Date Sent: April 24th, 1996
Date Written: April 24th, 2013
Hey Andy, it’s you 17 years in the future!!
There’s so much that I want to tell you about the future, man! Technology’s come a long ways!! Imagine watching every TV show ever made on something the size of a wallet! Crazy, huh?! Also, video game graphics have improved A LOT, but sadly the games have not. Enjoy these next 5 years or so, as your interest in current video games will have petered out by then.
Let’s see, if memory serves, you’re finishing up 5th grade & going onto 6th, right? I hope I’m right. Your math skills don’t get any better in the future I’m afraid.
This new guy that Mom’s dating, Roger, is a real asshole, isn’t he? Yeah, I said asshole. I’m a grown-ass man in 2013, so deal with it, hehe!!
You’re probably starting to feel frustrated at all these changes lately, but you won’t start to rebel until you hit 6th grade. You’ll get sent to alternative school for a couple of weeks and begin to openly rebel less.
Are you seeing Dad every other weekend at this point? I have a lot to tell you about him that I’ll get to in a minute.
What’s on TV during this time? Power Rangers? Beast Wars? Batman? Spider-Man? God, I miss TV during your time! TV in the future is both good and bad, you just have to find the right stuff to watch.
Jon should be finishing up kindergarten at this point, right? He has a real bad time when he gets older that involves you, which he’s not willing to forgive you or himself for even during my time.
I suppose I should start talking about Dad at this point since he seems to be the root of most if not all of your inner problems.
He probably seems to be a totally changed man from the drunk sack of shit that he was almost a year ago. He’s showering you and Jon with gifts and is thinking about going back to college to get a double-doctorate so people can call him Doc-Doc, hehe!!
Don’t believe the hype. It’s just a facade. The fact of the matter is that Dad has mental health issues. Paranoia, manic-depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia; whatever the head doctors & social workers wanna call it that day. They pretend to know what’s going on, but let’s be honest, mental health is still a relatively new concept for small-town Ohio.
If you only get one thing from this letter, it’s this: none of this is your fault. No matter how many times and how many people say it is, it’s not. You’ll spend much of your adult life running What If… scenarios through your head. Don’t do that to yourself. Nothing good will come of it and you’ll just end up feeling even more miserable about yourself and where you are that you won’t be able to enjoy the now.
I’d like to say that the you in 2013 is a completely healed person, always happy and loving life. I’ve certainly come a long way, but I’m far from perfect. You can only get better or worse, and I choose to get better. Anyway, back to Dad.
Just a heads-up, all this nice-guy behavior is gonna start going sour when he meets Nancy. Don’t worry, she’s a nice person; but she does cause Dad to start drinking again, and sadly he won’t ever stop. Her kids are a mixed bag of nuts, but you get along with them just fine. You even manage to kick her oldest son Michael’s ass at Mortal Kombat Gold, which will be coming out in a few years.
Dad and Nancy start dating after her then-husband Scott dies in a motorcycle accident, and then his side of the family raids their house and takes everything. This is when things really start to go downhill. You notice Dad drinking more and him spending more sober time with Nancy than you or Jon.
Despite all this, you do manage to have some father-son bonding time with him. He would record shows all the time throughout the week and during the weekends you and Jon were there, all three of you would watch them. You would watch wrestling matches from the WWF and WCW together, as well as a show called DragonBall-Z. I still hold those memories close to my heart.
There were a lot of times when Mom wouldn’t understand how you were feeling about all these changes in your life, and Dad would be there to listen to you and he would totally understand everything. After you guys move, you would go to a pay phone & call him everyday after school and tell him about your day & any problems that you had.
While we get along with Mom, Dad understood our thought process the best. These are the things I miss the most about him.
We’re pretty deep into the letter now, so I think it’s about time I drop the bombshell on you. Dad dies of liver failure due to excessive drinking only a month after you graduate high school in 2004. Let me back up a bit, because this is where Jon’s current problems that involve you come from too.
During the summer vacation in 2002, you get to spend a good portion of your summer with Dad, and he’s pretty much drunk 24/7 at that point. You eventually get fed up with it, and you take Jon & have him write a letter saying that you both don’t want to see Dad until he cleans up his act. It’s this letter that Jon holds against you, but we’ll get to that in a sec.
Sadly, you don’t hear from Dad again until two years later when he goes to St. Rita’s hospital because his liver is failing and he’s dying. The doctors say that he has 6 months to live, but he’ll be taken to this place called Briarwood where you’ll be able to visit him again to say your goodbyes and make your peace. When Dad’s in the hospital, Roger (yeah, he’s still dating Mom, and they’ll get married a year later) will offer to drive you and Jon up to the hospital to visit him.
Visit him. As horrifying as it may be to see Dad all hooked up with tubes and whatnot, looking already half-dead with gray skin and long, dirty & greasy hair, man up and go. Take Jon with you. This will be your last chance to see him alive. Make your peace with him and get out of there. You don’t have time to be angry or mad at him for what he put you through; you only have time for forgiveness.
When you are at his funeral, Rick Barr, an old friend of his, will ask you and Jon if you inherited any of Dad’s musical talent or ear. You won’t have an answer for him, but that along with Mom’s encouragement will bring the guitar back into your life again.
For the love of God, practice and get good at the damn thing!! No half-assing it, mister! Also, try to form a band with some of your friends to help you get better.
Jon in 2013 is seriously not living up to what he could be. Admittedly, he’s way smarter than you and got better grades in school, but after barely graduating his senior year due to having a massive breakdown, his life has been one emotional roller-coaster after another. You suspect that the same mental illness that plagued Dad is also plaguing him, but because he doesn’t want to get help, you won’t know if he just has issues or if there’s something more to it.
As much as you have reached out to him and told him to get his shit straightened out and go to college, the only thing you can do is just be there for him when he needs his big brother. He keeps himself impossibly busy these days with a dead-end minimum-wage job, so he doesn’t talk to you or Mom much, which makes me feel really sad and alone.
I could tell you more about your life and your friends of the future, but honestly man, I don’t wanna ruin the surprise for ya!
Let’s just say that your current job in 2013 lets you travel all over the world, and while it may be a pain in the ass at times and you get homesick frequently, you make a lot of new friends and you become someone who inspires others around the world to do what you do. Also, you’re going to Japan in 2013; over 20 years after Terry & Terri moved out there!
Just remember to follow your own path and don’t be afraid to ask for advise from your friends and family, but don’t let others direct your life for you.
Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present. It may not always be gift-wrapped, but enjoy the present nonetheless.
I love you with all my heart,
P.S: Lay off the damn junk food and eat right when you get to college, otherwise you’ll end up getting fat. Seriously.