Bread and Bitter

I never intended to work in an office. Not for real anyway. It was temporary you see. It was a “scheme”. It was “I will make my millions really fast and then use it to travel and afterwards I’ll get a real job!” It was complete and total denial.

You see, sitting in an office acquiring paper cuts was never on my agenda. Let’s face facts, it’s never on anyone’s agenda, ever, it just happens because the world is a great, big fucker with a warped sense of humor.

When I was six the teacher would make us write lists of possible occupations we’d like to try once we reached adulthood. Naturally, I’d be full of enthusiasm. “Why, I will fly planes of course! TO JUPITER! I will be one of Charlie’s Angels. I will invent a time machine that will allow me to come back to the ’70s and kill whoever told my mother that dressing a little child in a geometrically patterned pant suit was a terrific idea. I will eat candy for every meal, like Willy Wonka. I will be a long distance truck driver.” (Seriously, I was a weird kid, it’s lucky I’m not a serial killer. Not yet anyway. I don’t think…don’t you need like…three confirmed kills to be “serial” or something? Hello, is that the FBI at my door?)

You see, when you’re a little kid there’s no bullshitting involved. You never hear a six year old say, “You know, I think I’d like to answer other people’s phones all day, photocopy endless pages of useless crap and find inventive ways to express my buried rage by pulling paperclips apart and stabbing them into voodoo dolls of my boss.” Not once do you rub your hands together with glee thinking of all the travel plans you will make for other people only to alter and remake them twelve times before canceling them altogether the day of the trip.

This is because when you’re little you have a plan and that plan is…there IS no plan. You can be whatever you want. You have stuff to do. Your expectations are high but they’re simple. You will be an astronaut. An astronaut who will zoom all over the universe at the speed of light, chasing aliens, saving the world and slaying monsters with a large laser gun and when you’re not zapping monsters you will eat Tremendous. Amounts. Of. Pudding. And of course you see no obstacles to this plan because you are six.

By the time you’re twelve, however, you’re already getting jaded. You’re like, “Astronauts indeed! That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard, I am going to be a rock star. And all the boys/girls in the world will fall in love with me and my poster will hang on every kid’s bedroom wall in every nation in the whole wide world.” Producing colorful spreadsheets and detailed bar graphs featuring fourth quarter sales of tampons never once crossed your mind. And there is nothing in the plan that says, “sometimes your entire day will be ruined because you will run out of staples.”

When you’re fifteen you’ve put away childish things. You are going to be a marine biologist, although you have no idea what that is. You’re going to be a doctor. Maybe you want to make people better and maybe you’re just a fifteen year old boy-doctor who just wants to see a naked lady’s sweater puppies.

The thing is I don’t remember anyone exclaiming excitedly, “I know! I want to spend the only youth I’ll ever have extracting chewed up paper from a Xerox machine and I will look forward every morning to filling the coffee machine because no one else ever does it and if I could leave school…like right now? I’d be like…SO stoked to perform a really slammin’ mail merge in Microsoft Word, which I could send to seven hundred people informing them of lots of great things they don’t give two shits about!”

Yet suddenly one day, there you are, sitting at a beige desk, in a beige cubicle staring at the beige printer by your side and listening to beige people around you talking about their beige lives and you realize that when you were six, you knew shit. And you hate six year old you. In fact, if you had that time machine and you COULD go back in time, you’d kick six year old you right in the kishkas.


11 Responses to “Bread and Bitter”

  1. gizmorox Says:


    Except that I was 9 when I wanted to be a marine biologist, because there was this awesome show on Canadian television called “Danger Bay” that made it look awesome. Then I realized math and science were involved. Bah.

  2. Teri Says:

    **clapping loudly**

  3. The Guv'ner Says:

    Yeah Miz Giz, I wanted to be a pilot till I realized math and science were involved. Well…that and the fact I need tranquilizers to get on a plane. Sort of three strikes right there! 🙂

    Teri: You’ve downed a few martinis haven’t you?

    God I wish I had alcohol. I have some Jose Cuervo in the freezer but nothing to put in him. Drat. One cannot drink straight tequila or one will die.

  4. deadspot Says:

    I always refill the coffee pot, because if it’s empty you can’t get coffee from it. Coffee is, and I cannot stress this enough, life. If it’s empty, fill it up.

    Why is this such a complicated concept?

  5. The Guv'ner Says:

    Dead: I do not know. It’s simple, it’s fast and it’s necessary if you don’t want me to hunt you down and beat your ass. Those people who pour their drink then leave a DRIBBLE in the bottom of the pot are the worst. I am setting up a secret camera I swear. And I will find out who does this. And they will pay. Oh yes, they will PAY.

  6. Chris Says:

    I read a book in first grade that made me want to be a marine biologist. Seriously, I was seven, and wanted to be a marine biologist. That lasted for years, actually, until I realized that not all marine biology happens in the tropics, and that the nearest college that taught marine biology was in Bimidji, Minnesota. It’s COLD in Bimidji.

    Then I wanted to go into forestry, so I could spend my days outdoors, wandering through scenic vistas. (Dammit, I still want to do that!) But I met a girl with snuggly sweater puppies who didn’t want me to leave town to go to college and thought I’d be better off staying in town to study Librul Arts and listening to her whine.

    Hence my wondrous career staring at a computer. Fortunately the girl left and I found a better one with even snugglier sweater puppies, but I’m still stuck in a basement staring at a computer all day, every day, longing for human contact and/or fresh air.

  7. The Guv'ner Says:

    Aww Chris! Sweater Puppies at least partly make up for chaining any wanderlust you may have had. I still want to be a long distance truck driver however, it’s really just a ploy to get paid to take road trips. I shower too much to be a LD truck driver. And I don’t have scantily clad girl pics taped up in the cab of my truck. Of course I don’t HAVE a truck. C’est la vie!

    I still want to be a pilot though (in my head). I have to live vicariously through Microsoft’s flight simulator. I’ll have you know, I crashed a jet into the World Trade Center TWO YEARS before those bastards thought of it. It was accidental of course. Much like the time I crashed into the control tower (oops).

  8. The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: Says:

    I wanted to be a bus driver.

  9. The Guv'ner Says:


  10. pistols at dawn Says:

    I always dreamed of being boring one day, because I believed in setting attainable goals as a child.

    That’s one for me.

  11. The Guv'ner Says:

    Well you are a lot of things but I’m not sure “boring” is one of them…

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