By Vincent Varney
The mornings are usually the same for me. My alarm rarely awakens before I do, so I spend a while staring at the ceiling anticipating the hypnotic melody that will pull me to my feet despite my best efforts to remain in bed. I open my wardrobe to grab some mismatched clothes, courtesy of my morning-induced colour blindness, and then stumble into the bathroom to stare at myself in the mirror and eventually shower.
But this morning was different. I didn’t find the figure of youthful virility that usually stares back. Instead, I saw an old man, rugged and dishevelled. It was only once I noticed his captivating cheek bones that I realised he was me.
Was this who I’d become? Some old dude who looked like he’d just gotten out of bed, probably because he had? Needless to say, I wasn’t ecstatic about the surprise encounter. I sat and reflected (both in the mirror and my head) and wondered what I’d done to get myself to this dire stage. After dismissing the obvious suspects – time travel, and falling victim to a Freaky Friday-esque body swap with a hobo – only one logical conclusion remained: I’d wasted my life by playing the ‘bad boy.’
Anyone who’s met me knows the bad boy aura that besieges my body. This aura is also commonly referred to as a ‘leather jacket.’ I look particularly threatening in it because it has a hood, and because the hood is detachable, the wardrobe opportunities are doubled. But this jacket is also a symbol of my selfishness. It’s a barrier between my fellow man and I, making me appear intimidating and unapproachable, as well as tad bulky when walking through tight corridors. Why had it taken me so long to realise?
Then there’s my utter disregard for other people. I hate to admit it, but I often take my dad’s car without asking. Sometimes, I’ll even get McDonald’s Drive-Thru and I won’t use the designated cup holder for my drink– I’ll just place the cup between thighs, fully aware is the risk of spillage. I can’t imagine the grief I must have caused my dad. I know he tends to display indifference when I return the car, but his heart has probably hardened as a result of my behaviour. Note: I do remove my P Plates after driving his car – I’m not a monster.
There were so many other bad boy things I wished I could take back: Attempting to be an amateur skater, attempting to be a gangsta rapper, and that fine I got for a crime I didn’t even commit (driving a vehicle while a passenger sticks a limb out a window – what is that, really?). Sure, I may not drive a motorcycle – the definitive bad boy activity – but my sister does and I’m sure she’d teach me if I asked nicely.
I needed to turn my life around. The jacket, the car, that other weird stuff – it all had to go. Being a bad boy had its perks, but I’ve had my fun. When you’re in your 20s, you have to draw the line and decide enough is enough. I don’t want to end up as that homeless-looking fellow. I want to have modest apartment in San Francisco, a stable job and good company with which to share my time. Being a bad boy wasn’t going to get me there.
So to the bad boy in me, I bid thee farewell. You had your fun and MySpace-era photos of you will certainly resurface to haunt me in the future, but for now, may you rest in peace.
Vincent Varney is a Sydney-based writer and reformed bad boy. He now spends his days attending church services and offering small change to young children – although he sure does throw those coins hard! You can learn more about his honest living by following him on Twitter @VincentVarney