Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When I Grow Up I Want To Be

I’ve been looking at my youngest boy lately and trying to discern what he might do with himself later in life. Career-wise, I mean (I have no doubt that, socially, he will be a party animal).

He is naturally green-fingered, shows an interest in cooking and likes fire engines.

I expect at 4 years old he is still too young to have had the thought “when I’m all growed up I want to be a...” occur to him.

I think I was 7 or 8 before I had a firm idea of what it is I wanted to be.

I wanted to be a crime-fighter. But no ordinary crime-fighter. I was going to be a crime-fighter with a kick-ass gang of celeb crime-fighters. This kick-ass gang comprised of the good guys from Star Wars, Charlie’s Angels and, for some ridiculous reason, Abba. Yeah. Like they’d ever get their gold lame dirty bringing some filthy crim to heel.

And we’d patrol the mean streets of Leamington armed with Star Wars blasters and light sabres in vehicles which I wanted to patent as “supercars”.

I put considerable thought into these wonder-vehicles. I mean, I had to fit the entire gang in there ‘cos, like, we were going to go everywhere together and do everything with each other. We’re talking a bond of brothers here. And sisters.

My ingenious plan was to have cars pulling caravans, but fused together with great sheets of bulletproof metal so that both vehicles were one, sealed whole. My thought processes even considered machine guns installed behind the headlamps and a rotating gun turret cut into the roof of the caravan. I drew plans and everything.

The design was a goer, I’m telling you. The crims of Leamington Spa would never know what hit them and the police would look upon us with pure envy in their eyes.

That I never considered how these metallic behemoths would be able to turn around corners or fit under low bridges or not blow over on the motorway in a decent gust of wind is testament to my youth and (at the time) unquenchable optimism.

I can remember feeling absolutely sure that I was going to do this. I just had to get the money; buy the metal and get welding. I mean, how difficult could it be? I’d even drawn the plans in biro and coloured them in with felt-tip. This was a commitment.

And then I remember quite clearly that moment in my early teens, not long after I’d started secondary school and the real world had begun to impinge on my mental flights of fancy – that soul-excoriating moment when you realize for yourself without someone forcing it on you – that you are talking absolute bollocks, the idea is completely stupid and childish and it’s never, ever, EVER going to happen.

Not in a million frigging years.

Welcome to the joyless world of adulthood.

I look at my little boy and I feel envy and sadness all mixed together. I smile at him carefully and keep what I am thinking to myself.

If you can accept this unforgiving minute then you’ll be a man, my son.

But if you refuse to accept it and live your dreams to the full then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be something more.



Rol said...

You just summed up the premise of my last nvl. I should employ you to write the synopsis. And then not put it on Authonomy, since you're determined to put me off joining you there with your faint praise damnation.

Steve said...

Rol: gah! Synopses! Hate 'em! Actually, the links in my last post were very useful and have enabled me to rewrite my synopsis for Danny into something that is actually enjoyable to read in itself. As for Authonomy... it's just not the shortcut it sells itself as. Why am I even surprised. However, it won't do any harm and is a good place to acquire feedback. And other agents do fish in those particular waters so it is worth a punt. Seriously.

Unknown said...

When I grow up I want to be a princess! ; )

Katriina said...

Loved this post, Steve.

Am also really enjoying Danny Houdini. Up to chapter 3 already. Your characters are so alive.

John Going Gently said...

at 8 I wanted to be a green grocer
bugger knows why?
...and look how I turned out!

Nota Bene said...

Dreams, any dreams and ambitions are great to have. In my case, I'm still working out what I want to be when I grow up.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I love it. I can just picture you and Charlie's Angels delivering karate kicks to the bad guys while ABBA are playing Dancing Queen in the background. I think the Super Trouper costume would suit you best.

the fly in the web said...

I always wanted to be a lawyer...not a dashing one as in courtroom dramas, just a lawyer.

We had no lawyers in the family so goodness only knows where the idea came from but that's what I'd wanted since I was in junior school.

Being an obstinate and resentful child the cries of 'but women can't be lawyers' only fueled the resolve to do just that.

I hope your son can go with his dreams...whatever they are.

Steve said...

Hannah: you already are (in the nicest way).

Katriina: wow. Big thank you!

John: greengrocers can go onto big things - look at Mrs Thatch. Sorry. Bad example.

Nota Bene: that's the way to stay perpetually young.

Gorilla Bananas: don't knock it. If we ever had to save your ass you'd be damned grateful.

The fly in the web: seems to me you need a mix of encouragment and ridicule to get the inner steel you need to see your dreams through to the end.

Keith said...

Tell him he can be whatever he wants to be. Tell him every day. Tell him even when he is fifteen, eighteen, twenty, twenty nine.

And tell yourself while you are at it.

And then get a glittery crime-busting catsuit run up in your size.

libby said...

That was a sweet reminder of what it is like to be young and optimistic............you do well to keep your thoughts to yourself in front of your boy at the moment...maybe his dreams will blossom and flourish and he will have a smile as wide as a mile for most of his life.

Steve said...

Keith: man, I need you to be my PA.

Libby: I certainly hope so... he can do whatever he likes, as long as he's happy.

Wanderlust said...

Oh Steve, I love this post. I feel all those same things when I listen to my kids talk about their tomorrows. Beautifully written.

Steve said...

Wanderlust: I think the most important thing we can teach our kids is how to keep their dreams.

Timbo said...

I'd say be realistic. Tell him he can't be whatever he wants to be - not if he wants to be a crime fighting super hero with a gang (like the Avengers - only with Benny, Bjorn , Freda and the other one). Not because it's an impossible dream - but because that's your gang - he'll have to get his own super hero gang comprising him, Spidey, Postman Pat and the Care Bears. But make sure he learns how to hot wire cars - you've got to have a plan B.

Steve said...

Timbo: I will pass on your advice to my boy and make him wise beyond his years...

Vicky said...

I wanted to be a school teacher up until I started high school and thought "WTF and put up with people like me day in and day out"

About Last Weekend said...

This sounds horrifically Californian of me - but I live here now! even though I'm a kiwi-brit- don't give up on the crime fighter dreams!

Steve said...

Vicky: sounds like you had a timely awakening!

About Last Weekend: all I need is a caravan...!

Being Me said...

Ah, the joyless world of adulthood. Talk about crashing to a thud after such a jubilant high!

Keith said...

Trust me Timbo. I've met Postman Pat. You wouldn't want him on your crime busting team.

Trish said...

I always wanted to be a pharmacist as I loved chemist shops, though, to be fair, I think it was those square lollies on the counter that I really wanted.

Steve said...

Being Me: being grownup was never all it was cracked up to be.

Keith: he'll never turn up on time either.

Trish: lollies are a good enough incentive to do anything.