Happy Birthday, Kristin

Happy Birthday, little sister. 17, finally. Here’s some advice from your big brother (whether you’ll listen or not):

  1. Don’t be in such a hurry to drive.

    It’s over-rated. And expensive to insure. And expensive to maintain. Personally, I think 16 is too early and 18 is only a little more reasonable… about the time you move out and go to college. You are going to college.

    If you want to drive, look me up. I’ll help you out. But don’t be in a hurry to take off solo yet. Driving at 16 really only makes 3 things accessible, and 2 are bad:

    1. You can drive yourself to work – the only forgiveable use.
    2. You can be involved in accidents – either as the hitter, or the hittee. Ask your other brothers.
    3. You can go to the mall. A fruitless expenditure of your hard-earned money on over-priced, temporary commodities marketed at your age bracket ruthlessly by people who think you’re not good for anything else yet (or else they’d be pushing for your right to vote).
  2. Avoid the Boys.

    I know you’re laughing about that, as if I’m not really serious. But I am. They’re a waste of time at this age. You’re 17. Mentally, Physically, Emotionally. They’re 17. Physically.
    Mentally and Emotionally, they’re 8 and 3, respectively. I’m not joking.

    I disagreed with this assessment myself until I was 25 (late bloomer, I guess), when I realized how stupid I was (and here’s the key to self realization:) and am. It took having a wife to get that to sink in. Fortunately for me, she’s still around. 🙂

    To this day I struggle with feelings of invulnerability – like I’m Superman on smack: faster, better, smarter than you, and nothing can hurt me. For a 25 year old to be thinking in those 18 year old terms, that’s plain and simple mental retardation. At least at 30 I’ve got a daughter to keep me grounded. But 17 year old boys are worse – they have no responsibilities, no obligations, no fear of anything reasonable.

    They are the devil, Sis. Run far, run fast.

  3. Study Hard. You can play later.

    It’s unfair, but you need to realize you’re at a point in your life when the decisions you’re making every day about how you spend your time actually do impact the rest of your life, sometimes irreversibly.

    Let’s face it – with our common gene pool we need every other advantage in life we can get, and not getting a leg up on college acceptance and meritted scholarships is tantamount to clamping an iron ball around your leg.

    Yes, even at 17. Look around at your siblings. Sometimes even a college degree won’t get you as far as you’d like to get. You’ve got 2 years left to show anyone who will look that you’re above average. You are. They will look. Don’t disguise that just to fit in better with the other mall shoppers.

    Even if, like the rest of us, you end up having to beg, borrow, gamble and donate organs to pay your way through college, there is still some low-hanging fruit (partial grants, partial scholarships, advantageous memberships, etc.) available to help you out – but you can’t look like a slouch, academically.

That’s it. All the secrets to life’s mysteries that I can call to mind, all on one page. It’s not complete of course, but it’s a good start. I’ll be around if you want to argue them with me. Big brothers are for arguing with.

Happy Birthday, Kris. I love you.

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