The following is a very important story:
Throughout my life, I’ve always been a big fan of “I’m you” stories. You know the deal, it’s not very complicated. An older version of yourself or, well, it could be anyone, confronts their younger self and warns them of some sort of mistake they’re about to make. This is typically either achieved by some form of time travel, or pure (and quite queer) happenstance. It also tends to culminate in the older version spelling it out completely for their understandably confused doppelganger with a wall-shaking, “I’m YOU!”
Well, it happened to me last night. This is not fiction.
We went to a bar in Hoboken to catch the Louisville game, and at some point much later in the night, I spied myself—not someone that simply resembled me—but my very self in the flesh, walking around the bar. I beckoned for Canaan and Pat, pointing frantically at “Future Joseph,” hoping that I had just momentarily lost my mind. But no, they confirmed it. It could be no other than Joseph Earl Luster.
As the night went on, I wondered what I could possibly have come to this place, The Shannon, to warn myself about. What might happen that night, what dire circumstances could drive me to actually travel through time just to find myself? I had to find out. Eventually, we stopped myself and told him what was up. I told him that he was ME, and that I was HE!
He couldn’t have been less interested in our ramblings, though. In fact, after I told him that he was me from the future, he had the stones to ask me how old I am.
“Twenty-six,” I said.
He almost seemed to scoff.
“You’re older than me, man. I’m not you.”
I couldn’t believe it. This version of me: fatter, poorly dressed, ruder; he could only be a portent of my future. Though I’ll admit this angered me at the time, I’ve come to a realization now. If I had admitted to being me, the very Box of Pandora would have been opened, rendering our world an uninhabitable paradoxical vortex. Clever man! Even Future Joseph understands the laws of time, ducking away from my group to watch me from afar, if only to make sure I wouldn’t make whatever dreadful mistake he had made on that night which was, to him at least, many forgotten years ago.
Thank you, Joseph.