during the Christmas play sounds like a good idea to you, but it isn’t.
So. Stop. Reading. Now.
Who am I kidding? I know me. There’s no way 15-year old me will stop reading this letter, just like I didn’t stop reading the letter from 85-year old me.
(I hate to say it, but 85-year old me comes off as a lech. “Screw the ‘half your age plus seven’ rule!” indeed.)
Centerfolds in the paperback version of your books sounds like a great idea, but look at the type of fan you invariably attract!
OK, so 15-year old me, being young, reckless, and having no respect for your elders, clearly you’re still reading this letter.
Fine. I guess I can aim for small improvements.
Things that won’t alter the course of history, mine or Humanity’s in general.
I have four words for you:
Vinyl padded toilet seat.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Ew! Grampa toilet seat!”
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
These things are awesome.
First off, they’re soft. You can sit on the toilet, reading a book or surfing on your phone for hours, without that pesky leg-numbing consequence.
And yes, I said ‘surfing on your phone’. You’ll just have to wait to find out about that one. Suffice it to say, you are not surfing around inside the toilet on a phone.
Although that is a highly rated spectator sport in this time.
Not that I watch those contests. The people who watch them are vapid nihilists, not to mention imbued with incredibly poor taste.
Second, the vinyl stays cool during the summer. No more of that unpleasantness associated with sitting down on a hot, hard toilet seat. No sir!
Yes, the seat does stay cold during the winter, but that’s a mere trifle to fix! Just slip on the wool toilet seat cozy and you’re good to go.
Just make sure you get the machine wash safe wool cozy. Dry clean only is no fun.
Third, the vinyl cleans up so easily. All you need is a solvent-soaked rag, a respirator, and some bleach.
Unlike the leather padded toilet seats, which, by the way, turn out to be a short-lived fad.
Very. Short. Lived.
(Yes, I am taking a simple sentence and breaking it down into several one word sentences for dramatic effect. That’s how we write in the future. It’s. Legally. Mandated.)
But most importantly, the old toilet seat you replace with the padded vinyl one?
Superb blunt instrument.
Sure, the Missus will give you a lot of grief about throwing it out, or moving it into the garage, or anything but leaving it next to the bed.
(Yes, I said ‘Missus’. Turns out Becky Wallace was wrong in third grade when she said you’d die alone and unloved. If 85-year old me is to be believed, you don’t just not die alone, but you aren’t alone several times with a bunch of progressively younger Missuses! Although I got the sense money was a little tight when he finally got around to penning that missive.)
But you get the last laugh when, last night (mine, not yours), I (and, technically, you) am the victim of a home invasion robbery and I (there is only one hero in this story, and eventually it will be you) knock out the burglar with the discarded, supposedly useless, and surprisingly unyielding toilet seat.
Oh no, what have I done?
This is why you should have stopped reading this letter when I first told you!
Don’t you see? Now we’ve both been exposed to the deadly Toilet Seat Paradox.
What do I mean, your simple, uncomprehending 15-year old mind is asking?
I mean this:
Makes a marvelous swishy sound when you get up.
Late in life, I am introduced to the joy of vinyl toilet seats by my much younger seventh wife, who is also apparently fixated on getting me to up my life insurance policy.
One day, after that toilet seat is mysteriously coated with an excess layer of olive oil, I slip off and find myself mortally wounded. In the brief moments I have remaining, I scratch out a letter to my younger self on a sheet of toilet paper using, well, we won’t go into what I used for ink.
And against all odds, that cry for help reaches me (my me, not your you).
Middle-aged me (that’s me again, not you, because if 15 is middle age for you, that would be really sad and I would be dead right now, which is even sadder), being distracted by the young kiddos running around, focuses on the opening of that letter, the joys of vinyl padded toilet seats, rather than the dangers associated with them and younger seventh wives with an affinity for olive oil.
Naturally, I (that’s middle-aged me, not 85-year old me) rush out to try one of these fabled toilet seats, fall in love with it, and as a result, end up owning one before my murderous future wife can introduce them to me.
I can only presume that in so doing, I learn of the importance of checking for oily residue on the toilet seat early enough that I survive the attempt on my 85-year old life.
I certainly hope that’s the case. I don’t want to die so young!
In addition, I also inadvertently provide myself with a weapon to fend off that home invasion robber. If I hadn’t had that toilet seat, the thief would have made off with my priceless collection of Troll Dolls.
(By the way, get in on that Troll Doll action right now. The sooner the better. Those things don’t just hold their value, if you keep them in the original packaging, they end up being worth two, sometimes even three times their original value!)
However, the paradox doesn’t end there.
In my enthusiasm for vinyl padded toilet seats, and with my judgement clouded by the sense of relief that my Troll Doll collection is safe, I feel compelled to write you a letter, extolling the virtues of this comfy bathroom accessory.
As a result, and foolishly ignoring my warnings, you buy a vinyl padded toilet seat decades before I first buy one.
Which means, by the time you buy a house and marry the Missus, hard wood toilet seats are a part of your distant past.
A fading, unpleasant memory.
And that means you don’t buy a vinyl padded toilet seat last week (my last week, not yours), and so you (by which I mean I) don’t have that old wood toilet seat by the bed last night (my last night, possibly quite literally).
Which means that I don’t have a blunt instrument to fend off that robber, and I am either dead or too despondent over the loss of my Troll Doll collection to write you this letter.
And. That. Is. A. Bad. Thing.
So please, whatever you do, don’t buy a vinyl padded toilet seat until you get that letter from 85-year old you.
It’s the only way we’ll survive the Toilet Seat Paradox.