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An Open Letter To My Son 11 Years From Now

Be kind, but not ingratiating. Be sweet, but not phony. Be confident, but not conceited. Stick to your guns, but know when it's OK to compromise. Show your intelligence, but don't be a know-it-all.
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To Be Read on October 8, 2020

My Dearest, Darling Juban Princeling Son:

Happy 12th birthday! I hope you are studying hard for your Bar Mitzvah and not beating up too much on your younger sibling.

I'm writing to you from the year 2009 to give you some advice. By the time you read this I'll know you better and may have different things to say to you, but for now, before you are even a year old, here is what I have to tell you about life.

Here is everything you will ever need to know about girls and women in every capacity and every stage of your entire life:

We are complicated and you will never understand us, so don't bother to try.

While we are on the subject of girls, I feel I should warn you: You may have some bad karma coming your way, courtesy of your evil mother and some of the bad, bad, bad things she did in her vile youth.

For a while when I was an adolescent I was a total bully to boys. Not even boys I liked, though a few were that, but just because I could. I beat the crap -- sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally -- out of any boy who annoyed me. Some probably still bear the scars on their arms of my then-infamous dagger-like nails.

When I got older I was mean to some very nice guys whose only crimes were that they liked me and wanted to date me. Long before teenagers were hooking up and breaking up over Facebook (is that still around in 2020? And if so, can I friend you?), I dumped a guy over instant messaging. This was still the mid-90s when that sort of thing was considered quite rude. I didn't care. He was a bad kisser on our third date, so one evening when he found me on instant messenger I broke it off.

I have a few other stories like that, but you get the idea. Your mother was a very mean lady when it came to the men in her life. And so my advice to you there is that whenever a girl or woman treats you badly, just walk away from her. Have some dignity and self-respect and don't let her use you for her doormat.

That said, do show women respect if you like them. Be kind, but not ingratiating. Be sweet, but not phony. Be confident, but not conceited. Stick to your guns, but know when it's OK to compromise. Show your intelligence, but don't be a know-it-all. Be supportive, but don't be intimidating. Talk about yourself, but know when to listen.

Basically, just watch your father. Somehow, despite all my bad karma, your father fell in love with me enough to marry me and want to have babies with me. Clearly he's doing something right.

And, if you figure out that you prefer boys to girls, then all this still applies.

Finally, when the day comes that your grandfather offers to take you to your first strip club -- and that day will come -- it's OK to say no to him.

Drugs and Alcohol
I'm not going to be a hypocrite and tell you not to do these things. Your father and I have already discussed our future policy regarding drinking alcohol and by now you know it, so I won't recap here.

What I will say is that there is a time and a place for everything, including trying drugs and getting drunk. And that time and place is called "College." You have four relatively responsibility-free years to get it all out of your system. (Into your system?)

Just please be careful. Stay with friends. Don't drive under the influence. Don't hurt yourself or put yourself in a position where you could get hurt. Don't overdo it.

And take it from your dear old mom: always have plenty of sweet and salty snacks on hand so you avoid 2am runs to the grocery for ice cream and chips, which you then eat in the check-out line and then forget you did that and get home and wonder where all your ice cream and chips went. Or so I've heard.

And some day when your grandfather offers you a joint, remember: just say "No" to Grandpa.

When it comes to drinking, I have absolutely nothing against it. Your father and I drink, as you know by now. But, in my opinion there are only four occasions when it is acceptable to get drunk after college:
1. You have just suffered the death of someone you love very much
2. You are on vacation
3. It's your birthday
4. I finally get my wish: the Red Sox move to the National League so the Yankees can sweep them in the World Series

That said, let me know when you learn to play Flip Cup so we can be on a team together.

Here are the careers I have in mind for you:

-New York Yankee
-Doctor (so you can hook me up with free Paxil for the rest of my life)
-Accountant (so you can do your father's and my taxes for free)
-Professional ballroom dancer (so you can be my partner when I'm finally on Dancing With the Stars - the first mother/son team!)

Here are the careers your father has in mind for you:
-Supreme Court Justice

Here are the careers your uncles have in mind for you:

Whatever you wind up doing (*coughdancercough*), make sure you feel passionate about it and it gives you joy.

Well, son, that's about all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll have lots more to say when you actually turn 12. Now, go do your homework and practice those aleyahs!


P.S. Should the time come when you feel the need to rebel against me and your dad and you want to be bratty and annoying and mean to us, just remember: I have a collection of your baby photos I've titled, "Future Bar Mitzvah/Wedding Slide Show," that I will show to all of your friends.