Sunday, March 13, 1988
The 11 year old fangirl who will be calling herself “Camille” in another decade or so has done her typical slapdash job on math homework while spinning More of the Monkees with a Tiffany chaser. She followed that up by devouring the latest Lurlene McDaniel feel good novel about childhood terminal illness with the speed and reflective nuance of your average wood chipper. Another week of 5th grade nerdiness and social isolation awaits her. Before turning out the lights, the girl stands on her bed to reach the massive orange poster that looms over the room, surrounded by other pinups and photos. Under her lips as she kisses four times, the poster feels both slippery from the coating and a little sticky from the dozens of good night kisses before that one. She turns out the light and as she drifts off, she once again wonders why, exactly, life is worth living. She mopes for a few minutes, and then she remembers. Whether on TV, in the songs they sang, or in what little she knows of their real lives, the guys on her wall never gave up, even when they screwed up or the whole world was against them. And somehow things had gotten much better for each of them. If they didn’t quit, then she couldn’t quit either. Holding on to that truth (or at least what she believes is the truth), she drifts off to sleep.
A minute or two after the girl drifts to sleep, An unearthly sound fills the room, followed by the appearance of a blue police box that looks totally out of place in a suburban 1980s Oklahoma bedroom (as it does in most places it travels to, honestly). A man steps out, only to be confronted with a LARGE orange poster of 4 young men that hangs over the girl’s white wrought iron day bed. He nearly giggles, but restricts himself to a dignified wink at the poster. He slips the diary he is holding underneath next to the girl’s arm, then prods her lightly with his sonic screwdriver. Just before she opens her eyes, the police box disappears.
Dear girl I used to be,
Hello, sweetie. How Are You? I am fine.
Actually, I’m WAY More than fine! Right off the top I want to assure you that I’m alive, healthy, and having a GREAT time. It’s 26 years in the future now—the year 2014. Can you believe it? Now as you might imagine given that this diary is from the future, there’s a LOT I can’t tell you about what happens to you next—disrupting the space-time continuum and all that. But I’m flying to a very special place this weekend that I knew you would want to know about. The other night I was chatting with some friends through the computer (it’s sort of like that “e-mail” thing they just got at Dad’s work, but more so), and I struck up a conversation with this really cool guy who travels around time and space in a blue box. Believe it or not, he’s going to the same special place too! (He’s going so he can “see himself in another life”, whatever that means).
According to “The Doctor”, there are some things I can safely share with you about the future, and he’s the one who slipped this diary under your pillow for me. However, after you read this and fall back asleep, he’ll whisk it away again. You’ll be 99% convinced in the morning that this whole thing was a dream, because the very extraordinary scene I’m about to describe really IS too insane to believe, even for you. You’ll likely forget about it in a day or two, but at least it might give you something fun to fantasize about in math class. Before we get to that though, there’s some other stuff I think it will help you to read.
First, I have a LOT of friends now. They are the biggest treasures of my life. They’ve also made pretty much all of the awesomeness I’m about to share with you possible. I want you to take a moment to think about everything about you that makes it so hard to fit in right now. Guess what? YOU WILL FIND FRIENDS THAT EMBODY ALL OF THOSE THINGS. And you’ll start making them a lot sooner than you think. Boyfriends too, in a few years… 🙂
Second, believe it or not, they’re about to figure out what’s going on with Dad! If you can hang on just a little longer, he’s going to get a lot better. He even manages to become kind of cool. I know you won’t listen to me, but try to cut him some slack. Same goes for Daniel, who is about to get WAY more interesting.
Last, and easily the most interesting to you in 1988… As I write this, I have seen all four Monkees perform live at least once, have met two in the flesh (here in a few decades you’ll be shocked to find out who I, well you, have actually seen perform the most times and had the longest conversation with), and am about to meet number 3. Over the next few entries, I’m going tell you (and my friends from 2014) the story of a wondrous gathering of Monkees fans from all over the world. It takes place in the magical far eastern city of Shanghai…
I lied. New Jersey.
Don’t stop reading! I swear it gets better. From about this point in your life, believe it or not, every year is going to get a little cooler than the one that came before. There’s just one catch. To make all of this amazing stuff happen, you have to take a giant step outside your mind.
Off we go into the Yild Blue Wander,
PS: one of these days you will get to visit Shanghai too. But that is another story and shall be told another time.
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