Post Inspired by Where the Wild Things Are

This post was inpsired by a children’s book I read my kids a lot.

Did you ever think a choice was good and when you took it found you were stuck headed to a dead end? This happened to me once when I was 19. I had just quit my job at the grocery store (anyone out there old enough to remember Alpha Beta?) I had been in some power struggles with my boss there. He had been scheduling me when my band had gigs etc. paying no attention to my notes when I needed time off. You know, typical 19 year old “finding his way,” “challenging authority” type stuff. I quit and he told me I was welcome to come back anytime. I remember thinking: “Thanks but no thanks pal … I’ll never be back dude.”

I had a tough time finding a job at that time with no education and not much experience. The ones I did find paid diddly squat like a Christmas job I got at the mall selling ornaments. At that same time, my dad and I had started going at it as well. I was totally into my music and playing in my band wherever I could get a show. Anyway, he had been telling me that unless I got enrolled in college, I’d have to start paying rent. Doesn’t it seem like when the heat is on, life just turns up the burners? Well, for me at that time the key was getting moved out and making more money than I made as a clerk at Alpha Beta. Then it happened:

I called one of those “manpower” type placement services. After about 99 forms, they said they had a “match” for me. It was stuffing microchips into long plastic strips. Then, sealing them and finally shipping them to various places. I stood at a line all day doing these tasks and heard the most foul profanity and odd stories from an ex-con on my left, about 10 years my senior, and two other guys that resented my squeaky clean personality as much as the ex-con did. They wanted me out of there from my first minute on the line. After a week I wanted to quit so bad but I didn’t have the balls to walk off the job from my supervisor. After two weeks of hearing stories about what marijuana is the best and women with “inverted nipples,” I knew I had to get out.

If you’ve read the story by Maurice Sendak Where the Wild things Are it’s a very close parallel. Max gets mad and punished by his mom, sent to bed without any supper. He dreams of where the wild things are only it goes better for him, they make him their king. After a time he wants to go back and they don’t want to let him go. In my case they were like: “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

About that time, I started looking into this college thing my dad kept forcing me into. As it turned out, college gave me a great career and a good life. I plan to pressure my kids the same way. For a little while they may flee to where the wild things are. But eventually They’ll come back to what’s real and what’s home … at least, that’s the hope all of us parents need to hold onto. After all, what do the wild things have that we don’t? I sure am glad I sailed in and out of a year to get back to my room where supper was waiting “and it was still hot.”

Did you ever stray out to where the wild things are?

Author: Damien Riley

I'm an online diarist, blog film critic, & podcaster. My views on films and life are often 'left of center' on, but I have respect for other viewpoints. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

14 thoughts on “Post Inspired by Where the Wild Things Are”

  1. You know, if being a “goodie two shoes” were an Olympic event, I would have a gold medal. Probably several of them, actually.

    I never really went wild or did anything crazy. Maybe it’s something I should look into! No ?

    Jessica The Rock Chis last blog post..Rocket Man

  2. Nahhhhh. You’re like my kid sister, she never did anything wrong. Now, would you be the youngest? I have a theory the youngest get all the lessons when their siblings get in trouble. Of course there are always anomalies ;)

  3. i love that book. interestingly enough, i don’t remember the moral, only the great images. figures.

    i left for the wild things three times, and each time, i was less interested in the hot soup that was waiting for me. when i was 17, i went to the UK, coming home after a little while because i was homesick for my boyfriend. but the wild thing bug had infected me. 5 years later i went to south america – paraguay and chile – and that time it took me 2 1/2 years to come back, and only because a series of misfortunes had befallen me. 2 years later i was off to canada and interestingly enough, it was the wildness of the ravines in oakville (yup, right where they play golf all the time) that made me stay.

    the wild things make good soup, too.

  4. It’s weird. I was never a bad kid, I never did things that were stupid or senseless…but when my parents would tell me not to do something, and I thought it was a stupid rule, I’d go against it.

    They gave me a curfew when I came home from Uni….I was 21…my younger sister (19) didn’t get a curfew. I didn’t listen to them (: Instead, I stayed out with my now-hubby until 4:30. When we got home, my dad was walking out the front door to work (he’s a crazy man that seriously wakes up at 4 or earlier to go to work). I was like “Um, hi dad”, “You just getting in?” he asked. “Yep.”, “Ok, have a good sleep.” (: My dad understands.

    The funny thing is, my younger sister, the one that didn’t get a curfew, is the bad kid. My parents thought she was so good, but she was the one causing the trouble (: Funny!

  5. When I was growing up I remember that my Grandma would get me Macadamia Nut Ice Cream from Alpha Beta! It was my favorite! I was SO SAD when they went out of business…grant you I hadn’t eaten that in YEARS by that point but I realized I NEVER would again! LOL!!!

    As for the Wild things…I was the oldest and My Mom and family struck too much fear in me to do anything…I think I was THE ONLY one of all my friends that wasn’t getting in to trouble BUT I was THE ONE that had the Tyrant of a Mother that thought I was the WORST child ever!
    …my younger sister said she had it easy after me…they didn’t really give her a bad time like they did me.

  6. @Mikiye Creations: Ah, someone who remembers Alpha Beta! Too Cool. Sounds like you got the good kind of fear in you early in life. Thanks for the comment.

    @katelynn: Your dad is like my dad, up at dawn. Unfortunately my dad would have demanded an explanation etc. He’s a great dad, but he was pretty strict when we were out late.

  7. I always liked that book…we should read it again at the library next time we go…i lived with the wild things for about 4 years before I had my kids…I don’t regret it one bit, but I wouldn’t go back there in a million years. the “hot soup” is definately better!

    Chelles last blog post..55 Unique Places to Leave Love Notes

  8. @Chelle: Yes, I feel the same way. The notion of what tough really is they have skewed there … and fun and excitement … all the good stuff, they seem to have it all wrong.

  9. Anomaly you are girl! I wish I could have been good all my youth. Then again, what we all do makes us individual right ? Thanks so much for the comment.

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