Sometimes I wish I could travel back to a time before my parents were married, sort of like “Back to the Future” when Alex P. Keaton hung out with his eventual mom and dad.
I would say to my mother, “Don’t worry, my second wife is a keeper, and our daughter is awesome.”
Not knowing who I am (of course), this firecracker would say something like, “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing, and if you don’t leave me alone…”
“I’m terribly sorry, young lady; I mistook you for someone else,” I’d interrupt. There would be so much more I would want to say to her, but I never want to make her uncomfortable — even in this fantasy. So, I move on and along in search of my father.
It takes me a while to find him because he’s been gone much longer than my mother. I finally see him in the distance, playing sandlot baseball. He has just scored from first base on a single to the outfield — an impressive feat for anyone, let alone a teenager whose brain is so oxygen-deprived-confused that he thinks smoking an unfiltered cigarette on his team’s bench will help him catch his breath.
I wait a considerate and considerable length of time before addressing him. “Nice wheels,” I say in hip athletics vernacular meaning “impressive running.”
He has almost entirely caught his breath, lights up another Lucky Strike (or whatever), turns in my direction behind the fenced-in bench and says, “Thanks. You look familiar. Do I know you?”
“Not yet,” I foolishly answer.
He turns away while saying, “You’re a fuckin’ nut. If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll sic my girlfriend (my eventual mother/his future wife) on you.”
“I’m terribly sorry, young man; I mistook you for someone else,” I’d say. There would be so much more I would want to say to him, but I never want to upset him — even in this fantasy. But had I the chance, I’d probably say things like, “You would have loved my second wife; she’s a babe with so much goodness, it kills me to see her hurt by all the craziness that’s going on in the world.
“And you’d go ape-shit over your granddaughter; she’s got her mother’s beauty & sensitivity and your musical talent. She’s an incredible human.”
I’d have to collect my composure before continuing. “Pretty soon, you’ll be going to foreign lands to fight a war. You’ll be fine, but you’ll lose a lot of buddies. I’m sorry that you have to go through this hell. No one should, let alone a teenager with nice wheels.
“That said, I need a favor from you and your Marine pals. If you could somehow extend your service and somehow figure a way to do this, we’d have to come up with a more superlative term to call your ‘Greatest Generation.’ It’s difficult to fathom, but there are forces in my world that are even more evil than the evil forces in yours. I need for you to extinguish a fire that doesn’t yet exist in your world.
“Oh, and one last favor,” I’d say. “Please quit smoking now so that you’d be able to see for yourself that I was not exaggerating about my wife (the second one) and our kid.
“It’s your turn to hit again. Keep your eye on the ball and swing for the fences — this could be the most important at-bat of our lives.”