I was only seven years old when you hit the box office, but you struck my childhood like an apathetic juggernaut. You were like the ultimate Klutz book on “How To Be A Teenager”. From computer-assisted closets to an unnatural love for The Cranberries, things were changing quickly. No more Hardy Boys mysteries. No more Stretch Armstrong. I had to get real and get with it.
I felt unstoppable. Your advice seemed so true and visceral – how could high school not be a breeze? You taught me old people can be sweet, Ren & Stimpy was “way existential” and Calvin Klein has the last word on fashion. I was experiencing a 12-Step Program to becoming a teenage superstar.
Unfortunately, I was sorely underprepared for the sheer terrors of pubescent life. You were basically a “Kick Me” sign through eight years of complete and utter awkwardness. What was happening to my body? Why were girls so stupid? How the hell do you kiss with braces? There were so many questions you left unanswered!
I never got to argue my way from a C+ to an A-. I never drove a convertible and I almost always used the word “sporadically” wrong. It was like swan-diving into the mouth of hell – yet somehow, coming out unscathed.
Seventeen years later, your ludicrous advice continues to sneak its way in. I still haven’t forgotten that running on “boy time” is never appreciated. I still find myself thinking “as if” when someone particularly unattractive hits on me. And I still know the best medicine is a trip to the mall.
You were everything I wanted to be – and in some ways, you still are. You shaped a part of me that I don’t ever want to lose. I didn’t grow up as a spiritual person, but you preached idyllic aspirations. If Clueless was a religion, I was surely drinking the Kool-Aid.
Whatever and stuff,
[Open Letters is a column of non-fictional letters written to people or things that aren’t likely to respond, inspired by McSweeney’s]
If you like this, please help SHARE with the buttons below…