I always heard this when I was growing up. Even if I was first in my class, many of the teachers would tell me that I was not "living up to my potential." I guess I knew it to be true, but I kept thinking, "What more do they want of me?"

Now I know.

It all came so easily to me, compared to some of my classmates. I'd finish homework quickly and be looking for trouble to get into. That's what boys do, isn't it? In fact, there's no telling how many friends of mine have half-ass jobs right now because I coerced them into joining me in my Great American Fuck-off.

I got some of them in serious trouble one night by suggesting that we throw a brick through a teacher's window (at her home) because she'd done some minor thing which pissed me off. There were 5 of us in the car. I threw the brick, but all of us damn near got kicked out of school and put in jail. It was entirely my idea.

Now it troubles me to see this in some of you. So much potential; so little concern. For others. The world is your oyster and it revolves around the pearl that is you. Doesn't it?

You know, I can tell you that your outlook will change. Something is going to hurt you real bad one day. It will make you think again about the way you treat others. I don't know when that day will be, but each day that you go along your current path of acting as if you are the center of the universe, the more it's going to hurt.

You won't listen. (Maybe someone will.) Neither did I. . . when that lovely English teacher in the 11th grade looked me right in the eye and said, "You could be anyone you want to be. Are you listening to me?"

I wasn't then.

I am now.