Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Shall I Be?

I never really wanted to be an astronaut. Oh, don't get me wrong; I love science and space and things that go boop and tell us that Mars has fingerprints and all that. But being an astronaut just seemed like a disaster. First, you have to be a scientist, and for someone like me who just figured out how to use the snooze button last year that seemed like a tall order. Second, you have to be in the military, and while I could see myself being an effective head of a commissary I don't think that's the sort of thing they are looking for in Space Jockey School. Third, you have to go into space. While one would think that's cool, you're one wayward pebble away from drowning in nothing. Also, you have to spend months in what amounts to a kitchen cupboard with like eight other dudes. All just to plant some footprints in moon dust, if you're lucky? I'll pass.

I never really wanted to be an entertainer. Memorizing lines bores me, so I never really wanted to be an actor. Stand-up comedian? No thanks; my memory is sealed with the vivid stereotype of the vast majority of comedians being sad-sack losers eking out a living off of free bar pretzels and pennies on the take at the door. A rock star? I was born tone-deaf and a voice to boot, and my incredibly modest skills as a percussionist mercifully stopped after the last home game in the marching band.

I never really wanted to be a doctor. There's a certain dignity of being in a white coat, looking at symptoms, imparting your knowledge of medicine to those in need of care. But there's also a lot of blood. And urine. And pus. And poop. And skin. And organs. And all sorts of things that you aren't going to have to worry about if you're an accountant. And while I'm sure the money and the ladies are nice, I am pretty sure that as a doctor you wouldn't be able to go out to eat anywhere without someone choking on something and you having to do some battlefield medicine over breaded cheese sticks.

I never really wanted to be a cop or fireman. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have great and deep respect for the public officers who aid in our safety, but I knew in my heart I wouldn't be good at it. I briefly held the idea that I might make a decent private detective, but the sort of person who bags speeders or chases down B&E artists? Not something I could really see myself doing. And while there's a certain nobility in fighting fires along with a level of badassery displayed in the act of chopping down doors amidst sweaty ash and burning embers to save helpless victims, the fact that I freak out over campfires probably didn't work in my favor.

I never really wanted to be a politician. Okay, well, that's a lie; I did. But it didn't take long after my first few steps into public service to realize that I really wasn't cut out for it. Politicians are successful when they are charismatic and witty and handsome. If they aren't that, they have to be loaded. Neither of those things involve having a mastery of the public policy or an understanding of political processes, the two things I enjoyed doing. And, sadly, everything on the retail level of politics more or less disgusts me--more votes are swayed whether you show up at the Dawson Valley Quilting Club or not than your stance on, say, Latin American debt forgiveness. Decades of service vanish with one ill-communicated word, and that's just stupid. A behind-the-scenes guy? Maybe. But my younger self knew immediately that while being a politician would be right up my alley, actually campaigning and retaining voters was a miserable exercise in futility that I had neither the desire nor the talent to engage in.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up? Why, a millionaire blogger, of course. I mean, who wouldn't?

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