Well, Obviously, I'm A Loser...
The wonders of the Internet. You meet people with whom you think you may have common interests, some you know you wouldn’t go five feet near, and some that are just fun to talk to, but in real life you wouldn’t hang out together or anything. And that’s cool. I’ve met some really terrific people online, including a few I’ll be lifelong friends with. A couple of them we’ve taken vacations with. One of them I knew back in junior high and reconnected with on the Old Prodigy Classic Online Service about 8 years ago.
Some people fool you. I spent a couple of years talking off and on with one person; while I didn’t think this was a person I’d hang out with IRL, it was someone I thought I knew. Our kids are roughly the same age; mine is 19 and hers is 17. We had a casual conversation in IMs, when it turned to her son’s Life Plans.
Her : Can you believe it? He wants to throw everything away!
Me: Uh… how so?
Her: He wants to be an actor!
Me: And this is a bad thing?
Her: Of course it is!
Her: Look, we didn’t push his ass to get the grades he needed to get into a good school so he could throw it away on some stupid fantasy.
Me: How is it stupid?
Her: He’ll STARVE!
Me: Or he’ll be so good that he works steadily. Or he’ll become famous. And rich.
Her: That’s just bullshit. Normal people don’t become actors.
Me: Really now.
Her: Can you tell me WHAT IS HE THINKING?
Me: That he wants to be an actor?
Her: It’s just not realistic. Maybe he’s gay.
Me: LOL what??? Are you serious?
Her: Well that would explain it.
Me: What does being gay have to do with being an actor?
Her: Well most of them are, the good ones anyway. Maybe this is his way of telling us.
Me: So it’s ok if he’s gay, just not if he’s an actor?
Her: No, of course not. But if he’s gay we can take him to someone and get him straightened out.
Me: There’s a cure for being gay?
Her: You hear about it all the time. These gay guys get together and pray, and most of them turn straight again.
Me: So… actors should get together and pray, and turn them into normal people again?
Her: Oh stop it. How would you feel if your son wanted to be an actor?
Me: Actually, he does.
Her: He does not. You’re just saying that.
Me: No, he does. He’s a theater arts major and has every intention of being an actor. No, he’s not gay.
Her: Don’t be so sure.
Me: :::shrug::: So what if he was?
Her: You don’t care that he wants to throw everything away and be an actor? Doesn’t he have potential?
Me: Tons of it. And he has the potential to be a really great actor.
Her: I don’t believe this
Me: I suppose it could be worse.
Me: He could want to be a writer
Her: Oh my god I would never put up with that! Who would want to let other people read their stupid little fantasies?
Me: [insert name], what is it that I do?
Her: What does that have to do with anything?
Me: What do I do? Professionally.
Her: But that doesn’t count. Your husband has a real job. Our boys need real jobs!
Me: So, first off, what I do isn’t a “real” job? And secondly, because our children happen to be male they can’t do what they want with their lives?
Her: They have to be responsible.
Me: So… if I were male and wanted to be a writer, it would be irresponsible?
Her: Of course it would be.
Me: I’ll be sure to pass that along to Stephen King.
You can imagine how the rest of the conversation went, I’m sure… but the gist (on her end, anyway) of it was that our kids are not able to understand what they need to be successful in life, and that actors and writers are both gay and stupid, mostly because they don’t have Real Jobs. She is determined that her son will study something “worthy” and get over this acting “nonsense.” And I am a Very Bad Parent because I support my son’s desire to follow his heart. And I am a Very Bad Example because I spend my days sitting here, tapping out childish little fantasies on my computer, an embarrassment to the world of Thinking People (hmmmm… I wonder now, do newspaper writers fall into the same chasm of stupidity? Textbook writers? Biographers? Does she not read at all?)
Here’s some advice, kiddos. No matter what your parents think… Find whatever makes your heart sing. If your heart doesn’t sing, everything else is just noise.