Dear 13-year-old Marty,

You figure you're going to be a lawyer, huh? People have been telling you that since you were, oh, 8 or so. You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you Pearl Jam was going to change that.

Yeah, I know, you're lukewarm on the band. Yes, you bought Ten, but not until you owned the entire Nirvana catalog, Superunknown, Siamese Dream, Dookie, Smash, The Chronic, The Predator and AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted.

But your buddy Tim is a Ten Club member who owns import singles boasting at least three versions of "Yellow Ledbetter" and bootlegs from before Pearl Jam starts making official recordings of literally every show it plays. In the summer of 1998, you and Tim will make road trips to see the band in Toronto, Cincinnati, Columbus and Pittsburgh. It will be amazing. The fact that two 17-year-olds drove a Ford Taurus across an international border to see a rock show will seem really weird just a few years later.

In October 2000, the band will be on tour again and you will be broke because you have never had a job. Your friend Chip will tell you it's possible to secure complimentary admittance to a wide variety of concerts and sporting events by agreeing to write about them for the University of Akron's student newspaper. This will be your first job, and it will get you and Tim into Pearl Jam's Detroit show for free. Emboldened, you will do this again and again. Your parents will think it's just a harmless hobby until it's too late. You will see so many free concerts that you'll eventually discover you like writing about the concerts even more than you like seeing them for free. You will actually graduate from law school but you will never take the bar exam because you want to write for a living. And you will.

In 2011, you'll have followed this path to a newspaper in Portland, Ore. And it's there your buddy Tim will fly to visit you and see the band in Seattle. I'm certain you'll be very happy with how this all works out—even if, as your mother has been known to mention, lawyers can buy their own Pearl Jam tickets.


33-year-old Martin

SEE IT: Pearl Jam plays Moda Center, 1401 N Wheeler Ave., on Friday, Nov. 29. 7:30 pm. $69.50. All ages.