The Blog

Letter To My Teenage Self

Hey! This is me, or rather it's you, writing from the future. I have now reached my fortieth year and have decided to mark this event by looking back through my life and offering some thoughts on what I have learned.

Dear Dale,

Hey! This is me, or rather it's you, writing from the future. I have now reached my fortieth year and have decided to mark this event by looking back through my life and offering some thoughts on what I have learned.

Well, it's been quite a ride! We have laughed and loved and lost. There have been times of great hardship and times of abundance. We've amassed a tremendous amount of knowledge and certainly made a few mistakes. Thinking back, it's hard to select a single, vital piece of advice to pass back to you, my younger self. But after a great deal of soul-searching and meditation, I have decided it has to be this...

Bet on this horse. Repeat. Bet on this horse. His name is Lilting Lionel and he's running at the 4.20 at Chepstow on June 8th 1988. The odds should be around 14-1, which is just sick. I mean, it makes no sense, that horse is perfection. He simply can't lose. In fact, he didn't lose. He won. That's why I'm telling you this now.

If I had known anything when I was your age, sincerely, this would have been it.

Now, I know what you're thinking. 'I'm just an idiot 15-year old kid. I'm completely fat and useless. My nickname at school is Scabby. People on the street regularly throw heads of lettuce at me. I ain't got no money'. Listen to me. It is quite straightforward.

Steal the money, Dale. Steal it. Steal the money from your family. I know how that sounds, but nothing is going to happen. I promise you, they will not call the police. They'll threaten to, they'll pick up the phone and dial, but they won't actually follow through. They are weak. I know. I was there. And anyway, you can pay them right back when this horse comes in. Which it will. I can guarantee it.

Yes, Mum might cry when she finds her purse is empty, but don't worry. She has plenty more tears to shed for all the other things you'll do which are much, much worse. In fact, the amount she'll weep over this low-level larceny will look like a laughing fit compared to the utter despair you'll inflict upon her with your future actions. But you don't have to worry about that now. Just steal her money and put it on the horse.

This needs to happen because, to be honest, later on things are not that great for you. Remember when I mentioned the times of great abundance? I may have been exaggerating somewhat. There are no times of great abundance. The stuff about hardship is much more relevant. There's plenty of hardship. You'll have hardship up the wazoo.

Right now, at your tender age, there are probably all sorts of people telling you not to throw your future away. But look, I am your future. It really doesn't matter. Work hard and fly right or goof off and jerk around. Either way you won't be amounting to anything Dale. Anything. Last year circumstances forced me to wear a barrel for a period of several weeks. A barrel with straps. Like in a cartoon. Only this was very, very real and not very pleasant.

I'll level with you buddy. I'm in jail. I'm in jail and I need that cash to get me out. If I don't make bail in the next 12 hours they're going to send me to the Scrubs and I'm not going to survive in there. We have a lot of enemies on the inside, mainly due to the gambling thing. Oh and also the stealing. The future stealing. And some stuff with counterfeit dialysis machines.

Look, I know it sounds unfair. You get the money, make the bet and I reap the rewards. But I am YOU. And YOU are in JAIL. NOW. So this is what I need you to do. After you've won and have all the cash, get yourself arrested (punch a cop or something, good practice for what comes later) and get thrown in the slammer and then, when you're inside, hide the cash behind the loose brick by the sink. Then me, right now, can get the cash and sort this whole mess out. Make bail, catch up on the child support payments, pay back my family for the money I stole (not the money you stole, different money) and get that explicit tattoo removed.

Ok? You got that? Great. I'm going to go over there now and grab the money. Just a second...

Right, I couldn't see it. Did I mention the part about the loose brick? Just to help you I'll write 'Teenage Me: Put Money Here' on the brick I'm talking about. OK, let me try again...

This is very disappointing Dale. You are very disappointing. I thought I could rely on you and you have let me down. Like so many times before. You know what? You've always been a loser and you always will be. How can you let us down like that? Us? Me?

Fine, here's one more spot of advice. Kill yourself. Kill yourself right now. Though I doubt you could even get that right. See! I'm still here! You obviously failed again. You are pathetic. No wonder Mum hates you. Yeah, she hates you. She told me. Many times. In the future.

This is the last time you can expect any sort advice from me. You're on your own.

Yours in deep hatred,

Dale (You).


Oh yeah, you should probably get that lump on your neck checked out as well. It ends badly.

Dale Shaw's latest book F*ck This Journal is available RIGHT HERE and his collection of made-up correspondence, Letters of Not, is available now from Amazon or via