Scott Brown
August 18, 2006 AT 08:48 PM EDT

1. Construct crude time machine.

2.Go back in time.

3. Pry beer bong from lips of past self, taking care not to touch past self and trigger cataclysmic time paradox or Pay It Forward sequel. (Safety tip: Always wear “time gloves.”)

4. Go farther back in time.

5. Pry Pay It Forward script from eager, youthful fingers. Slap self smartly across own youthful, dimpled face.

But perhaps this is the wrong approach. What’s done is done. You had a little too much to drink, and went boldly where many, many child stars have gone before: off the road. You had a little herb on you (a strain the dealer probably oversold as “The Secondhand Lion“), and now, in one spin of Fortuna’s wheel, your image has gone from “I see dead people” to “I saw the Dead, people! In Minneapolis! At least, I think it was them. Might’ve been Phish. Might’ve been a flock of aging geese. What continent is this again?”

So let’s look at your future. First step is to stop the bleeding. Move your current troubles off the front page by involving yourself in a much larger, more prestigious scandal — maybe develop a bomb for Iran. No one will remember your little green bag.

Second, take a page from Dakota Fanning and do some really messed-up sounding movie, maybe one that pulls back the curtain on, say, the dark world of Babylon 5 fan-fic-writing. (No, I will not link you to any Babylon 5 fan fic.) Make sure you have at least one eminently YouTube-able scene. Is Paul Verhoeven busy? You could go dutch on the budget.

Third, marry Dakota Fanning. Not right away! You have enough legal problems. But when the time is right, pop the question. With your powers combined, no one can call Culkin on you.

What advice do you have for young Haley Joel, reader? S.S. PopWatch‘s Ship’s Doctor Jason Adams has this advice: “Go to college! Then you can walk around drunk and have pot in your car.” (Ah, the ’90s!)

addCredit(“Haley Joel Osment: Mark Mainz/Getty Images”)

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