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?