On the night of July 4th, the birthday of our country, Sophia and I had a fight about cleaning the house. Sophia’s new policy: arguing is bad for her health, so if there is any conflict, we should go into separate rooms. Since this disagreement was getting too intense, I left the house and sat inside my car.
It was nine o’clock and fireworks were just beginning at the Redondo Beach Pier. I thought of driving down to the pier, but I was in too crabby a mood to celebrate. I could hear the fireworks in the air. I opened the car window and looked up to see if I catch a glimpse of the spectacle, but I couldn’t see a thing.
Just then, a shooting star floated over my house. OK, there is the possiblity that it was an errant piece of firecracker that some local kid set off, but I thought it was a shooting star. As is the tradition, I made a wish.
“Being an adult is too complicated. I wish things were simpler and easier. I wish I was thirteen years old again.”
I waited for a moment, then looked into the overhead mirror to see if I had transformed, changing in the way people do in countless Hollywood movies. Sadly, my same goofy face looked back at me, still unshaven.
So much for shooting stars. Another myth to add to Snopes.
I was going to close my eyes and take a nap, when I heard a rustling in the back seat. It freaked me out. My first thought that it was some drunk sleeping, or worse — an angry pigeon who flew in through the window.
But it was a boy who sat up. The boy was about thirteen years of age. The boy was ME.
“Where am I?” asked the young Neil.
“Holy crap!” I said, in shock. I looked out the window and rose my fist to the sky. “You f***ing stupid shooting star! You were supposed to make ME thirteen years old again, not bring back the younger ME!”
“Who are you?” asked my younger version.
“I’m YOU, only as an adult.”
“You’re ME?” he screamed. “What the hell… do you mean in the future, I end up living IN A CAR?”
“No… no… no… in the future you end up marrying a very beautiful woman.”
“Really? Like Phoebe Cates beautiful?”
“Yes, but there are some problems. You see… we had a fight tonight, so I decided to come into…”
“You mean you DO live in car?”
Young Neil pouted like a child, but only for a few moments, then he quickly overcame the hurt with a confidence that I hadn’t seen in myself for years.
“Forget her. Just move into your penthouse on Central Park West… the one we always planned on. I’m sure with your salary as a world renowned magician and astronaut…”
“Well, things didn’t happen EXACTLY the way we planned.”
“Yes, we’re living in the car.”
Little Neil started to cry. It was very painful to watch. I hate disappointing people. I hate to upset other bloggers. I get depressed when I falter in the eyes of Sophia. But there is nothing worse than letting down your OWN thirteen year old self. I had to tell him something positive about his future, something hopeful that he could hold on to…
“Cheer up, Neil. Your penis is going to grow a lot bigger.”
“Really?” said the newly joyous young boy. “How big?”