As all of you know—either because you are a decent person with a kind heart who wrote the letters HBD on my Facebook wall a few short weeks ago or because you are a comparatively shitty person who is now reading these words and realizing that you don’t care about one of the most important people in your life, aka me, at all—I recently celebrated a birthday. That’s right ladies and gents I am now, officially, 31 years of age. At least that’s what my mom tells me. And while I cannot unequivocally prove how old I am since I have never seen my long-form birth certificate, what I can say as a youngish, white dude who may or may not have been born in Kenya is that birthdays still serve as sort of mile-makers in my life. Birthdays cause me to be very nostalgic.
And yet it’s also not a place I’d ever imagined I’d wind up. Throughout the course of my now 31 years on Earth I’ve had a lot of dreams, held a ton of ambitions that more or less turned out to be total chimera (yeah, I’m smart). And as the seasons of my life have now taken one more step towards winter, I felt it was important to examine all of the things that I, at one point and time, had wished to become. What I found is that this is a strangely efficient way to take stock of your past. As the cliche goes, to know where you’re going, you’ve got to know where you’ve been.
An Exhaustive List of My Unfulfilled Dreams
Dream #1: Becoming A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-When I was 7 or so, my family got a pet turtle that my older brother illogically named “Duck.” After a summer spent watching The Secret of The Ooze on repeat, I quickly came up with a plan: I’d hold “Duck” in my hands and spilled a variety of liquids—lemonade, cranberry juice, half and half—onto us until I was able to create my own secret ooze and we both morphed into crime fighting reptiles that would learn the sacred art of ka-ra-te from Master Splinter, aka the only rat that I am not afraid of even though he is, ironically, also the only one that could easily murder me. I even enrolled in a Taekwondo class at the local YWCA (#equality) to prepare. Then, a couple weeks later, I failed my yellow belt test epically and “Duck” escaped while playing in the sandbox in our backyard. That’s the thing about pet turtles. You take your eye off of them for one second… and poof. You’re stuck being a human for the rest of your life.
Dream #2: NBA Superstar-In the third grade my school hosted a career-day, during which all of the kids in my class were asked to stand up and audibly state what it was that they wanted to be when they grew up. The answers were somewhat predictable. Firefighter. Astronaut. Vets, of both the military and animal-doctoring variety. When it was my turn, I stood up, and let it rip: “When I grow up,” I said, “I’m going to play in the NBA.” If any of my classmates laughed, which would’ve been a totally valid response, I don’t remember it. What I do remember is being totally serious in my answer. Apparently, I was unaware that playing in the NBA required the ability to do things such as jump or run more than 14 steps at a time without deciding that going fast isn’t worth the effort. Unless you’re Brian Scalabrine. And I, both fortunately and unfortunately I suppose, was not born with red hair.
Dream #3: High-School Teacher/Football Coach-If you know almost nothing about the world, this is a desirable profession. I mean you get summers off. And screaming at children on a football field seems fun, assuming you are not dick about it. Then you get older and start to learn stuff like how much money the average high school teacher makes or that kids don’t auotmatically listen to you just because you are physically larger than them and know almost exactly as much about the American Revolution as they do. Then you start a Twitter account wherein you discuss fecal matter every morning. Then you finally realize that mentoring impressionable children may or may not be for you.
Dream #4: Enormous Movie Extra-This dream came into being while I was hate-watching Rudy in college and noticed something about the scene where that gigantic lineman rightfully trucks Rudy as punishment for being a try-hard nerd: There are all kinds of small film roles that require super big actors, the very same men and women who are otherwise discriminated against in normal society, that are not allowed to speak (and now we’re back to the aforementioned discrimination). Football lineman. Bouncers at biker bars. Mafia enforcers. Guys who fart audibly in public while eating a turkey leg. There was a real market here that I, as an almost college-graduate, was prepared to exploit, until I realized that movie extras make like $75/day and, according to several dozen of my new Instagram “followers,” I evidently had a face for radio. And a voice for print.
Dream #5: Person With Health Insurance-On my 26th birthday, the government forcibly removed me from my mother’s health insurance coverage. Thanks a lot Obama. Next, the fat cats in DC expected me to pay somewhere between $70 and $89,000 a month in order to obtain my own health insurance, despite the fact that I was unemployed and had recently spent the last $8 in my checking account on a moderately large bag of gummy bears. I was in a real pickle here because, as it turns out, health insurance is a real necessity for people who eat as many gummy bears as I do. Fortunately, I was soon able to find gainful employment, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing your future Type II Diabetes is covered by your employer’s plan. Which means that technically, yes, I guess I am living out this dream. But the month where I had to ask my parents to loan me the money I need to pay for my own health insurance? That was the hardest month of my life. Also I never paid my parents back. Also also, I haven’t had a very hard life.
Dream #6: Professional Blogger-Imagine what my life would be like if someone paid me to compose these words and send them out to the masses, as opposed to my current situation wherein I’m not paid to compose these words and the only member of the masses who reads them is a dude from Nepal who’s constantly disappointed when google keeps directing him here instead of to an actual artist that’s willing to create an exact replica of his testicles on a 3D printer? Yeah, it’d probably be better than it is now (depending on how much this theoretical person paid me, which would depend 100% on how badly they wanted to tap into the Nepalese pervert-based art market). Unfortunately none of the “big media” conglomerates have made me an offer yet. Looks like this aforementioned, very specific market of NePalese people is not quite as lucrative as you’d think.
Dream #7: Navy SEAL-After a quick, and very recent, Google search I learned that in order to become a SEAL you have to be no older than 29 and able to do more than 0.333333 pull-ups consecutively. Well, that was short lived...
Dream #8: Stay At Home Dad…With No Kids-Wearing an American flag sweat suit/headband while speed walking around the park. Popping an ice-cold Busch at 10:37 on a Tuesday morning because you can’t be an alcoholic if no one sees how hammered you are getting. Meeting all my best buddies for a cup of java at the nearest locally owned coffee shop, Starbucks is too low class now that poor people are allowed to drop a deuce in their b-rooms, and gossiping about how Cheryl and George (whoever the hell they are) are headed for certain divorce. Watching Steve Harvey on my television screen for between 6 and 14 hours straight. This is the cliché existence of a suburban housewife. And it sounds like the exact way that I want to live.
Minus all the school lunches you have to make, and rides to jazz flute lessons you have to dole out, and 9th birthday parties you have to pretend to be sober at, because apparently some people get super triggered when you are noticeably intoxicated around their children. Damn snowflakes. Anyways, as of right now I don’t have a kid (or a dog for that matter) but I am already pretty sure that children ruin everything. The responsibility of caring for another living organism, and making sure it is happy, healthy and not dead, just seems like a total buzzkill to me. What I want is freedom. The freedom to do nothing. The freedom to possess an almost unlimited amount of free time. The freedom to finally live my best life.
I am a 31-year-old grown man who wants to live off the efforts of another person. I have no interest in supporting children due to the fact that in my dream life, I pretty much am one.