Now that I'm 40, some very sad people who live sad, pathetic lives would officially consider me a grown up. I don't, but I'll play along for kicks. In that vein, I've been giving some thought to what I want to be.
The thing is, I have to write. That's a given. Writing is as essential to me as breathing, sleeping and eating snack cakes. It's what I do - maybe not well, but it's what I do. I still dream of being discovered and actually getting paid for it. I have these delusions of grandeur - kind of like Tracy's character on 30 Rock who wants to capture the EGOT (or win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award). I, on the other hand, dream about the PENIS (Pulitzer, Emmy, Nobel, International Writers Award and best Screenplay Oscar).
I have a degree in print journalism. You probably don't remember print journalism, but believe it or not, people used to have these things called newspapers - yes, made out of actual paper - that they would hold in their hands and read to get the news each day. You didn't have to plug them in or anything! How archaic!
The truth is, the only reason I majored in the ancient art of journalism is because my parents are both quite extraordinary print journalists, and my state's press association therefore thought I'd be a good one, too, and awarded me a full-tuition scholarship to a state university. Journalism paid for college, so ta-da! I became a journalist.
Turns out, I wasn't horrible at it, and I worked my way up the state's newspaper ladder fairly quickly as a young adult. But here's the thing: while I loved the daily writing part and even the thrill of writing on a tight deadline, I didn't like talking to people much or antagonizing them, as was occasionally necessary. That's kind of a big deal when you're a journalist, but I'd have to psych myself up for interviews and pretend to be someone I wasn't. It didn't mesh with who I really am. I'm certainly not shy when I write (duh), but in person? Well, let's put it like this. When I was a little kid, the preschool teacher had to say, "Duck, Duck, Goose" for me and actually place my hand on other kids' heads, or I wouldn't play.
Furthermore, I married a high school football coach who moved frequently as he pursued his career, and I popped out of a couple of kids, so it was increasingly difficult to stay in a career that thrives on the unplanned. Getting calls at 5 a.m. from an editor ordering me to haul my butt across the state to cover a train wreck doesn't exactly jibe with family life. My favorite job is being a mom, and I am completely okay with that. My employers insist I work ridiculous hours, but the benefits are many.
So I gave up newspaper work. Fortunately, that was a prescient move on my part, since newspapers are quickly going the way of the dinosaur. (I just high-fived myself, though I desperately miss vending machine Fritos and Dr. Peppers, which taste so much better when you're trying to think of a lead while an annoyed copy editor yells at you from across the newsroom. I wonder if I could hire an out-of-work copy editor to drop by and yell at me occasionally....)
With newspapers out of the picture, I did whatever I could that allowed me to write on a daily basis and earn a few bucks - while also following a football coach from one stadium to another and raising a couple of youngins. I free-lanced, worked in college public relations offices and even pretended to be a writing teacher for a while. (FYI: seventh graders thought I totally rocked, mainly because I operated at their maturity level).
But this last coaching move - our ninth move, I believe, but I lost track after six - kind of did me in for a while. I had started over one too many times, and I had no desire to be the "newbie" on the job again. I just didn't have it in me. Worse, my resume' was starting to look like a person with ADHD (which I clearly don't hav…SQUIRREL!!!).
That also was during a health scare that made me really, really evaluate what is truly important in life. If we budgeted carefully, we could survive on one income. After numerous moves and restarts, I desperately needed time to breathe and porch sit and just be… still. So I did that for a while.
Now I'm over it. I'm ready to do something again. Part of that something is this blog, but sadly, none of you send me money in spite of my numerous hints. Hell, I'd settle for Chocodiles, but your lazy asses won't get out to California and get me any. Some audience you are.
If I never get discovered as a writer or get my PENIS (this thought is unbearable to me, so please people, spread the word), I may be forced to consider other career options. Sigh…. With that in mind, I compiled the following list of possible non-writing careers I might actually be able to tolerate:
Teaching People to Be So G they are almost H: If I have to explain this to you, then you have no swagger and desperately need my class. I am the real slim shady. Have you not seen me cruising in my navy blue KIA Sendona minivan and jamming some Journey with the windows rolled down in the school pick-up lines while sippin' on a cherry limeade?
Hostess Distribution Specialist: I would make it my personal mission to see to it that Chocodiles return to all the people east of the Mississippi. Then I would be revered as a god, and I would smite all those who have told me Chocodiles are nothing more than chocolate-covered Twinkies. As IF.
Master Baiter: I am a Kentucky girl who spent a lot of my childhood in a bass boat. I know how to bait a hook with the best of them. What did you think I meant?
Chiptiquer: I am a potato chip connoisseur and am compelled to try every new variety of chip on the market. I could give companies awesome, informed chiptiques, like, "Soft hints of cheddar and onion and supple hickory aromas round off the sharpness you sometimes encounter in the most austere expressions of fine chip making. Hickory Cheddar Chip-Os delivers a pleasantly plush and luscious crunch with a velvety texture and a yielding personality. Best served with hot dogs, this chip will appeal to those seeking a life, but having none because they sit on the couch all day eating chips while watching stupid '100' lists on VH1."
Christian Bale's Vocabulary Enhancer: Not one to shy away from a challenge, I could teach Bale that there are other f-ing words to f-ing use when some f-ing cameraman is f-ing up your f-ing set! This would involve numerous, intense one-on-one tutoring lessons in the privacy of clandestine hotel rooms, where I would teach him to use his lips for something other than saying the f-word. For instance, he could use his lips to help me critique the latest chips on the market. Geez. You people are dirty. This, of course, is why I like you so much.
Being Tina Fey: What do you mean that job is already taken?
Crackhead Chevron Jingle Writer: This is a last resort, but there is a Chevron station down the road from me that seems to attract all the local crackheads. Naturally, I composed a jingle for them: Get your cigarettes. Buy your beer! Deal some crack - while you're here! It's… Crack. Heaaad. Chev-ronnnnn! (Catchy, isn't it?) Surprisingly, Chevron/Texaco was not receptive, though I told them the oil industry's image could use some tweaking.