My work days are long and taxing, but the consolation is that my mind can occasionally wander without affecting the tasks at hand. My mind is a loom, weaving a tapestry of crazy thoughts and pop culture references…I really should invent a machine that transcribes my thoughts into print, so when I come home after a long day–it’s all there, ready to be edited–or shit, while I’m out there inventing mind-reading machines, why not get this bitch to edit? Cut through all the nonsensical imaginings which, believe me, there is an abundance. But in reality, my husband just bought me a new cell phone and I’m totally intimidated by it. So…I’m not really the inventing type. And I really wish I could be, I am looking for that ‘dare to be great’ situation. I remember this childhood scrap book with space created for each school year. At the bottom of the page where you put your yearly photo was a checklist–‘what I want to be when I grow up’: “Nurse” “Stewardess” “Actress”, check, check, check. Why not? To think of it now, the crippling indecisiveness of wanting to do ‘everything’ has lead to a whole lot of studying, traveling, and waitressing. (PS, why does spell check have to hate-on the word waitressing? It’s a word dammit! I’ve lived it!)
I was discussing this with Robin, a former professor, now dear friend. I had just read a slew of Nora Ephron books, and felt mildly annoyed at her idea of her ‘before-success’ job, which was writing for the Post in New York City, which followed a Wellesley education, and a brief intern position at the White House for the Kennedy Administration. Not too shabs indeed. Robin says, “Well, she’s not going to write about the crappy jobs”, she’s going to skip that”. “Well I won’t skip that”, straightening indignantly, “I will talk almost exclusively about all the degrading, low paying jobs I’ve had, because people need to know just how long that road can be”. My shoulders slump slightly: “That’s if…you know, anything fabulous ever comes of me”, I think. Hmm, what a dreadful thought.
But anecdotes about Ephron’s early days as a journalist is not what I, the unpaid writer, wants to hear, I want to hear three things about life: that people can immigrate to their spouses’ country’s with ease, that women can have healthy children late into their thirties and that extremely successful people suffered before they found their niche. I want Brad Pitt in the fast food chicken suit, before the rambling Chanel # 5 ads and the fifty children he acquired with Angelina Jolie. I want Madonna at Dunkin Donuts, before the Gollum arms and as many fashion incarnations as Brad Pitt has kids. I want Channing Tatum as a struggling stripper because…who wouldn’t be into that?
And my personal favorite, tied with Whoopi Goldberg as a beautician in a mortuary, was Rod Stewart as a grave digger. Come on! How do you not feel better about your station in life after hearing that? Imagine Stewart, shovel in hand, feeling the indignity of such a shitty job…do you think he thought to himself: “One day, I’m going to have a string of gorgeous wives and make a ton of cash, be a easy listening radio staple and have children well into my seventies…and my hair will always be awesome”. Probably not…he probably did it because he needed the work, needed the cash, and couldn’t see the bright lights of his super sexy future. Take these thoughts as if they are a cozy blanket and wrap that around yourself. It too could happen to you. But it better happen to me first because I need to hire someone to teach me how to use my fancy new phone.