My 17-year-old self and I argue and play basketball, I win

by Bryan

We’ll pick up my conversation with my 17-year-old self the morning after we left off, when I come downstairs for breakfast.

ME: Good morning.

17-Y-O-Me: (waves aimlessly, doesn’t take eyes from TV)

ME: Did you make coffee?

17-Y-O-Me: (looks at me like I’m crazy)

ME: Oh, right. You don’t drink coffee.

17-Y-O-Me: I’m not a pussy.

ME: Right. I forgot I felt that way.

17-Y-O-Me: Big softy now, eh?

ME: You wait until you have a 9-to-5 job.

17-Y-O-Me: I’ll never have one of those.

ME: Hey moron? (does a pointing back and forth between us to indicate yes, in fact, you will)

17-Y-O-Me: (throws remote at me, I dodge it, it hits glass front door but doesn’t break it)

ME: You idiot.

17-Y-O-Me: I’m the idiot?! You’re the one with the 9-to-5 job!

ME: It’s not that simple. And wait, are you blaming me for dodging something you threw at me?

17-Y-O-Me: Of course! You know the glass door is there!

ME: What do you want me to do, catch it?

17-Y-O-Me: Ha! Good one.

ME: Alright, that’s it. We’re playing basketball, right now. You and me. One on one.

17-Y-O-Me: (mocking) Don’t you need your coffee first?

ME: (fuming) Grab your shoes, dickwad.

(He grabs his shoes and we walk the 5 minutes to the basketball court in tense silence. I beat him handily. He’s in better shape, but not better enough, and he doesn’t use his body as well as I do. He challenges me to best two out of three but halfway through game two, which he’s losing, he starts visibly moping. He misses a jumper, and then…)

ME: What’s the problem, hair in your eyes?

17-Y-O-Me: (shoves me, I don’t lose dribble)

ME: Good defense? Where’d you learn that? (Does turnaround jumper, misses)

17-Y-O-Me: Look at Air Jordan over there! (tries running layup, goes out of control, misses wildly, ball rolls into the woods and under poison ivy. Him, instantaneously:) Your ball.

ME: I’m not getting it.

17-Y-O-Me: If I get it, it’s my ball.

ME: I’m not getting poison ivy because you suck at basketball.

17-Y-O-Me: (rage) If I get that ball, I’m taking it.

ME: If you’re taking that ball, I’m not playing anymore.

17-Y-O-Me: Fine, then I’ll just keep shooting until I win without you here.

ME: You think you can make 10 baskets by dinner?

(He attacks me, and now we’re fighting right next to the ball, rolling around in the poison ivy we were just trying to avoid. A car drives by and looks at us strangely, but we stop to both wave to indicate it’s all in fun, relatively speaking. When the car passes, we start again and kick the ball even further in and we stop, and, simultaneously:)

US: Shit.

(Looking all around us, at the plants)

US: SHIT.

ME: We should probably…

17-Y-O-Me: Go to the beach and get this stuff off of us.

ME: I’ll drive.

17-Y-O-Me: Like hell you will, grandpa.

(Ten minutes later, we’re in the car)

ME: Do you have sunscreen?

17-Y-O-Me: (chortles)

ME: I suppose you like getting sunburnt?

17-Y-O-Me: I don’t mind.

ME: That translates to “I’m too proud to put on sunscreen” in adult.

17-Y-O-Me: Oh Jesus.

ME: We going to South Beach?

17-Y-O-Me: Of course.

ME: I figured as much.

17-Y-O-Me: I love it.

ME: You would. I still like it, but I feel old there.

17-Y-O-Me: Well, I’m 17 and the ocean is the ocean.

ME: You’re looking for that girl, aren’t you?

17-Y-O-Me: (obviously lying) No!

ME: Yeah, you are. All the teenagers are at South Beach. That’s why I don’t like to go anymore. Look at it this way: If a girl was two years old when I was your age, she’s 17 now. Just think about that.

17-Y-O-Me: (pulls car over) Lambert’s Cove?*

ME: Lambert’s Cove.

17-Y-O-Me: (turns car around) I feel itchy already.

ME: Oh, don’t be such a drama queen. It wouldn’t work that fast.

17-Y-O-Me: (takes hand, rubs it all over my face) You’d better hope not.

ME: (pushes stick into neutral, he immediately puts in back in gear)

17-Y-O-Me: … (rage turns to admiration)

17-Y-O-Me: Okay, that was pretty good.

(We high five, and then some pop song comes on the radio that we both like and we blast it and start singing together.)

•••

* This would obviously not be happening at sunset, but I mean jeez.

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