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Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 15, 2004 || 12:55 am

this map has coffee stains on it

Hello, my name is gjoe. It’s a pleasure to type to you tonight, thank you for coming.

I was going to crank out a story, so typical of the stuff I’ve been writing for the last couple months, where I would bemoan how life sucks and how happy I will be when this stage of my life passes. But that wouldn’t be fair now, would it? I mean, how is the casual reader supossed to just pick up in the middle of a story that has been slumping along for this long?

So then I decided to crank out a flashback story, like the sitcoms do when the writers go on strike. You know, they show clips of old episodes loosely strung together around some thin plot line. But that’s no way to treat a guest-posting invitation, is it? Of course not.

So then, gentle reader, a retrospective. How does a 25-year-old guy end up waiting tables while he lives in his parents’ guest room? How does he end up with 7 years of college under his belt with no degreee to show for it? How does that guy have rolled up 25 jobs since he started working at the age 14? How is it that doing his taxes requires a Texas Instruments Graphing Calculator?

Hard to say, really. I’m not sure I totally remember anymore.

Rememeber when you were a little boy or girl? People… adults… they have only two questions for less-than-high-school age kids. (1) How is school? (2) What do you want to be when you grow up?

School, of course, is always a drag. Find me a 10 year old who says he loves school and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

The second question is a loaded question. All that pressure! I mean, what’s a kid supossed to say? I remember giving some adult-perspective correct answer like a teacher or astronaut or whatnot. But of course, it was all a lie. By age 10, I had given up the dream of being a professional baseball player. Found out I would never make it as an artist working in the crayola-watercolor-paint medium. Tried playing piano, no luck there either. *sigh* Only 10 years old, all the cool jobs were already off the table.

I remember thinking it would be cool to be a taxi driver. All the neat people you’d meet! Or maybe an over-the-road truck driver. All the neat places you’d go! But one trip to Showbiz pizza taught me that no matter how many gold tokens I pumped into the Grand Prix Racing game, I couldn’t get my car very far without running into a wall or going off the road. A career in transportation didn’t seem promising.

I wondered if there was a job I could get where I’d sit at home and play The Legend of Zelda all day long. Like maybe I could get sponsored by Nintendo and people would watch me find heart containers by placing bombs on the smooth-sided rocks. Prospects of sponsorship or professional gaming proved to be quite slim.

One thing was for sure: whatever I did in life had to be interesting. I wouldn’t stand for a dull life. A cool job was a definate must.

I never did figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Had a pretty good idea for a while, plans to be a restauranteur. Lots of plans, actually. Research, cost projections, some equipment purchases. A business plan. Some guy who offered me several thousands of dollars (he would, several glasses of whiskey later, recant on his offer and threaten to kill me like he killed the gooks is ‘Nam because once you have tasted the blood of a slaughtered man you want more chances to kill those commie bastards and f**k ‘em all! I then cut him off, suggested he pay his bar tab and go home before the policemen put him up in a room for the night).

But, like so many of life’s dreams, they come and go with the fleeting abandon of a 10-year-old’s fanciful whims. So here I am. Twenty-Five years old, in my last (again) semester of college. On the cusp of new beginnings, at the foot of a mountain I’ve never climbed before. Winds of change are a dangerous mistress, because they make you choose the devil you don’t know after you’ve given up on the devil you know. I’m sure life will get better one day, I’m certain that life won’t always look this particular tone of brown. Lord help us, I pray it will one day look a different shade of brown. Or perhaps green, yellow or orange.

Well, gentle reader, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m starting to learn that most people at 10 or 25 don’t really know what they want to be either. Some of the most interesting 75 year olds I’ve ever met still don’t know what they want to be if they ever grow up, either. I guess life doesn’t always demand such an exact answer, something will come along that will fit for a while and suffice for a phase in life.

But man, it won’t come any time too soon.

3 worked it out »

  1. If there’s one thing Nintendo has taught me, (other than how to make characters named things like ‘Zelda’ cool) it’s to flat out keep trying until you get it right. They still haven’t regained the magic that was playing Duck Hunt on the NES back in the day, but one day they might… keep trying Mr. Walberg. I wish you the best in life.

     
  2. sarabella 9.15.2004

    Tom Robbins very eloquently worded the solution to this very dilemma in Jitterbug Perfume.

    “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The onion has as many pages as War and Peace, every one of which is poignant enough to make strong man weep, but the various ivory parchments of the onion and the stinging green bookmark of the onion are quickly charred by belly juices and bowed bacteria. Only the beet departs the body the same color as it went in.

    Beets consumed at dinner will, come morning, stock a toilet bowl with crimson fish, their hue attesting to beet’s chromatic immunity to the powerful digestive acids and thoroughgoing microbes that can turn the reddest pimento, the orangest carrot, the yellowest squash into a single disgusting shade of brown.

    At birth we are red-faced, round, intense, pure. The crimson fire of universal consciousness burns in us. Gradually, however, we are devoured by parents, gulped by schools, chewed up by peers, swallowed by social institutions, wolfed by bad habits, and gnawed by age; and by the time we have been digested, cow style in those six stomachs, we emerge a single disgusting shade of brown.

    The lesson of the beet, then, is this: hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown. Once you’re brown, you’ll find that you’re blue. As blue as indigo. And you know what that means:

    Indigo.

    Indigoing.

    Indigone.”

     
  3. Mish 9.15.2004

    I’m 30 and clueless as to what I want to do except live in the woods, and I havent been able to make that happen yet.

     

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