What to do when (and if) you grow up…..

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Humour


Growing up, I imagined myself doing many things. Refrigeration Mechanic wasn’t in my plans, I’ll admit. But as I was watching television with my youngest son the other night, we got to discussing just what he wanted to do when he grew up.  After reviewing his possible choices, it occurred to me: boy, have things changed since I was a kid.

When I was 5, the world was my oyster. I used to lay back, daydreaming just what I would become….pirate,  ninja, stunt man like Evil Knievel, doctor…. You name it, I was gonna do it. Astronaut wasn’t out of the question, although I would have to conquer my fear of heights before considering this. It’s a great time to be alive, being 5. Nothing was stopping you, except your imagination. Unfortunately, reality takes hold eventually, and some vocations just become impossible.

Take my dream of becoming President of the United States. Okay, that one has now become obvious to me now. First, I’m not American. I’m neither Democrat nor Republican, although I lean towards the former more than the latter. I could have been the ‘immigrant-turned-politician’, but that would mean leaving Canada, and I hadn’t tortured my fellow Canadians enough yet. But, at 5, this seemed like a real possibility.

Ninja soon dropped out, as well, because I just couldn’t see myself devoting all that time to stealth and throwing stars. Oh, sure, I would have liked to learn the skills a ninja had, just in case I needed them on the ‘streets’, but the lifestyle of a ninja just didn’t quite do it for me. I also wasn’t in the shape required to perform some of the more intricate moves necessary to attain the pinnacle of ninja-dom, nor did I see myself getting into said shape.

Pirate would have required some sort of ocean access, which we didn’t have. My father also explained to me how doubtful it was that we would become a seafaring family, as my mother suffered from seasickness, and it was more than likely that I did as well. I also had an unnatural fear of parrots, at the time, although I have grown fond of them in the ensuing years. Being a pirate was much more complicated, apparently, than I originally thought.

Now, stunt man… this one had potential. This fantasy vocation stayed with me for several years, in part because I had a radical banana bike (with sparkly leather-like seat), but also because the 70’s was a decade which glorified the stunt-person. Many times did I imagine myself completing the ill-fated jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace, or making the jump over the Grand Canyon in the rocket car successfully. My dream of this came crashing down (literally) then I attempted to jump over a ramp consisting of 5 tires and a long barn board borrowed from Mr. Sabourin. I bent, in chronological order, the front wheel, the front forks, my left testicle, my two legs, the rest of me. As I lay on the ground, I wondered if little angels would appear above me because surely I had died. When, instead, my brother and best friend appeared, laughing so hard they were crying, I decided to take a leave of absence from stunt man.

Which leaves doctor. This one was last, but not least, on my dream list at 5 years old.  Doctor, a dignified profession if ever there was one. Able to smoke a pipe (it was 1970, remember), sit, talk to my ‘peeps’, give them mysterious diagnoses like ‘we’re not quite sure how little Tommy got that Hotwheel so deeply into his lung, but, Mrs. Van Bustrem, we’ll by golly get it out!’, or ‘You appear to be exhibiting all the symptoms of ‘Himalayan Herpes’, Mr. Scooby….have you been dallying places not intended by God or the Prime Minister?’. You’d walk down the street, wearing your white smock and stethoscope, high-fiving the adoring patients who would meet and greet you at the post office. Of course, when I found out how much schooling was necessary, the type of devotion that was required, and  the kind of people you had to put up with (I have the greatest doctor in the world, yet he must roll his eyes when he sees me on his docket), well, let’s just say I changed my mind. Again.

Which leads us back to having this conversation with my son, Mackie. None of these job descriptions were in his mind. No, he had cooler ones than I could ever imagine. Spelunker, helicopter pilot, marine biologist, DJ, film maker… Of course, in my mind, I think he has a real chance of doing these things, but I know that this list will morph dozens of times as he grows older. But I’m not going to rain on his parade. Nope. He can do any and all of these things, just as long as he pays me a small stipend  for educating him in the finer things in life….like NOT to jump the ramp your brother makes for you.

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