Recently I heard someone talking about how few people there are who remember what they wanted to be when they grew up. I have always wanted to be the same thing so it's an easy question for me, but for a lot of people, it's surprisingly difficult to answer. Maybe you wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut or a teacher and maybe some of you lucky bitches got to grow up and be just that. (Like there's really an astronaut reading this lame ass blog.) But for a lot of us, we are either still striving for it or we simply don't recall. I asked my mom what she wanted to be when she grew up and she had no idea. “Oh, I don't remember. Maybe a secretary or something.” How could she not know what it was she wanted to grow up to be? I have wanted to be an actor my whole life and never stopped wanting it. Over the years I've gotten lazier about making it happen, but I never stopped knowing that is what I want to be. There were some other brief career aspirations; commercial artist, sign maker, teacher, writer, but actor was always the one that persevered. One career I never dreamed about having was waiter, but look what the fuck has happened. Or maybe I did want to be one somewhere deep in my subconscious.
When I was about 13 years old, my parent felt I was mature enough to stay at home for a few hours at a time and babysit my two younger brothers. It was a real big deal. One summer, the three of us were all at home and I was responsible for making lunch. I spent the whole morning creating menus so we could play restaurant. I pulled out my calligraphy set and some fancy paper and crafted two menus for my brothers. What kind of kid was I that I had a fucking calligraphy set and fancy paper? I was the same kid who had pencil sets and stationary, that's who. When it was time for lunch, I called my brothers into the kitchen and asked them to sit at the bar. They were presented with menus and they got to choose what they wanted for lunch. The menu consisted of Kraft macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Steak-umms®. For beverages, their options were water, milk, or Kool-Aid and for dessert I probably offered Chips Ahoy or Popsicles. This was some fine dining shit. With my mom's apron wrapped around my waist, I tried to take their orders. They were not having it.
"This is stupid. What are you doing?"
"We're playing restaurant and I'm your waiter. What can I get for you?"
"Whatever. This is dumb," said Chad who never had any problem telling me that something I was doing was a stupid waste of time or as dumb as fuck. He was ten years old but he could cut me to the quick like nobody's business. Of course they didn't want to let me take their order and then have to sit there and "play restaurant" while I was making their Steak-umms® and Kool-Aid. They just told me what they wanted and got up to go play knowing full-well that I would call them when lunch was ready.
"But wait, you're supposed to sit and let me serve you," I cried out as they ran off to play Atari or with their Matchbox cars. "I made calligraphy menus," I screamed, putting the final nail in the coffin of my restaurant game. Chad laughed at me and then the younger one laughed too because he did whatever Chad did. I was alone in the kitchen. The menus were left on the bar and I felt stupid for even spending time making them in the first place. They went into the trash can and I took off the apron. I was just the older brother again making lunch for two unappreciative brats who just made fun of me. But lunch was made, they ate it, and I cleaned it all up. It was the first time I ever served food to someone who was mean to me and then didn't leave a tip. But God knows it wasn't the last time.
Did I ever say, "I want to be a waiter when I grow up?" No, I definitely did not. But it happened anyway. Sometimes we just end up being something even though we never planned on it. Did the lady at the DMV plan that when she was ten years old? Doubtful. Did the postman check that box on career day? Probably not. Did I go to school to be a waiter? Nope. But here I am. And here you are. Is what you are doing for a job what you expected to be doing when you were a kid? I wanna know.
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