Careers

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The Princess was considering jobs before she even knew there was such a thing. Her earliest jobs were flight attendant, pediatrician, and nurse. Yes, she always liked having the job of the person standing in front of her. Her love of playing “teacher” has not passed. A Christmas science show made her think of being a scientist for a few blissful days, before she switched again. For several awful months, it was model and pop star. She talks of being an actress or a journalist like Tintin. She knows she will not be a pianist, though piano will remain her hobby. She cannot understand why Selena Gomez can be a pop singer but she can’t (“because no one on in our family does that? What kind of lame reply is that?!!!”). She wants to work in a charity to help homeless people (it has to be mentioned—have I mentioned it before?—that homeless people in this part of the world look like young Axl Roses and Bon Jovis. I don’t know why. Have you seen the guy who sometimes stands at the corner of Robie and Quinpool? It’s something about the long dirty blonde hair and crazy blue eyes and non-boring clothes). She wants to be a lawyer. She asks me what I do, a favorite question since she was three, and she finds my vague, confused answers in trying to define a bureaucracy to her unsatisfactorily. I don’t blame her.

But the Golden Boy, ah, the Golden Boy. In the past few months he has learned (unfortunately) about money, and made the connection between money and work. And he knows where his dad works, and that I work in the building across from school. These are things we have told him—for I have never heard him express any interest at all in what anyone does—we might all be wearing ninja turtle suits and running in sewers all day for all he knows and cares.

I would not mind this, so much, were it not for a series of disturbing conversations with various colleagues and friends. The dread phenomena of Lazy Young Men. You probably know of a handful too—your cousin, your brother, the son of your mom’s friend. You know. Those guys, hitting their thirties, (I know of cases older too), sitting around in a floor of their parents’ house. Not doing much. Playing video games. Stoned. Or not. Aimless. Drifting. Like Driftwood, as Travis would say. It’s not so glamorous, though, when your son does it. While I am furiously contemptuous of the middle-class sensibilities of forcing our children into university otherwise we would explode with shame in front of the neighbors, while I do not want yet another unhappy engineer who thinks he should have been a film critic or a coffee-shop owner in my family, yet, yet, yet.

I would like him to be a carpenter. Or a gardener. Or a farmer—oh yes, I would love that. I would love to live with him on his farm, and help him out with his garden and chickens. (Princess: “Are you crazy? Count me out—I’m not going to live on a farm!” Me: “It can be an “urban farm.” Princess: “What the heck is that?”)

I would like him to be happy, and have some income, so he’s self-sufficient. Is this too much to ask for?

 
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