A few days ago, one of my best friends had a baby. When I held it for the first time, a few things came rushing over me.
1) WHY? WHY ARE YOU LETTING ME HOLD THIS? I JUST CALLED HIM AN "IT", I CLEARLY HAVE ZERO IDEA HOW TO CARE FOR THIS AND MAY DROP HIM AND THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN RETURN TO COSTCO, BUT WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT, WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE RETURN POLICY AT COSTCO, IT'S HORRIBLE AND THEY WOULD PROBABLY LET YOU RETURN A BABY IF YOU PINKY PROMISED YOU BOUGHT IT NEXT TO THE VACUUM CLEANERS OR THE CHILI THEY ARE SAMPLING THAT DAY THAT IS HIGH IN SODIUM YET STILL DELICIOUS.
2) I gave a shit.
I'm not saying I've never cared about babies before. They seem nice enough. I've double thumb-tapped an Instagram or two of them making a face that made me think, "who knew a face could make that face!" That's about the extent of it, though. In my adult years (I use the term "adult" rather loosely), no one in my close family has had children yet, so I just hadn't felt this.
To put it in context, this friend is my Clarissa, and I'm Sam. We grew up down the block from each other and I would go to her house nightly and walk right in. Sometimes I actually even came up to her room via ladder and borderline expected the small guitar twang to occur. She's the closest thing I had to a sister, and if you told 13 year old "stealing booze from our parents and riding around on our bikes" me that I'd see this girl have a freaking kid someday and things would pretty much still be the same old same old, my 13 year old head would explode.
But, I just held him, and though my adult head has not exploded yet, it's got a lot of things on its mind.
I looked that little Benjamin Button in the eye and felt an overwhelming urge to tell him things. You know that feeling you get when you get picked up at the airport and you hug the person, get in the car and you both smile because you have no idea where to even begin? It was that, but with someone who can't talk. (Or do anything, basically. Not being a dick, little man, it's just scientific fact if we're being blunt.)
So, Tanner, here's all the things I feel like telling you. I know you're zero years old and pretty much vacillate between an intense lip tremble and pooping your pants, but I've got tons of neurotic pieces of advice floating through my head and I figure someday you might find them useful.
1. Poop your pants as much as you can right now.
You've got license right now to essentially poop your pants whenever and wherever you want for a good amount of years. Don't feel like being at the restaurant anymore? Poop yourself. Don't feel like watching that show anymore? Poop yourself. Just feel like going poop? Poop yourself. If you do this when you're older, you're just the grown up who pooped themselves, and that will follow you around for the rest of your life. Do not take this for granted. Get pooping.
2. This is the last time crying as a male will be an attractive quality.
Much like pooping, crying gets much less cool the older you get. I know, I know. When you cry right now, it seems to unlock unlimited sympathy. This is only because you can't talk and we have no fucking clue what to do besides hug you. Learn words and it's over. As an overly sensitive male who has probably lost 3,947 girlfriends due to crying: get it out now, man. It doesn't go well later. Unless you stub your toe. That really hurts and you can make an argument for it.
3. Enjoy your hair.
You were born with more hair than I currently have now. In your baby head, I bet you're feeling pretty good about that. Maybe even pooping yourself in excitement (which, as stated earlier, is a fair reaction at this juncture.) Here's the thing: every day you are alive is one more day you're closer to being bald. Morbid? Sure, Tanner. It's morbid. But one day, you'll wake up and wonder why there are hairs on the pillow. Or the shower floor. Or EVERYWHERE TANNER. IT JUST FALLS OUT EVERYWHERE, AND YOU'LL NEVER BE THIS BEAUTIFUL AGAIN. While you can grow it, I recommend you try out an outlandish amount of hairstyles. Anything beyond the side part isn't quite doable past around 27 for most of us, so, get to work. Your parents are pretty cool and probably won't have a problem with whatever style you go with, and if they do, just say that Drew said you could and I'll totally take the hit (very small fist bump.)
4. This is the only time you can show your penis to strangers in an unoffensive manner for a long time.
Look, I'm not encouraging it. I'm just saying that later in life, it's illegal for the most part. You're living in a strange gray area where you can do a hodgepodge of wildly offensive/illegal things and it's not only okay, it's often humorous. Get weird. Be "that (very small) guy" at the 1 year old pool party. Fart loudly in public places. We'll high five you for it and try to teach you the word that best describes whatever you just did.
5. Learn as many languages as you can early.
Awww, is it sooOoOoOO hard to learn words right now? You know what's not hard later on in life if you learn them in multiple languages right now? Getting laid. Jeuh t'en prie, little man. Jeuh t'en prie.
6. It's okay to be a huge nerd, and probably lucrative, even though you don't know what the term lucrative means.
You're going to want to do things like "play sports", or "be a man." That's fine, and I encourage it and all that. But as I write this, most people who are rich in this world are dudes who got the crap kicked out of them in most phases of childhood because they were mouth breathers who wore pants with elastic waistbands and played Dungeons and Dragons or Magic The Gathering. That baby born in the room next-door to you in the hospital could already be learning how to code. DO YOU WANT TO BE LESS THAN HIM, TANNER? DO YOU? 0110101, LITTLE MAN. 0110101 NOW. However…
7. Start doing pushups and pull-ups as early as humanly possible.
You can make the part where you're a nerd easier if you just exercise early on. If I could have it back, I would've been ripping bicep curls at like age 6, because I'm 31 and still don't know how to do them right (and also don't do them, so.) If you're moderately jacked and doing nerdy crap, no one ever seems to have a problem with it throughout life. Plus, everyone makes fun of the kid who can't even do one pull-up on the physical fitness test day in middle school. Get ahead of it early.
