The Guy that I Used To Be

by Houghton Piker

EVERY once in a while this happens to me:
I'll run into the guy that I used to be
I'll be at a movie standing in line
And from behind me I'll hear a whine.
It's often a lecture about how the film sucks
How the director's missed the emotional crux
Or I'll be at a bar, just nursing my beer
And right then this dork in a vest will appear
Not only is his hair too long and unruly
But around him's a cloud of pungent patchouli.
Or I'm having sushi, maybe some tekka maki
and two tables over will be me high on sake
I'll be making bad jokes and annoying my date
Should I tell her I'm no good before it's too late?
What would you say if out of the blue
you ran into the guy that used to be you?
Would you say take it easy, and lay off the sauce,
Would you say it'd be wiser not to sleep with your boss?
With me I just stare with parental concern.
We all make mistakes. How else would we learn?
But sometimes, I tell you, I just want to yell,
''Call your mother more often,'' and ''Never use gel!''
I have to admit I've seen that same look
from a face on the subway, eyes over a book;
I wonder why he is staring at me,
And it's then that I see I used to be he.

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