A bunch of people I know are doing NaNoWriMo this month, and someone just asked me if I was going to participate as well.
The answer to that question is “HAHAHA, NO”.
I heartily salute all the people trying to write novels this month (or any month!), but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t organize enough words to write a novel if my life depended on it.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I like being alive, so if it was to come down to WRITE OR DIE, I’m sure I could come up with…something. It would probably involve wiener dogs and unicorns and a lot of swear words and terrible grammar, though. If it was a matter of having to write a GOOD novel or die, I’d definitely be toast.
There is, however, this thing called NaBloPoMo, which involves posting on your blog every day for a month. I think I could probably handle that. By rights, I should have started November 1st, but I’m basically never on time for anything so it seems fairly appropriate to start the challenge five days late. The website says their cut-off date for being included on the November blogroll is the 5th, so maybe I’m not that tardy after all.
I think I’ll try using the provided weekday writing prompts, unless I run into one I don’t like, at which point I’ll be like:
So, with that in mind, I’m going to do the first few prompts all in one go as penance for being a late-coming slacker. Here goes!
Monday 11/2: What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?
When I was a kid, Koosh Balls were a huge deal. I remember having a couple of normal-sized ones, but one of my friends had a really BIG one that was rainbow-colored and I was just…obsessed. I wanted one SO badly. Every time we went to the local shopping center I would trawl KB Toys, (which dates the fuck out of me right there, because didn’t KB Toys go out of business in like 2000 or 2001?), searching high and low for the giant rainbow Koosh of my dreams. Sadly, I never found it.
Tuesday 11/3: What did you think was the coolest job in the world when you were younger? Do you still feel that way now?
I was SUPER into animals as a kid, (some things never change), and I thought being a zoologist was pretty much the most amazing job in the universe. Who WOULDN’T want to hang out with critters all day every day AND get paid for it, you know? I harbored the desire to become a zoologist right up until 9th grade when we started having to talk with the guidance counselor about what we thought we might want to do after high school.
As an aside, my high school had one of the LEAST helpful guidance counselors EVER. He would basically look at your test scores and decide whether or not you were “too smart” to go into the vo-tech program. In 10th grade I walked into his office and said, “I’d really like to be a cook. I’d like to go to the vo-tech program and then culinary arts school”. His reply was that I was “too smart” for vo-tech and that someone like me really should go to a “REAL” college, not culinary school. So that paints a little picture for you of the ass-hattery we dealt with.
Anyway, so in 9th grade the shitty guidance counselor did this thing where he’d ask you the top three jobs you thought you might be interested in, then he’d look them up in this gigantic book that would tell what kind of degree you needed for X, Y or Z job, average salaries for those jobs, growth expectancy for the next 10 years, etc. I had him look up zoologist right off the bat and he said basically I’d either have to become a zoo-keeper (which is NOT up my alley – zoos make me sad), or go into academia (in other words, a million years of school and become a professor), and that neither job made any money so I probably shouldn’t pursue them. Again – total ass-hat who had no idea what he was talking about. But, at 14 years old in Bumfuck, New Hampshire, I didn’t know any better so I bought his line of bullshit and gave up on the zoology thing.
I still think zoologists have really cool jobs. I don’t know that I’m cut out to like, hike through the jungles of Borneo trying to study orangutans, but there are plenty of animals that don’t live in jungles that I think it would be amazing to observe in the wild and learn about. “Why don’t you quit your accounting gig and go to school to be a zoologist”, I hear you asking. I appreciate your boundless optimism, but there are these things called paychecks, and I can’t really get by without mine unfortunately. You can scoff that it’s a lame excuse all you want, but I’m nothing if not a realist.
Wednesday 11/4: When you were a kid, did you want to have the same job or a different job than your parents when you grew up?
My dad was a sheetrocker, carpenter and painter, and my mom was a telephone operator – first at AT&T for many years, then at a gigantic medical center a couple towns down from where we live.
I never really had much interest in my mom’s job except for the times when she’d say she got to talk to someone from another country – that always fascinated me. Other than that though, her job (as I understood it, anyway) consisted mostly of sitting in a chair and being hooked up to a switchboard all day, punching buttons and answering questions. It sounded pretty boring. The irony of the fact that I now do a super boring job that mostly involves punching buttons and answering questions all day is not lost on me, of course.
My dad’s job was something that I actually got plenty of experience in as a kid because I’d often go to work with him on weekends or during time off from school. He usually had me filling screw holes with compound and a trowel, or painting trim if he was at a painting job. Neither of these were things I particularly enjoyed because they both take practice and I’ve always hated having to practice things to get better at them.
As an adult who has been chained to a desk pushing other peoples’ papers for the better part of 20 years now, I appreciate my dad’s job a lot more. He basically gets to create all day, every day. I mean, it’s not like he’s painting murals on peoples’ walls or anything, but he’s physically MAKING – building walls, entire rooms, entire HOUSES. He can turn around at the end of his day and see that he’s further along than he was yesterday. In my line of work, there’s very little of that. The most tangible result I get from my job is shifting a pile of paper from one side of my desk to the other. I didn’t want to do a job like my dad’s when I was a kid, but I envy a lot about his job now.
That’s all the time I have for right now. I’ll do today’s actual prompt a little later on.
I’m going to enjoy learning more about you this month! 🙂 My dad is also a carpenter. He had is own cabinet-making business for a while, but home depot basically killed it. Now he has to commute into NYC to work on crews doing big installations in buildings. He doesn’t love it as much as he loved creating a kitchen cabinet from scratch, but he still shows me cell phone pics of everything he makes, even if it is just a door frame or something.
Your counselor wasn’t too off the mark about zoologists making no money. Your options really are zookeeper, wildlife biologist, or academia. Wildlife biologist is most similar to my line of work and unless you have a master’s or a PhD, you top out at $30K if lucky but are usually hourly (like $11/hr). There aren’t many master’s positions in biological sciences (unless you go into consulting like I did, or somehow land a state government job, which are rare) so that puts you straight into PhD territory. Academic jobs are super duper rare, and most people do post-docs after their PhD, which pay around $40K.
The prospect of going back to school for 4-6 years to earn my PhD to then get out and earn possibly less than I do now, is what has held me back thus far. YAY, SCIENCE.
Right, I never thought I’d make millions as like a celebrity zoologist or anything. I guess it more bothers me that he was in the habit of telling kids that things they were interested in weren’t worth doing. I should probably thank him because I make a lot more money at my current job than I ever would have made as a cook OR a wildlife biologist…but still. It bugs me.
My dad does the cell phone picture thing, too! And before cell phones, he always had his camera with him so he could take pictures of stuff to show people. My parents’ house is always a work in progress – he’s always tearing something out and rebuilding it, much to my mother’s chagrin. 😉
Oh, I want to punch that guidance counselor for you.
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