8. Learn the lyrics to the song Wonderwall.
For some reason, everyone in every city, everywhere knows them. Even when you're old enough to read this, that will be true. Learn them. It's mostly just saying "wiiiinding" and "blindddddding" a lot of times so it's not that hard. More than anything, you'll look ahead of your time. And, no. I can't tell you what a wonderwall is, nor can anyone, because sometimes people make up words and you just have to roll with it, Tanner. Stop asking hypothetical questions before you can speak or read.
9. Stop texting at the dinner table.
It's rude. Maybe by the time you read this there's some mind computer or glasses that shoot laser texts or some sh*t like that. If that's the case, don't shoot laser texts at the dinner table. Your father worked very hard to grill whatever it is you're eating and he's very good at it. I know, because I've been drunk at your first house and had the things he grills or smokes and they are fantastic. Your laser texting can wait.
10. Commit to either Spider-Man or Batman early, and don't wafer.
This is more of a personal preference, I just think it's important to pick a side and stay on it. Whatever you do, don't pick Superman. At the end of the day, he's just a failing journalist who can fly and clean up nicely. Batman is a f*cking MAN THAT RESEMBLES A BAT and Spider-Man is a MAN THAT CAN ESSENTIALLY DO THE SAME CRAP SUPERMAN CAN AND ALSO SHOOT WEBS OUT OF HIS WRISTS. For the record, I'd say go with Batman. When he's not a man that's a bat, he's rich. Which is basically a super power, it turns out.
11. Open the door for people.
It takes zero effort and it's very nice.
12. Talk to strangers.
Look. Everyone's going to tell you not to talk to strangers. To be fair, it's pretty good advice until you've learned how to control your "need to get candy vs. need to not die or be kidnapped" general decision making skills. When you grow up a little, though, it's the best advice I can give. Strangers are interesting. You don't know them, they don't know you, and you'll have utterly fascinating conversations about utterly fascinating things. Talk to the lady on the bus. Talk to the person next to you on the airplane (unless they put their headphones on, you'll understand that once you get there). The best conversations I've had in my life are with people whose names I'll probably never know.
13. Don't look it up on WebMD.
Whatever you do, do not self diagnose on WebMD. It's too late for me, because as of now I have 3,987 types of cancer, 4,298 rare diseases and at least 13 avian flus (as I write this, I'm engaged in a text message back and forth with my friend who became a doctor due to a new bump near my jaw that I fear is, no doubt, irreparable jaw death syndrome.) You have the opportunity to be better than me. Don't look it up. Take an advil, you're fine.
14. Don't ever send out a mass invitation on Facbook. Ever.
For your sake, I really hope this isn't even a possible "thing" by the time you're old enough to do so, but just know this: Everyone will hate you if you do this. Especially if you do this for a nightclub event, and probably one that has a one word name like "spill." or something just awful. If you are distributing things for nightclubs on Facebook and you're reading this, something has gone horribly wrong and I can only imagine your reading this will have happened too late. I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do for you. I still love you, though. Just don't ask me for money. (Do you need money? I'll lend you some money.)
15. Tie your shoes before you get on an escalator.
I'm hoping by the time you've read this some future escalator has come out or they've been eradicated altogether because they are GIANT METAL DEATH MACHINES/the sharks of the transportation world. But if that's not the case, don't chance it and lace up. Look, I've never seen it happen, but I am 31 and I still don't trust those things. Since we're on the subject...
16. Learn how to tie a tie at a young age.
I'm 31 and still struggle with this. I've had to download an app (this will be an antiquated sentence when you can read at a fifth grade level, but still) that teaches me how to tie one to this day, and I'm pretty sure that's not doing it right.
17. Tell your Mom and Dad that you love them an outlandish amount of times and remember that you are a lucky duck, bub.
I wish you had known your Mother and Father before you were born. I've seen things, Tanner. Things maybe we can't talk about here. I've seen your Dad as the life of the party no less than 1,387 times. I've seen your Mother heralded as the Obama of young white females (okay I said that, and I was drinking, but it's valid, you just can't not like her.) I'm sure, as you read this, they are embarrassing you/have embarrassed you recently. But you've got two of the most fantastic parents a person could ask for. Let them know, or I'll come over tonight and talk to you about my emotions, which I have too many of. Either that or we'll talk about Jurassic Park, which we need to get started on as soon as you're ready because what if it happens, Tanner? What if we have to head back to Isla Nublar?
18. Wave if someone lets you into their lane while driving.
When I looked at you on day two of your life, you seemed like the type of guy that will no doubt do this someday. This one's really just more of a formality.
19. US Weekly and never InTouch.
And don't say you were just bored at the grocery store while checking out. Again, more of a formality, as I've heard from your Mom that this one has already gone into effect.
20. Make girls mixtapes.
Please, just trust me on this one. It may be the most important thing you ever learn to do.
Looking forward to getting to know you, little man.
Now get poopin'.
Rocket Shoes Mixtape 69: Music even a zero year old could get into.
STREAM IT at the links below:
DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE MP3′s at the links below: