Note to Self


October 19, 2012 by benmblackman

I’ve been watching a budding romance develop on my train to work over the last few weeks. Two college students, aged just seventeen. I so want to tell him, ‘she fancies you, don’t you know? I know you can’t imagine that, what with your spots and all, but see the way she looks at you, the way she plays with her hair, laughs every time you say something, giggles nervously every time she replies. I’m telling you, she fancies you, and it’s obvious you like her so, why don’t you ask her out?’

Don’t worry, I’m not a girl. So I have decided to keep out of this arrangement (like girls should). Don’t tamper with fate, you are not cupid!

I think it’s for the best but it has got me thinking – what advice would you give yourself age seventeen? This won’t help you but, here’s what I’d say if I met myself back in 1996:

Stop worrying about how you look, everybody else is so paranoid about their own appearance they are doing exactly the same so they’re not even noticing you.

That said, don’t wear those beige jeans so much they’re not cool bro.

When Granny asks if you want her to wash said beige jeans you won’t think so now but, in later years, you’ll be glad she Corby trouser pressed them for a full 95 minutes creating a crease so sharp you can never wear them again!

Don’t drink so much.

Drink more (you’ll have responsibilities one day and won’t be able to go out late and sleep in).

Don’t smoke, it’s not cool and it’ll be difficult to kick later in life.

Mum and Dad totally know you smoke. You’ll need to do better than a few Polo’s and your sister’s Impulse spray on your clothes to hide the smell you idiot!

You know in a years time on your 18th birthday? When that girl who you have fancied for, like, ever comes into your bedroom late that night, do one thing for me yeah? Don’t be sick on her. ONE THING, YOU ONLY HAVE TO DO ONE THING DAMN IT – not be sick on the girl.

Don’t drive like that. It’s not big, it’s not clever and you will look like a dick head regardless of how fast you drive if you are doing so in your Mum’s 1.1 litre Fiesta Popular Plus (with religious fish emblem on the back).

Talking of religion – on Easter Monday when Dad forces you to give him a hand with ‘something’ it’s a trick, a cruel trick I tell you. Whatever you do, do not help him carry an 8 foot high wooden cross through the town centre back to the church. Do anything not to be there. The words ‘it’s Jesus fucking Christ’ echoing around the band stand from the cool kids will haunt you forever!

You’re actually pretty good you know? People like you and you’d do well if you bothered trying harder.

Get a job. Seriously, it’s easier than the lengths you go to avoiding getting one (remember the time you watched a whole 4 day county cricket match whilst pretending to job search)? Yes, seeing Graham Gooch score a double century is something you could never buy in later life but the debt you’ll have due to your laziness age 17-20 is a constant burden in the future.

Don’t believe you’re as clever as you think you are. As if Dad thought you were searching for a job!

Read more books. (FHM doesn’t count as a book).

Well done keeping away from drugs – they wouldn’t be good for you.

These seriously are the best days of your life but don’t worry, the rest are just as good in different ways too. You’re a lucky bugger so stop stressing, there’s plenty of time for that later.

You might not think it in a few weeks time but thank your lucky stars Dad has to come to the parents evening when Mr Williams delivers that report. The fact the big fella makes you stay in the I.T class when you are ready to drop out, will mean you work harder and learn giving up isn’t the best thing to do. A valid lesson that sparks you into action and means you get enough points to go to university (just)…(through clearing)…(just)…(university being Liverpool John Moores – Polytechnic).

I’ll come back and let you know more once you’re eighteen ok? For now, easy on the Lynx Insignia and I’ll see you soon.

Love, Your Future Self.


Give Granny a hug from me and eat as many of those jam tarts as you can. She won’t be here forever.


6 thoughts on “Note to Self

  1. 1996 hey! I like this, a lot. You have helped me to feel happy, nostalgic, and a bit sad all in one go. Just one further thing – for 1996 – listen to more music the 90’s rock!

  2. Karen Appleby says:

    Brilliant read. Spot on x

  3. Kylie says:

    Nice one Ben. You’re actually pretty good, you know?

    • benmblackman says:

      I see what you did there. You are my official Australian PR rep ok? Don’t worry, if the writing doesn’t lead to fame and fortune, I’ve always got the tennis to fall back on!

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