A fun thing to do in your twenties is to dwell endlessly on the past. "What if?" What if I hadn't spent every summer holiday playing SSX instead of creating actual memories involving laughter and sunlight? What if I hadn't got that HIM logo tattooed on my calf? What if I'd exercised even just a little bit, instead of eating myself into vivid fever dreams about dying young from a massive and crippling cholesterol overdose?
These thoughts of the past stir up different feelings in all of us, but there is some common ground: we'd all like to go back. We'd all like another shot at making the most of every opportunity youth presents. But how would we even go about that? Nobody really had any idea, until a couple of weeks ago, when this document was discovered:
A boob hickey, 17 nights crossfading, two blowjobs! This dossier is it: every possible thing you could want from your teenage years, packed into one summer.
So, of course, attempting the list myself feels like the right thing to do; the only conceivable way to banish all those niggling regrets that keep me up at night. But I don't have a whole summer. In fact, I can just about afford a day. Ten hours to live the life I should have all those years ago.
At 7:59AM, I'm waiting in the only place this can begin: the Painted Lady.
"I don't know, Ruta – I'm terrible with colours," I say, between sips of a Chardonnay, the first step towards being drunk all the time (#17). Ruta, prepping a manicure (#14), nods, spinning her wheel of colours. "I've got a big day ahead of me – a fun one – so I want something that screams that, like red." Ruta nods.
Soon, one of my George by ASDA socks is off, unsheathing my sharp yellow nails for a long overdue pedicure (#15).
The girls here seem to love my schtick – nonsensical comments, morning drinking: entertaining! Feeling particularly cheeky, I flick eight hoe pictures onto my Instagram (#6).
But skimming through the rest of list, I'm confused: "Randyland"? "Go to the Flagstaff drank"? "Have sex"? Impossibly cryptic. So I pick a straightforward one: Head Darty (#12).
This, of course, means I need to speak with the top man at Darty Inc. – the electrical supply company based in Farringdon.
"I'm looking for the Head Darty. Can you buzz me up, please?"
"Darty aren't here – we have no idea where they are. They just stopped using the building two months ago."
Foiled by Dirty Darty; story of my life. Onto the next one.
RANDYLAND! (#16) i.e. Soho, of course. If anywhere's a regular witness to the classic teenage rites of passage – getting into £8-for-a-single clubs with a "European driving license", buying fake cocaine off that guy who hangs around near Lina Stores – it's here.
And hell, if that's not your bag, you can head to The Groucho and go stargazing! (#40). Hugh Grant was "here just a few weeks ago", the doorman tells me. It was actually five months ago, and he absolutely wasn't; it was a Hugh Grant lookalike I hired to help me get in.
But never mind that: it's time to go shopping. I reckon seven bikinis (#35) will do me just fine.
Next, I need to address the elephant in the room: giving two blowjobs (#4). I've been going over this, trying to figure out who I should approach, and come to the realisation that there's only a certain set of people who can forgive you no matter what: family. So I message my brothers.
Foiled yet again, my own flesh and blood. But I'm not going to let the disappointment get in my way. It's best to let things go...
... on a message attached to a balloon (#30), because I've got bigger fish to fry.
So I order an Uber, and while I'm waiting I stroke this enormous man, which is about as close to petting a giraffe (#21) as I'm going to get. Now? Now, it's road trip (#9) time!
I'm cruising, with the wind in my hair, enjoying this pair of brand new, definitely authentic Ray Bans (#29).
And with 13 likes on my eight Instagram hoe pics and this selfie being crossfaded 17 times (#18), I'm well on my way to getting this list done before the sun goes down.
But one must rest when they get the chance, so I binge on one of those new Netflix series (#13), Lovejoy.
There's one thing on the list that feels particularly serendipitous, and that's having a lemonade stand w/Zoe (#32). You see, I only know one Zoe, and she was a semi-sweetheart at school, before she cast me by the wayside.
But today, after 11 years having not spoken, it feels right to contact her out of the blue to see if she wants to help me do something that won't benefit her in any way.
Now to play the waiting game.
I could do with a few beers to loosen me up. But how could I – teenage Oobah (remember, the conceit of this article is that I am a teenager doing a teenage bucket list) – get beers?
"Hey pal, let's get to the point (#31): any chance you could buy me a beer from the shop?"
"Wait, how old are you?"
"That's not really an age… but why not?"
"There you go, mate." He takes a Stella out of the bag for himself and hands the rest to me.
What a fucking summer. I'm vibrating with excitement – time to top it off with a trip to:
The beach (#34), in one of my new outfits.
It's all about the vibes here. I can do some summer reading (#19) and munch on a little candy floss (#33). Life seriously couldn't be better. But then I feel a vibration.
All of a sudden, I don't feel great about myself. Maybe I don't look like Sick Boy, after all? Maybe, with my pale body and stupid hair, I look like an idiot?
I glance up: a man is filming me from his car. I rush over to my clothes: they're covered in slimy wet sand.
I fucking hate my life.
With time running out, I'm looking at the words on the paper, spinning, short of breath, going ape (#37).
Breath; relax. The first goal: stage an AE Concert (#1). I don't know what an "AE" is, but I have staged a concert this summer, so I can cross that one off.
Next, an important meeting.
But my friend Kenny Wood (#5) is nowhere to be found. It's 4:50PM and I've got to both get to a party (#2) and a super wild birthday (#26). I have no friends with birthdays. Nor parties. Desperate, I search "Birthday" on my Facebook.
Benjamin! The lads! Clissold Park! Banter in the About section! Thank goodness there are people on this earth who: a) Leave their event privacy settings on public, and b) Have their birthday parties in public places.
Stopping to catch my breath, I realise I'm at the Flagstaff, drunk (#23). I'm also a bit stressed out and far too hot – nothing a good old-fashioned boob hickey (#25) and giant water balloon fight (#28) can't solve.
Within reach of the party, I pop into:
A pizza parlour for this picnic (#20), to buy some of the kind of hip food you'd cook from Pinterest (#22).
Soon, I'm running through the park, screaming Benjamin's name, past the sports game (#7), up the hill. But they're nowhere in sight. So I post a message.
The location has been moved to a nearby pub! I bound through the pub doors, and there he is: spectacles, cropped hair, looking like one of Shoshanna's from Girls' love interests.
"Benjamin! It's your birthday, isn't it?"
"Wait," he replies, bizarrely calm. "Are you the guy from Facebook?"
"I am! You see, Benjamin, I've spent my day trying to cross everything off this definitive teenage summer bucket list, and I'm all but done. Your party, Benjamin, is the final piece of the jigsaw. I just want to meaningfully share all of today's experiences and my pizza with you – my new friends."
"Oh… well, that's very kind of you. It smells good."
Slices are lifted up to mouths. "Wait, everybody, stop…" says Benjamin, audibly worried. "What is this?"
"Is this that list?!" A lump of pizza drops from Benjamin's friend's mouth onto the table.
"It sure is! A complete list baked within. My perfect teenage summer of experiences, blended into small, digestible slices. So take a bite, it's all there! And don't worry: you may as well eat the whole thing – paper and all – as I've learned something today: no matter what you go through and try to do with your life, you may as well do what you want, because everything ends up in the same place anyway. Trying, ultimately, is futile!"