I was a weird kid.
I was an awesome kid, to be sure, but I was one hell of a quirky little girl. This is one of the reasons that I have come to desperately love myself. I fall in love with the brokenness of people — and even more so, my own.
I was a funny kid, too. I wanted to make people laugh. I was shy sometimes, and reserved, but my brain was always taking notes.
I’m an only child, and I talked to myself a lot to break up the terminal quiet. I’d chatter away in my crib, my mother said, when I was supposed to be napping, and I’d drum on the wooden sides with my feet.
I got drunk when I was two. No, that’s not a typo.
I loved to imitate the surfer dude riding the waves in the “Hawaii Five-O” opening, and hung ten on our small coffee table-cum-longboard whenever my mother left our apartment. I wiped out once, and she became hysterical, thinking I had suffered a concussion. So, no furniture-surfing with Ma in sight. My father didn’t care if I surfed. It kept me busy, so he could watch one of his favorite programs in peace. Imagine that scene. A three year-old kid, barefoot in Health-Tex bell bottoms, surfing through Marlboro cigarette smoke, while my mutton-chopped father sprawled on the couch nearby — and occasionally reached for a double-old-fashioned glass of whisky carefully positioned on the shag rug.
I apparently cursed a blue streak at the tender age of five or six, when I tried to learn to ride my secondhand bike on our Queens driveway. My mother was washing dishes at the sink near the alleyway window, and could hear me yelling — “YOU GODDAMN BIKE! YOU STUPID GODDAMN BIKE!” –every time it clattered to the asphalt. She only realized that I got the hang of it once the swearing stopped.
I was sure that ghosts were around every corner of our house, and lurking in the basement — and that they had to give me important messages for other people. And also that they’d forget what they looked like, and be all dead and yucky and stuff, and keep their scary decaying faces and moldy old bodies on when they appeared to me.
I was afraid to light matches. Advent wreaths were my nemesis between the ages of five and ten. Couldn’t light those damn pink and purple candles for shit.
I had an earthworm for a pet. For, like, a week, until it dried out.
I often preferred the company of adults over other children. I couldn’t figure out fractions, but I could expertly mimic all of our neighbors.
I was afraid of the Count on Sesame Street. What kid ever feared a Muppet? I was also afraid of gorillas. Not chimpanzees. Just gorillas. It may have been Samsonite-related. I’m not sure. But they seemed violent in the commercials. Remember those? Dear God. What those gorillas did to train cases.
As you can imagine — a quirky kid like myself had no garden-variety childhood career dreams. Some of my friends liked to play school and teacher. A lot of girls in the seventies wanted to be nurses. Others liked to play doctor, but those were usually boys — whose mothers led them to confessionals by their ears the following week. Not me. Like I said, weird. Awesome, but weird. So, in keeping with Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists Project — designed to inspire creativity and encourage journaling — here’s my list of childhood — and current — dream jobs.
Childhood Dream Jobs:
- Joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” circa 1975-1978.
- Baddest-ass drummer for the baddest-ass rock band in the world..
- Baddest-ass lead singer for the baddest-ass rock band in the world. (Not necessarily the same one.)
- Peggy Lipton in “The Mod Squad” — although I didn’t really know what she did, other than run through dark alleys in kick-ass leather trenchcoats
- I used to say that I wanted to be a veterinarian, but only because one of my friends often expressed her desire in becoming a vet, and I followed suit — since I thought it sounded like a good gig. Also, I liked puppies. But I didn’t even like cats that much.
- Playwright — my best line, banged out on my father’s college typewriter: “Why do you want to be a nun? You want a habit? Start biting your nails.”
- Undefined cool person of semi-importance who strolled through Manhattan in culottes, boots and Jackie O glasses
- Journalist at New York Magazine, The New York Times, or Newsday (because I read their funnies every weekend as a kid)
- Professor of Irish literature (brief college phase when I basically wanted to be Seamus Heaney)
- Groupie for the Beatles (even though I didn’t exactly know what the job description entailed)
- Head writer for “Late Night with David Letterman”
Current Dream Jobs:
- Head writer for “Saturday Night Live”
- Baddest-ass drummer for the baddest-ass rock band in the world
- Race car driver
- Boxer (sick, I know)
- Eyewear model who gets to keep all the frames for free after the shoot
- Massage therapist — I think this could be meaningful, happy work. Might just be my next calling. Hold still and let me nurture you, damnit.
- Spin instructor — but only for those over 40, with the baddest-ass old-school rock playlists that Bergen County’s ever seen
- Kept woman (that’s right, I said it)
- Jon Hamm’s love interest