What I Want To Be When I Grow Up
by The Cranky Media Guy
We went to the ocean. Which is a large body of water next
to the beach. I went on many rides and ate a lot of food, like
hot dogs and french fries, which some people say are not good for
you, but which taste really good anyway.
Oh, wait, wrong essay. That's "What I did on my summer
vacation." Sorry. Let me start over.
I've given a lot of thought lately to what I want to be when I
grow up; I figure it's about time, as I am now 48 years old.
To be honest, most of my time during the past four decades or so was
spent avoiding the question. Other than a brief period at
about age 10 when I wanted to be a newspaper reporter (because
that's what Clark Kent did for a living), I've never been able to
answer the question.
I figured out pretty early what I did not want to do for a
living, though. I definitely did not want to be an appliance
repair mechanic. That's what my Dad did for a living. He
hated how he earned his salary and he made it clear to me that he
hated it. Sometimes I would go to work with him on
Saturdays. He would take me into the homes of the people with
the appliances he had to fix. Often, they would say to him,
"Showing your little boy what business to go into, huh?"
and he would invariably answer, "No, I'm showing him what
business not to go into." Astute child that I was,
I got the message: Daddy didn't like his job.
Years later, when I was about 30, I drifted into the radio
business. "Drifted" is the right word in this case;
wood floating on the ocean has more sense of direction than I
did. I like being on the radio. A lot. The trouble
is, right now the radio business is being run largely by people who
should be wearing paper hats and cautioning teenage employees not to
stick their hands in the deep fryer. In a perfect world, these
people would be under court order to stay 500 feet away from
anything that can be defined as "entertainment".
Scrape off the thin veneer of bitterness and you get to the heart of
the matter: it's tough for a cranky old fart like me to find a
gig in the "biz".
Ok, so working with my hands is out and the cruel Ice Maiden,
show business, has turned her back on me. What's left?
Well, after considerable thought, I've narrowed my career options to
two choices: astronaut and rodeo clown.
With one, you are the idol of millions and have experiences that
few on earth can claim to have had. With the other, you get to
go into outer space. There are practical considerations, of
course. At around 300 pounds, I'm not exactly a jockey.
Do those space suits even come in XXL? I worked in the Air and
Space Museum, so I've seen John Glenn's capsule. Um, is that
available as a double-wide? Maybe NASA could take one of the
old two-man Gemini capsules, rip the seats out and install a
couch. That might work.
Appearance seems to be less important on the rodeo circuit,
especially among the clowns. If your function in life is to
try to get a half-ton of angry hamburger to chase you instead of the
cowboy it just threw off its back, nobody expects you to wear Armani
to the workplace. I get the feeling pretty much every day is
"casual Friday" around the rodeo.
Among those who know me, my name is pretty much a synonym for
"slovenliness", so the rodeo might seem like the perfect
choice for me. I'm a little concerned, though. Those
barrels the clowns jump into to withstand the force of full-frontal
bull attack seem a wee bit small. We're back to the space
capsule problem again. I wouldn't want the rodeo to come to a
screeching halt as the crew sprays Pam inside the barrel to slide me
out. I would be mortified if I looked over and saw a bull
covering his mouth with a hoof to hide his snickering. Cattle
can be so cruel.
What to do, what to do? What I really need is a high-paying
job with excellent benefits that has no real requirements, something
where I can just BS my way through. Why didn't I think of this
before? Yes, it's the perfect job for a lazy layabout
like me. Congress, here I come!