Career Day

Tightrope walking? That doesn’t sound so hard. Oh, wow, look at me everybody, I’m walking over a wire and I’m holding a big stick. Please. I don’t think it’s that hard to walk in a straight line. I do stuff like that all the time. I always walk on the curb, you know, if I’m on a really big sidewalk. It’s basically the same idea. I already said this but, it’s just walking in a straight line. I don’t see why tightrope walkers get to be famous and I don’t. Well, I guess tightrope walkers don’t really get to be all that famous, not super famous. There’s that one documentary that got popular a few years ago, the one about that guy who tightrope walked over the Twin Towers in the 1970s. But even him, I don’t even remember his name. He was French. He had a French name. Something like, Frederique or Dominique, or Filipique. I don’t know. I don’t get French. But yeah, I can’t remember anything about that guy at all, and I actually watched the movie, and I liked it, I thought it was inspirational, something that was going to stick with me. But I guess it didn’t. Being French, that doesn’t sound so hard either. You just have to smoke a lot of cigarettes and not tip your waiter anything at all.

Archeology? Come on. That doesn’t sound very hard at all. I can’t believe that’s even a real job. I could be an archeologist. I could be a pro archeologist. Step one. Find some field somewhere in the middle of nowhere, preferably in a foreign country (except France – see above.) Step two. Pitch a tent, buy a khaki vest, one with a lot of pockets, and a big floppy khaki hat. Get some khaki pants while you’re at it. Oh and hiking boots. Something tough, something rugged. Something you can only buy at hiking stores. Something khaki. Step three. Start digging. That’s basically it. You dig. When you don’t feel like digging anymore, or when you only feel like digging some of the time, while still getting all of the credit that goes with being a pro archeologist, go to some university, solicit a bunch of interns, make them do all of the digging, and while you’re at it, have them make you a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade, lots of ice, in a big glass pitcher, extra credit for those little umbrellas.

When they’re not digging for you, complain about how they don’t spend enough time digging, how if you want to go pro, you have to keep digging, that this is a digging man’s job. Or woman’s job. Pro archeology is one of the few professions that totally destroys the gender gap. When they are digging, get in their faces, complain about their lack of finesse, make them dig slower, give them comically small shovels, even tinier brushes. Make them stop digging for an entire day and switch entirely to brushing. When they complain that they aren’t moving any of the dirt with the brushes, throw your hands in the air and proclaim that maybe they don’t have what it takes for this profession, for this field.

Step four. When, after years of digging, after countless hours spent in that hole you’ve dug up, with no dinosaur bones, not even one arrow head to point to, when the university starts inquiring as to what exactly you’re doing out there, out in the field, when they threaten to start withholding interns unless you can show some results, a paper maybe, some sort of academic something, go to their offices and throw your hands in the air, the same way you did with the interns. Tell them archeology is a slow business. That you need patience. That you need more interns, with more floppy hats, with even more khaki.

Chiropractors? Jesus. Let me tell you a story about a little boy who dreamed about being a masseuse. All he wanted to do was to grow up to give massages for a living, to run his hands across the backs and necks and legs and arms of everybody in the world, easing their physical tension, soothing their aches and pains, making the world a better place, one muscle knot at a time. But he was terrible. Everybody that he touched winced in pain. He just couldn’t get it right. And just as he was about to give up completely, to look in the mirror and say, enough, it’s time for a new dream, he was approached by a chiropractor. And the chiropractor said, “Wait! You! The boy who wants to be a masseuse, the boy who hurts and scars everybody he touches. You don’t have to give up your dream. You just have to call yourself a chiropractor. You get to do all of the stuff you already do, and people will pay you. Plus, you get to call yourself a doctor without having to sit through even one hour of medical school!”

What am I doing wrong? There’s a whole world out there. A whole world of bullshit professions that I could probably master in my sleep. Anesthesiologist. Interior decorator. Comptroller. Certified public accountant. I just have do it. I just have to get out there and start walking on straight lines and smoking cigarettes or digging big holes and wearing khaki or cracking people’s backs and taking x-rays. I’ve got to spend less time writing about how easy all of this stuff is and more time actually doing it. But I’d probably get bored. Because none of this stuff sounds very hard at all. And when would I get to play XBOX? Or Wii? Or enjoy a glass of wine? Or a bottle of wine? Or a bottle of bourbon? There has to be some bullshit job that incorporates all of this nonsense into one livable profession. I’ve got to find it. I’ve got to do it.

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