Monday, March 13, 2006

Time-machine strategies for personal growth and wealth acquisition.

I am 36ish. I have middling career in an idiotic industry. However, being clever, I have hatched a flawless plan using a time machine. IF ONLY I HAD A GODDAMN TIME MACHINE.

Set the time machine to 1983. Am now a 36ish year old mind/soul in a 14-year old’s coltish and shrimpy body.

First things first – Buy some normal clothes. Jeans and some oxford shirts. Nothing crazy. I do keep the checkerboard sweater vest, as it is kind of retro, though no one knows it. Forego topsiders and cargo pants. Do not long for Ray-Bans.

Get a haircut, with hair off the ears, or perhaps let it grow long. Just not the length it is now. Although, layoff the conditioner. I don’t need it.

Now that I realize that high school is a pleasant way to pass the hours between nine and three, I apply myself. I do not fidget. I do my homework, which is a cinch.

I try to not to sprinkle no many 36 year oldism (doing book reports on Don DeLillo, speaking knowledgably about the effects of cocaine, or about certain aspects of the female anatomy. Although, do not appear to have too much of an informed prospective of the career prospects of the Thompson Twins or Bananarama.) in my dealings with my fellow students, my teachers and my family.

I also am a hit with the ladies, as I am now conscience of the limited charm of wearing the same sweater everyday or jeans bleached in a random pattern. I will not attempt to blow in girls’ ears when slow dancing. I will talk more and share my love of fart jokes with a close and trusted circle of friends.

I will not be a goon, and will work diligently in moving Kim out of friendship mode and into a higher level of being mode. (Of course, I am actually 36, so maybe this is creepy. Okay, so it’s a lot creepy.)

I will not pursue a certain E, as she was, in retrospect, a skank. When Chrisse gives me a ride in her VW, I will endeavor to speak. Not that it would lead anywhere, but merely as a matter of pride.

Taking my money from my department-store vacuuming (where my boss was literally retarded. Maybe I try to hook up some better jobs) and sandwich making jobs, I invest in Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Apple, and IBM. Not Commodore.

I will take acid with Sean and Christian. I will smoke a lot less pot. Or maybe not. Maybe my 36ish mind will be able to handle it.


With my now 40 year old mind making hash of the piddling obligations of High School, colleges and universities are pounding my door down.

This is where I wander into realms that might be considered illegal, or at least morally wiffy.

For, during college (Harvard?), I cynically crib the text of Chuck Palahniuk’s first four published novels from copies smuggled into the time machine. There maybe some time paradox here that will make the universe blow up, but that doesn’t concern me now, as living bi-temporally has released me from the petty bourgeoisie concerns of morality. I am beyond good and evil. But a motherfucker still needs to eat.

I do manage to plagiarize Michel Houellebecq’s excellent essay on H.P. Lovecraft -- Against the World, Against Life -- for a 100-level English class, causing a stir within the Academe.

I get “Fight Club” published a full ten years before it is actually published “back home”.

Why Chuck Palahniuk? Not because I necessarily think he’s amazing (I liked “Fight Club” okay), I just think you can always find a publisher for that sort of thing, and there’ll always be a group of pained hipsters hungry for middle-brow hooey. Like me. There is also the need for a writing style that isn’t too complicated and deep, so when I’m interviewed by Elle, I can fake it.

Flush from the profits from “Fight Club” I drop out of Harvard. A film version is made in 1994, staring Billy Zane. It does poorly.


For the next three years I publish one Palahniuk/Mills novel a year. A diesel mechanic from Eugene Oregon goes missing. People know him as Chuck.

When people ask me when the next the book is coming out, I tell them they’re all wet, ‘cause novels is a dead sucker scene. I punch Joyce Carol Oates in the neck.

I got me a Rock and Roll band. (At Harvard, I learn to play guitar and manage to find a crew of four competent and cute musicians that do EXACTLY as I say.) My band? Well, we’re called THE ARCTIC MONKEYS. (This is like 1993.)

It the start of the long grunge winter, but we rise above with our slashing guitars and biting lyrics. People go nuts. I get richer. (Even more richer when I crank out the screenplay for a totally sweet-ass film called “Dumb and Dumber”. Nice!)

I retire to Martinique, where I run for Prime Minister. I win, and promptly free the slaves, or whatever. Then I invent the hypertext markup language, and the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.

Thus I start the global networking revolution, allowing people to share files remotely. This new informail network is called the Wow Wow Wow. A computer scientist at CERN goes missing.

I come back to the states, tan and fabulous, date and bed most women I meet.

Bored and sickened by my hideous Dorian Gray existence, I take a job at an ad agency, where I meet a woman named Paula, whom I am mysteriously attracted to. We marry, have two kids, Ruby and Owen, and have a giant fucking RANCH in Marin County. We quit our jobs in and retire to the ranch, where I write the score for what was Henry Brant’s Pulitzer Prize winning composition Ice Field, that is until I did a Palahniuk on him.

I am now 36, with the mind of a 72 year old. Which isn’t far off from my current condition.

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Blogger Ahmad Kamal Abu Bakar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Ahmad Kamal Abu Bakar said...

Hey Greg, this is pretty funny stuff! i always daydream about going back in time, with my 33 year old mind into 15 or 16, bringing along copies of those stuff you wrote about.
bloody hillarious!
my new blog is in Malay, so I guess you wouldn't understand it, but hey, you can always check it out if you like.
cheers from Malaysia.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Jack P Toerson said...

This is damn good cherry pie Greg.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Thanks, gents. M(Ikon) -- will visit and pretend I understand.

9:41 AM  
Blogger G. said...

Man, if I knew then what I know now, a certain hot tub occasion with two beautiful ladies vying for my attention would have gone very, very differently--in the sense that something might actually have happened.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...


And I don't mean the older man at the bus stop, either.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Ahmad Kamal Abu Bakar said...

yeah..if i knew better back then, the ten bucks that 15 year old girl gave me would actually lead to something. damn.
oh yeah, Greg, if you scrolled down a bit further you would also understand these words and phrases: 'Chuck Palahniuk', 'Fight Club', 'existentialism', 'Situationist', 'Nietzsche', 'Henry Miller', 'Hell is other people', and ones that i particularly like to use frequently: 'punk rock', and 'D'OH!'

7:36 PM  

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