The summer before my sophomore year of college, I started what I called The Sandwich Diet. I had a sandwich for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a sandwich for supper. Usually ham, because I like ham sandwiches. Every afternoon I walked down to the store and bought a 3 Musketeers bar, which I ate. When I started back to school that fall, I looked fantastic. Not that I thought I looked good. I still thought I was fat.
I was thinking about that as I walked back from the store today after buying a 3 Musketeers bar (I'm not on the Sandwich Diet. I just wanted some chocolate). I was wishing I could pop back in time to meet myself as an 18-year-old college student, to tell her to enjoy being young and trim with her whole life before her. I also wished I could give her my sword and tell her to join a fencing group, because then I'd already be a good fencer and wouldn't have to be nervously putting off joining a local group until I lose just five more pounds.
And after that, of course, I wished I could just sit down and talk to my 18-year-old self. I think the conversation would go something like this, once I'd convinced her that I was actually her older self....
2010 Me: I've brought you a book about how to study effectively. You're going to need it next year. Oh, and don't take any classes from Dr. Sears.
1988 Me: I have to. He's the only one who teaches that class on the Romantic poets.
2010 Me: He's going to retire next year. I've also brought you a reading list. These are books I wish I'd read when I was your age.
1988 Me: These books look boring.
2010 Me: Yes, I know, but trust me when I say that you need to read Dorothy Sayers right now. Now, this box here contains printed-out copies of manuscripts. You'll have to retype them before you send them out on submission, but do not change one freaking word. They've been edited by someone twenty-three years your senior--that would be me--and I can't give them away because of the economy. Here in 1988, publishers will buy anything.
1988 Me: I have to type all this? Don't you have floppy discs in 2010?
2010 Me: No. No, we don't. Just type them. Here's some money for the 1989 Writer's Market. Look, if I get back to 2010 and I still have my dead-end job, no agent, and no contracts with major publishers, I'm going to come back in time again and kick your ass. And I'll take this sword back, see if I don't.
1988 Me: I'm kind of too busy to type this much stuff.
2010 Me: You are not busy. You've spent the entire summer sitting around reading horse books and listening to the radio. Speaking of which, you need to get a job. Seriously, it will do you a world of good.
1988 Me: I'm a sensitive flower. I don't think I can handle the pressures of a job. I also have a massive intellect and shouldn't have to work for a living. I'm a writer.
2010 Me: No, I'm a writer. You're a poser. Hell with it, I'm going to kick your ass just for the exercise.
Flabby 2010 Me kicks 1988 Me's ass thoroughly, since 1988 Me is weakened from her three-month diet of nothing but ham sandwiches and 3 Musketeers bars.
2010 Me: Now sit down and type this stuff up, get a job at a book store, and join a fencing group.
1988 Me (wiping her bloody nose): When I'm your age, I won't be such a bitch.
2010 Me: Oh yes you will. You just won't notice it happening.