Reflection On My Life So Far

From an e-mail I sent to my mother today:

I mean, I've drank whiskey and shot pool with cowboys and Indians; I've kissed a beautiful girl under a full moon on an iron bridge older than our country; I've seen the sun rise over porpoises in the Atlantic Ocean, fog on the Allegheny Mountains, swamps in Delaware, quiet flower-scented side streets in Waikiki, and the thousand churches of Brooklyn; I've seen it set into the Pacific while I floated in water the temperature and color of blood.

I helped build one company up from a loose collection of hackers and hardware into a world-class Internet player; I also ditched at least three others that weren't going anywhere. I've flirted with girls and women from hippie artists to police sergeants to a pair of Japanese tourists who I nearly knocked over riding my bike on the sidewalk. I've gotten up on stage in funny clothes and played my heart out in New York, Baltimore, and DC. I saw the Ramones play on what turned out to be their last farewell tour. I've danced all night in New York, Maryland, DC, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I've caused a UFO scare for under $5.

I've talked politics with smugglers from Israel, journalists from DC, photographers from Russia, and businessmen from Canada. I've breathed fire and danced the polka, though never at the same time. I've camped on the beach in the middle of winter and woken up covered in a crust of ice. I've built a sculpture out of empty bottles, chess pieces, and cutlery, held together only by gravity. I've played blackjack with a man who fought Muhammad Ali.

I've walked through the state office complex as the government's workers were arriving for another day at the office, wearing women's sunglasses and a leopard-print fez, meeting stares with a cheese-eating grin. I've tried to sneak through the lobby of a skyscraper to crash a New Year's party in Texas. I've made small talk with men carrying automatic rifles. I've escorted a pair of redheads through the red-light district of Amsterdam with a Cuban cigar in my mouth. I've written my Congressman, and he wrote back, not that it did any good. I've gotten lost in the giant naval base at Pearl Harbor.

I was in New York City a few days after September 11th, lit candles to the memory of the victims, felt the great standing wave of grief and anger, seen the cloud of dust that was a pair of skyscrapers, and seen New Yorkers smile at strangers. I've ridden my bike in the corridor of the art building of the University of Hawaii, dodging around art students, trees in planters, and support pillars; then I did it again just for the fun of it. I've walked right up to a turtle whose shell was wider than a truck tire and whose neck was thick as my bicep.

I've attended the wedding of a Hindu princess, watched every second of the four-hour ceremony without understanding a single thing, and enjoyed it anyway. I've read Richard Feynman's clear and simple explanations of physics while working on my tan and watching surfer girls go past in wetsuits with their longboards balanced on their heads. I've taken lockpicking lessons from German and Californian hackers. I've scattered a friend's ashes in a secret place in the woods. I've played cribbage for 6 hours straight in the middle of a wild party. I've French-kissed a ferret. Oh yeah, and I'm just over 25 years old.

Now remember, these are just the things I'm willing to tell my mom about...