Two things inspired this week’s theme, which is Conversations With My Younger Self.
1. I read this young adult book called The Future of Us. It was about two teenagers in 1996 who log onto AOL for the first time and are magically made privy to their 32-year-old Facebook profiles. I mostly enjoyed the book for its 1996 references; can I get a hand up if you ever danced your last slow dance at a middle school dance to “End of the Road” by BoyzIIMen? I bet you did!!!
2. This video, which is entirely brilliant. I wish this guy had been my BFF when we were twelve and also still now:
So since I read that book/watched that video, I have been imagining conversations with my imaginary 17-year-old self (who is, I guess, not exactly imaginary but you know…) on all topics from dating to my job to where I live to how I live.
This is my favorite faux-conversation I’ve had, and one which I genuinely believe 17-year-old me would have brought up very early on in our exchange.
To preface this conversation, you need to know that in the year 2000 for about five weeks Burger King had this special called the X-treme Double Cheese Burger. Described in a press release I just found online as “monstrously huge and obscenely loaded with cheese,” the X-treme Double Cheeseburger featured, “1/2 pound of juicy, flame-broiled beef; two slices of Monterey Jack cheese; two slices of Cheddar; and a zesty cheese sauce topped with tomatoes, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.” I am just now learning it contained over a thousand calories and about 60% of those calories came from fat.
I ate like three X-treme Double Cheeseburgers a week for the duration of their existence, is something you need to know before this starts. Yeah.
The conversation goes something like this:
17-Year-Old-Me: Does Burger King ever bring back the X-treme Double Cheeseburger?
Me: Nope, pretty sure not.
17-Year-Old-Me: Man, that sucks!
Me: I guess.
17-Year-Old-Me: You “guess”?!?! X-treme Double Cheeseburgers were, like, SO delicious! I miss them. I miss them SO MUCH.
Me: Wow, you really do don’t you? They were pretty disgusting and really bad for you, you know.
17-Year-Old-Me: Whatever. At least Burger King still sells jalepeno poppers.
Me: Well, they actually discontinued those too. That’ll happen soon – like within the next year or so.
17-Year-Old-Me: WHAT!?!?! How could they? Jalepeno poppers are the BEST THING EVER!
Me: It seems bad now, I know, but I have some encouraging news.
Me: You don’t eat fast food any more.
17-Year-Old-Me: What does that mean?
Me: You quit going to fast food restaurants.
17-Year-Old-Me: I don’t understand.
Me: You haven’t had fast food more than a small handful of times in the past two years, and even then you only have fries and milkshakes, never meat.
Me: Well, you try pretty hard to eat healthy and you don’t believe in eating meat that comes from unethical sources.
Me: You know, like, factory farms. Meat that’s not raised in humane and sustainable conditions. You try to only eat meat of known provenance, because you believe it is better for the world that way.
17-Year-Old-Me: But….but…Burger King is delicious. So is McDonald’s.
Me: Yeah, and in about a year you’ll discover how delicious Taco Bell is, too. But it doesn’t matter, because you have PRINCIPLES now.
17-Year-Old-Me: That sounds pretty stupid. I want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers and I will always want to eat X-treme Double Cheeseburgers.
Me: And I’m telling you, you will not. You will someday come to realize that living a way that is commensurate with your values is more important to you than chicken nuggets and other fast food. You believe that the factory farm system is evil and you are always talking to people about your decision to eat ethically produced meats whenever possible to try to convince them to join the fight!
17-Year-Old-Me: You sound like a huge asshole; I like chicken nuggets.
Me: Well, I think you sound like an asshole. Don’t you care where your food comes from? Some things are more impor-
17-Year-Old-Me: CHICKEN NUGGETS! CHICKEN NUGGETS! CHICKEN NUGGETS!