Monday, January 6

Secret Dream Jobs

I think all adults have jobs they quietly and impractically dream about having: becoming dancers without ever having taken a lesson, surgeons in spite of wincing at a the sight of blood, reality TV stars when in reality they're quite down to earth and would make terrible television. These aren't the kinds of fantasies that are attainable if only you'd go back to school or finally made some recordings of your music or got an agent or whatever. They're outlandish, impractical, and wholly unrealistic. But I don't think that makes them a bad thing to think about from time to time, especially when it makes mundane things, like getting dressed or driving to work or cooking or taking a shower, a little bit fun. Here are some of the jobs I often spend my time daydreaming about.

Supermodel - I was a child in the 90's when Cindy Crawford hosted House of Style, and came of age in the years of America's Next Top Model, so the supermodel craze was almost bred into me. Everything I've ever learned about modelling says that it's mostly exploitative, difficult, unrewarding work that remarkably few people ever become successful at and yet it's never really lost its allure. I think that maybe some of the appeal for me is that it's in opposition to what I really want to do, which is a teach: a job where style, beauty and glamour are sort of frowned upon. I know I'm not tall enough (I'm only 5'7'' - the bare minimum height for a model, and Kate Moss is the 5'7'' standard, so...) and I'm not waifish or graceful or even especially photogenic, but it's always going to be one of those impossible dreams that's fun to pretend - like that your pets can communicate with you or that one day you'll be able to purchase a house.

TV Chef - Sometime in the late 90's The Food Network became a part of regular TV and I was quickly sucked into watching people cook food I wouldn't ever eat but still wanted to know how it was prepared. I loved the dubbed version of Iron Chef and The Naked Chef, and later fell in love, along with everyone else in America, with Giada De Laurentiis. Having the overactive imagination of a writer, in my teenage years everything I cooked became a demonstration for the cooking show I starred in in my head.
These days I cook more often than I have time to slowly slice peppers while pyschicly narrating my process to a pretend studio audience, but from time to time I do let myself get into it. I even have shows: Everything but the Kitchen Sink - a show where a seasoned chef (me, lol) enters into an unsuspecting household and cooks a great meal using only the ingredients that were already on site (I do this one when I have to improvise). The other is an unnamed show that's sort of like What Not to Wear, where nutritionists and chefs and doctors and what not rate the food a household consumes weekly based on health, taste and cost and then offers suggestions for improvement. I pretend this show when I'm feeling smug about eating well, or feeling bad about pretending to eat well but knowing better.

Dentist/Orthodontist - I think anyone who has ever been to the dentist has probably entertained this idea. You go to school for a while, learn some pretty low key doctoring (It's not open heart surgery or delivering babies, you know?) then set up a practice and make good money doing something that's pretty cool: looking at teeth. I had braces for a year and my mouth had to go to the doctor once a month where a dude in a flannel did things like look inside of it and nod and then leave his assistant to change my rubber bands. Talk about a chill job. The fun work really seems to be all the stuff the assistant does (cleaning, poking, chastising patients for not flossing), but I like to think I'd be a really hands-on dentist who does that stuff, too, just for fun.
To be totally fair to the job, though, I am sort of a star patient and I really try to power through discomfort for the sake of the professionals working on me. A friend on Facebook is a dental assistant and posts regularly about being bitten and scolding all of her followers to, for the love of God, floss. Taking care of your teeth is a relatively easy thing to do withstanding genetic dispositions and finances, so it's probably really frustrating to see patient after patient who can afford good health but still doesn't give enough of a fuck about their oral hygiene to do such an inexpensive and easy thing as flossing. I would probably become really bitter about the way people take care of their teeth and go crazy

Marine Biologist - I grew up on a coast, so like many beach babies I wanted to go to school to study the sea and then spend the rest of my life on a boat, in a scuba suit, swimming, touching whales, getting freckles. As I got older I veered toward art because art is less athletic and you don't get sunburnt making it, but I never totally shook dream. In high school a biology teacher was fed up with my 'tude and told me to get up and teach the class; I drew different kinds of whales on the board and told them what I knew about them. In college I tried to weasel my way into a marine biology course as a way to fulfill my science credits, but they thought I needed to learn about cells first. Jokes on them, I don't know shit about cells, but I do know about the ocean.
I still really love marine biology, whales and sharks in particular. I've seen The Blue Planet a thousand times and it never fails to make my heart full with wonder and joy (Could just be David Attenborough's voice though?) and The Life Aquatic is one of my favorite movies. I know I am too pale, too spoiled and too whiny to really live the life of a scientist, but it's still one of my dreams to see a whale IRL (ideally this guy or this one).

Dermatologist - This seems to be everybody's dirty secret, but I really like...uh...grooming others. It's gross, I don't deny it, but it's also really strangely satisfying. It always has been. The first pimple I had, around age 11, not unlike all things pubescent, equally fascinated and horrified me. I didn't know what to do with it, so it just festered for a week until the growing interest of my friends and family (Because they all wanted to pop it themselves! My brother even asked to!) finally had me lock myself in my bedroom to look it square in the eye and see what it was about. I stared into the heart-shaped mirror of my Caboodle unsure of what I should do. I remember merely pressing the skin around it and it burst. As happy as I was to no longer have a pimple, I was also kind of sad that the whole thing had gone so fast. I wanted to do it again. Fortunately my teen years prior to getting on birth control (the only thing that keeps my acne in check) provided me with many opportunities to relive that magic.
Post-birth control I've dated lots of greasy, sweaty dudes who think I'm joking when I say "You know, a back scrubber would really help clear up your skin," so it soon became a shared activity, something I did with someone I loved. Like gorillas. Like apes, like primates, which is what I and my husband and all of my exboyfriends and you and everyone we know are. So there.
Whether or not I would enjoy doing it as a job is questionable. Occasionally I'll YouTube extractions and what not and some of the things I've seen have haunted me. I won't even link to that stuff here because that shit is like witchcraft and weird porn and recipes for Brussels sprouts: if you want to find it you need to do it on your own. I don't know that I would be able to stomach lancing huge cysts and cleaning up all the blood and gore, but in my head the job is just comedones, pore strips and other minor skin ails that don't require scalpels.

Now that I've totally overshared some of my pretend professions, maybe you'll tell me some of yours and I won't feel like such a weirdo. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comic book writer, film director, marine biologist.