Saturday, March 19, 2005

So what did I really want to be?

Unemployment gives a person a lot of time to think. An obvious statement to be sure, but one worth stating all the same. My last job, without going into too much specific detail, was a deadening, soul-sucking office job. I sat in a cubical, talked on the phone, filled out forms, got yelled at, lectured, dissected, scrutinized, condescended to and had to kowtow to morons. (some of whom make homo habilis look like the man of tomorrow) I tried to do enough just to squeak by so I could avoid having to discuss my efforts, or lack there of. The typical office space is a horrible place to work. It is like being in high school without the excuse of being a kid.
The question asked of me these days, aside from where did I go wrong, is what do I want to do. I have decided to return to school and upgrade my minor in Art to a BA. From there it is Masters studies and then, hopefully, teach. I would be good at it. I was a TA in university and was considered to be quite promising. I had other plans, though. Whatever, nothing to do about that now. However, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood and the question I find myself asking is: what did I want to be?
The easy answer is an archaeologist. From the age of four to about the age of twelve, I had decided that I was going to be an archaeologist – I liked history and I wanted to travel. But that is really what I wanted to do; the question really is, what did I want to be? That requires looking at want I was really into back in the day.
1. Swashbuckling. I loved the story of Robin Hood and I played it out every chance I got. Be it Disney’s terrible animated version (it was fun as a kid and Roger Miller’s songs are great) or the ever classic Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, Richard Lester’s film Robin and Marian, or Ivanhoe I was smitten with the story. I wanted to be a expert archer and master swordsman. Richard Lester also fuelled those fantasies with his Three and Four Musketeers – versions of the story that have no peers. Swordplay, intrigue… it held and still holds my imagination to this day.
2. Norse History. As my pseudonym (yes, it is a pseudonym) should indicate, I have a bit of a Viking fetish. My Father was very interested in Norse history, particularly their ships and shipbuilding methods. One of the books I remember reading was Sea Wolves by Frank Birkenbaek and Charles Barren. That book and others made me dream about being on a longship or in a knar sailing off across the North Sea to go raiding, trading or to take my imaginary family to Iceland, Greenland or North America. Many of my papers for my history classes had something to do with the Norsemen or Icelandic settlements.
3. Black. I really wanted to be black too. My neighbours were black, great athletes, really friendly and the kids always seemed one step ahead of the rest of us in the neighbourhood. I was slower, more awkward physically and socially. There was Muhammad Ali, the coolest man on Earth as far as I was concerned. My Dad let me watch a bit of the “Rumble in the Jungle” and I was in awe. I was so into Ali my Dad even bought me gloves and a double end, reflex bag. There was Morgan Freeman as “Easy Reader”, Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson, Isaac Hayes, etc. Being black seemed a whole lot better than being boring, bland and white.
So back to the question of what did I want to be? I think that what I really wanted to be was a Swashbuckling, Viking Soul Brother.
Yes, I really do have too much time on my hands.


Anonymous Y.L. Kozak said...

Interesting separation between what you wanted to 'do' and what, in essence, you really wanted to 'be'.
Have to think about what I wanted to really 'be', but I what I wanted to do was join Jacques Cousteau's team.

22 March, 2005 03:26  

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