Today is kind of a big deal.
Not because it’s my birthday (which it is). Not even because it’s my 40th birthday (which it also is).
No, today – October 21, 2015 – is the exact date that Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to in the 1989 film Back To The Future II.
That’s right, folks …. BEHOLD, THE FUTURE IS HERE!
And, whoa, is it a little underwhelming. I mean, after all that build up in the film, there’s no way the actual future could compare. Where are our self-strapping shoes and rehydratable pizzas? Seriously. I demand to see the list of scientists who were consulted when making the film. Their degrees should be revoked.
I was 14 years old when Back to the Future II came out, and like every other gullible teenager on the planet, I couldn’t wait to see it. It was THE FUTURE after all.
I remember sitting in the theater, happily munching on popcorn when Marty, Doc, and Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer loaded up in the DeLorean. Huey Lewis sang for a few minutes, then bing-o, bang-o, they landed somewhere in the future.
Marty: Where are we? When are we?
Doc: We’re descending toward Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.
Marty: 2015? You mean we’re in the future?
Jennifer: Future? Marty, what do you mean? How can we be in the future?
Marty: Uh, Jennifer, um, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I… you’re in a time machine.
Jennifer: And this is the year ‘2015’?
Doc: October 21st, 2015.
I sat up a little straighter in my seat. Oh my god, that’s my birthday! Like, my actual birthday! In the future!
I looked around the theater to see if anyone else was feeling a weird cosmic zing. No, just me? Just my birthday? Ok. Then, a little quick math and … OH MY GOD…I WILL BE 40!
It seemed unfathomable. The year 2015 was 26 years in the future. I hadn’t even been alive for 26 years, so two and a half decades might as well have been a million.
Who cared about Marty McFly’s stupid hoverboard? What was my future going to look like? Because, honestly, 14 wasn’t going so great.
I had horrible glasses and tragic hair, which when combined, formed a noxious type of boy repellant that rendered me virtually undatable. I didn’t understand clothes or make-up. I wasn’t good at sports. I was obsessed with boy bands and soap operas. Would 26 years be enough to fix everything that was wrong with me?
Oh, that poor, freaked out, 14-year-old me! If I had a DeLorean that would take me back to 1989, I would sit behind her in that dark theater, put a gentle hand on her shoulder and say:
“Don’t worry. Everything will be ok.
“Your hair won’t always look like that.
“The love of your life is out there and he’s way better than all the New Kids on the Block combined.
“You will have two creative, talented, hilarious daughters who are weird in all the best ways. They will make you feel like you can accomplish miracles. They will not be named Alexandria and Mallory like you thought they would, though. Sorry.
“Your parents are amazing people and a lot smarter than you give them credit for. Listen to them.
“Spend time with your younger brother. He isn’t as annoying as you think and there will be a day when you miss him more than you can ever imagine.
“You will go to college. Once there, you will get a tattoo of a butterfly on your ankle, start smoking cigarettes and drink this god-awful stuff called Zima. You will eventually regret all three, except maybe the tattoo. Sometimes you will think it looks cute with sandals.
“You will hate sushi but like tofu.
“You will have amazing friends.
“You will get up and sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” unashamedly in front of strangers and get paid nothing for it. It’s called karaoke. You will love it.
“You won’t be a famous romance novelist, but you will be a writer. This thing called the internet will be invented and you will write what’s called a blog. Yes, it’s a real thing and everyone in the future is doing it.
“So breathe easy, kiddo! There’s nothing to be worried about. You’re future is going to be amazing.”