Thursday, March 7, 2013

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up


My daughter Miranda at the tender young age of 8 determined something very important for her life: she knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

All little boys and girls early have some rough idea about being somebody in their distant grown up future: a fireman, a teacher, an astronaut. But Miranda has come to very surprisingly specific goal: she wants to be a diagnostician at Brenner's Childrens Hospital. This is a goal I have trouble pronouncing let alone understanding. But Miranda is really smart and if anyone can pull it off, it will be her.

Me, I still to this day do not know what I want to be when I grow up. When I was younger, I was not assidious in approaching that decision. I certainly did not take it seriously.

At one point, I thought about being a politician simply because I could do an impression of Richard Nixon. OK, I could do a bad impression of Rich Little doing an impression of Richard Nixon:

Nixon: "Blast it, Halderman! Why can't we have Dick Cavett killed? He can't sock it to me! And Pat, make your own dinner. I am not a cook!"

But even if I was a political leader, I would not have a hard edge; I would have been a more genial leader.

Reagan: "Well, there you go again. I ordered cheddar cheese on my ham sandwhich and I got provolone. You know, when Nancy and I were making Hellcats in the Navy, the commissary had a wide variety of cheeses."

So assuming I had an political power at all, would I be able to use it?

George H W Bush: "Not going to use force, not at this juncture. Wouldn't be prudent. Not gonna do it. It's all about being kinder and gentler. We'll stay the course with a thousand points of light."

But I know I would not make it as a politician. I would have to constantly apologize for some embarrassing scandal or another.

Clinton: "I did not have sexual relations with that chicken!"

So politics was out but as I went thru high school and college and in to the real world, nothing else came in to focus. Still, in the adult world, there are bills to pay and I have to do something. And so it came to pass that I wound up working briefly in radio .

In radio voice: "MAGIC 99.5, WM....AG. Lionel Ritchie and Dancin'....on the Ceiling. It's 3:25 in the morning and here's a public service message fromWMAG and the American Cancer Society, reminding you that this is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month so ladies, be sure to have your husband....."

(pause, move to another card)

"..spayed and neutered, a message from the National Humane Society."

(pause and looks puzzled, has cards mixed up)

"Ooooo-kay! It's now...oh dear God...3:26 in the morning...and we've got...somebody shoot me now...more Lionel Ritchie...on MAGIC 99.5, W....MAG."

OK, the radio thing didn't work out. But that's what happen when you go into life without a plan. When I was kid, the closest I ever came to a definitive answer to what I wanted to be when I grow up was I wanted to be a train engineer....and a rock star....at the same time.

A train engineer-slash-rock star.

Yes, I wanted to be a character in an Elvis movie.

 Movie Announcer Voice: "Coming this summer to a drive in near you, the King of Rock 'n' Roll is back in a brand new wide screen cinematic adventure that's roaring down the track into your town with a full head of steam. It's Elvis Presley as Deke Jackson in Last Train to Reno."

(As Elvis): "Man, we gotta take of care of business and get this train to Reno!"

Movie Announcer Voice: "With Walter Brennan as Crusty"

Walter Brennam: "Dagnabbit! We're going to run out of coal!"

Movie Announcer Voice: "And Jimmy Stewart as railroad owner Mr. Landingham"

Jimmy Stewart: "Well..well..where we going to get money for some more coal?"

Movie Announcer Voice: "And Marilyn Monroe as Misty!"

Marilyn Monroe: "Ooh!"

Movie Announcer Voice: "And the King himself, Elvis Presley as Zeke Jackson, the best train engineer in the business with music in his soul to match the rythmn of the tracks!"

Elvis: "Whoa, mama! Only one way to get some money: we'll have to put on a show!" (Sings to the tune of Hound Dog) "We gotta get this train to Reno and we're running out of coal We gotta get this train to Reno and we're running out of coal! Oh we gotta get this train to Reno right away!"

Elvis: "Thank you! Thank you very much!"

It was...a very...very...silly dream.

So there it is, I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. But maybe growing up is overrated. And sometimes when I tried to take the wheel of my life, I drive it in a ditch and other times when I just go where life takes me, everything works out. For example, life has led me into the company of a bright, beautiful and imaginative daughter who is destined for great things.

And that's all right with me.

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