Charlie Greengould Meets Himself

“You’re Nothing Without Me”

Picture Charlie Greengould, eighteen and afraid,
Standing in the corner as he watches the parade.
Picture Charlie Greengould, lonely every night:
This is who you were before I set your world alight.

I used to hide at parties, dropping off the charts,
Imagining a better me, not scared to play my part.
But I’m still in the shadows, even more so than before.
The better me is you, but I’m still watching from the door.
It’s not that I’m not grateful for all that you’ve achieved.
So thanks a bunch, we’ll stay in touch, it’s time for you to leave.

You little twerp, you two-bit hack,
you need me now; you can’t go back.
I won’t back down, or disappear.
You need me as your puppeteer!

Or fine: Imagine that I leave.
I’m gone, as you request.
Then Lila’s back, you’re making out—
What’s this, she’s not impressed?
She’s gone! ‘Cause you act like you’ve never
touched a girl before.
Well, that’s what’s gonna happen
if I’m not here anymore.

I’m you to the letter,
but a whole lot better,
and you’re nothing, you’re nothing without me.

Yeah, I make all the moves,
‘cause I’m you, new and improved,
and you’re nothing, you’re nothing without me.

CHARLIE: That’s not what it’d be like.


CHARLIE (CONT’D): It’s not! And even if it is, I don’t care anymore. If I mess up, then I mess up. At least it’ll be me doing it.

PARALLEL CHARLIE: Wow, you’ve got this all figured out, Charlie.

CHARLIE: Look, you have to leave! This is my life! It’s my universe!

You little shit! You’re still so blind:
We can’t be split, or unentwined.
Remember: to them, we’re the same.
I’ll do what I want; you’ll be blamed.

It’s me who made you popular,
but I can take your cool.
I’ll cheat on tests and plagiarize;
you’ll be kicked out of school.
I’ll be a dick to Lila—
make her hate you, no escape!
You want to be accused of theft?
Harassment? Murder? Rape?

I make the decisions,
‘cause I’m you, the new revision,
and you’re nothing, you’re nothing without me.

Yeah, it’s flat-out coercion,
‘cause I’m you, the newer version,
and you’re nothing, you’re nothing without me.

You think you know heartbreak and sorrow,
just ‘cause a few girls have recoiled.
You don’t know what shame is,
you don’t know what pain is,
you’re pampered and coddled and spoiled.

You think you know sadness and suffering;
that no one’s as tragic as you.
You think you’re the Charlie
who has it bad? Hardly!
You don’t know the things I’ve been through.

If you’d seen what I’ve seen,
you would claw your eyes clean;
you would do anything to forget.

If you’d seen what I’ve seen,
you would claw your eyes clean,
and kid, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

‘Cause you think your life’s a curse
but I could make it so much worse
and so you’re nothing, you’re nothing without me.

Yeah, you’re in quite a spot, Chaz,
‘cause I call all the shots, Chaz.
And you’re nothing without me.
Yeah, you’re nothing, nothing without me.

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