02/12/2013 03:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Note From My 21-Year-Old Self


I found this while in a manic cleaning fit the other day, a declaration from 2006 to quit drinking the following year. Needless to say, missed the boat on that one:

I'm going to quit drinking after New Years. It's not so much a resolution, as a necessity. It also sounds far simpler than it actually is. The back-story is, my liver is all kinds of inflamed and drinking sure as hell isn't helping the healing process. Several people have already told me to stop drinking, including my friends, my friends' parents and my doctor. It's not like I haven't heard them, or even that I don't care. Rather, for someone who has admired, even glorified alcoholics all of his adult life, putting down the bottle has proven a Herculean feat, made even worse by the timing of these events. Not only is it the holiday season, but it's the beginning of the drinking season. I just turned 21, for Judy's sake and suddenly the world wants me to abstain from what is really my innate right: to get as fucked up as I can without worry or repercussions. One only has a small window in which one can drink too much, use drugs too often and make a general idiot of oneself before hunkering down with Responsibility and Maturity. Talk about a buzzkill. So of course I'm reluctant to stop drinking, to grow up, to accept my fate, especially since it feels like I've been doing that for years, anyway. But I'm tired. And I may have reverted a bit in my maturation, or perhaps just found a new way of escaping the inevitable. As I sip on a screwdriver at my desk, I realize that, yes, I do need to stop, however, self-preservation has not been ranking particularly high on my 'shit to git'er done' list as of late.

First of all, I'm impressed that I was able to do so much damage to my liver before the age of 21. Second, reading this now, I realize my reasoning for my excesses was a refusal to grow up.

I had to grow up pretty fast so my early 20s were spent rebelling against that, under the assumption that freedom from responsibility was freedom. But true freedom is being able to control your actions, your desires and your addictions.

Third, can we talk about this picture? I was at work, which was a desk job at Cornell University Medical College. It's called professionalism. The outfit's kind of tragic, but that's how I dressed for work on a lazy day. I'm still selling the garment though.

Sidebar: that Marilyn T-shirt is basically a dishrag at this point, but I still wear it to the gym every now and then.