Every little boy and little girl dreams of being something special when they grow up. A satisfying, enjoyable job that they’d do just for fun if they could. Some dreams change, some come true, some remain elusive. Mine? Shall I start by excluding the dream of playing football for a living and captaining England to five successive World Cup victories? I have, just recently, accepted that this may not come to pass.
The first career I chose for myself was palaeontology. I must have been about twelve when I became fixated on dinosaurs. If you were wondering where my passion for turtles originates, then there you go. You might think that a young lad who not only knows that such a word as palaeontology exists, but could spell it as well, was nailed on to be an ologist of some sort. Unfortunately, I was an awkward and stubborn school boy if not kept sufficiently entertained. I could entertain myself. My science teacher allowed me to spend the entire last term before exams reading and writing about dinosaurs.
I completely ignored the actual science class in the run up to vital CE exams, but if I was being quiet and not being disruptive/burning things/encouraging the new boy from Indonesia to eat insects/stealing chunks of sodium to throw in sinks, then that was fine by her. The day of the exam arrived, and I hadn’t a clue what anything on the paper meant. The entire one hour exam was multiple choice and I finished it in less than two minutes, randomly ticking boxes and excused myself. I will never forget the look of utter disgust on the face of Mrs Daniels when I passed the exam, scraping a C. Of the eight or nine exams, I passed them all with several As and went to a pretty decent independent school. Did you click the link and check it out? Yes, it’s really that old. As old as the Elizabethan building that makes up part of it.
My education finished abruptly and without qualification at the age of sixteen. I was bored, and the opportunity of working in a local convenience store and earning money seemed more appealing. I know. I have long appreciated, with the joy of hindsight, that this probably wasn’t the smartest move of my life. But there you are. I could have, should have, would have, but….well. Such is life. All too late to worry about what might have been now, isn’t it.
The final straw at that school was with the Divinity class. Religious education. Technically speaking, Divinity is the closest I came to a qualification. I did return one piece of coursework for the GCSE. A number of days late, and after a suspension for failing to do so. I had by this stage developed my own line of thought regards Christianity which ran rather counter to the official school position. As a compulsory subject, it was, I suggested at the time, little more than a brainwashing exercise. The course work required four pages of A4 with something or other about Jesus on it. I returned four pages. Each with one very large word on it. Jesus Did Not Exist. My effort was grudgingly accepted, I left the school shortly after by mutual agreement and about six months later I received a letter through the post grading my Divinity as U for unmarked.
I’ve wandered off topic. I do this too frequently. Back to the subject of careers. My next choice of career was rather more practical. I had a fascination for cars and decided to be a car mechanic. I was in many ways being a realist, and understood that Ferrari were probably not going to ask me to design their next generation of sportsters, not request me to race their F1 models round Silverstone. Being a mechanic was probably my most likely route into working with cars. And yet, anyone who knows me will probably be only too aware that I’m no more car mechanic material than I am divinity teacher material.
My next career crush was to be a barrister. This remains the most far fetched career dream of them all. More so than even the football one. Don’t laugh – I did, after all, at least actually play football. But I did want to pit my wits and exercise my sarcasm in a court of law, prosecuting or defending common criminals. It would have been fun. I think I’d have been good at it. The only draw back being the incredibly lengthy educational process required to get to such a position. It takes drive, determination and sacrifice. And there was absolutely no bloody way I had the time spare to do any of that. I briefly looked at being a Legal Executive. Much easier to do. I settled for giving errant acquaintances advice on how to get themselves out of legal scrapes instead. I invented a number of good stories and had reasonable success. Unpaid success. I then experimented with the military and signed up with the RAF. It was an all too brief encounter. Not, entirely, down to anything I did wrong. For once.
The legal and military urges passed and my attention turned to politics. No qualifications needed. Just have a few ideas, a £500 deposit and a couple of friends nominate you and before you know it, you’re enrolled as a candidate in the General Election. You might even get on TV, especially if you dress up as a clown and think up a cool name. Most politicians are well educated though, and not clowns. Of course. Well…not openly dressed as clowns. Proverbial clowns? Maybe. Although I’ve always rather thought that far too many of them became MPs because they went to good schools that daaddy could afford, passed their exams because they were obedient, but became politicians because they are generally not bright enough to do a proper job. Anyway, I’ve never had £500 to spare. So I’ve not had my moment in the political limelight. Yet.
So instead, I’ve spent the best part of twenty years in retail, with half a dozen years teaching English in Mexico and two years selling home insurance over the phone. None of which were ever the dream. Although the middle one wasn’t a bad job at all. But maybe there is still hope. Throughout all those years there was one other vocation which endured. I always enjoyed writing. Am I any good at it? I feel my blog lets me down. Others might disagree, and I thank you for doing so in advance. But my blog contains far too few posts which could be considered polished pieces of writing.
My blog is awfully spontaneous. If I could just write a post, leave it for a few hours then come back to it, to cut out the crap, to add some substance and to at least check the grammar and spelling….well, I’d have a few more articles to be proud of. As it is, I type furiously away, with frequently interruptions, during scarce moments of free time and slam down on the ‘publish’ button without a second thought. This post will be no exception. Tsk. But still. With more effort, more dedication and more time – I live in hope. Opportunities do come by now and then. I’d love a crack at this job. I have applied.
Otherwise, my writing career will plod on with this blog. Maybe I’ll write a book one day. I know, technically I already have. But I mean I’d like to write a book that someone else would publish, as opposed to the Do It Yourself sort of publishing. Kindle has opened up all sorts of opportunities. I hear that erotic fiction is the niche to go to for a quick buck. Don’t knock it. It’s also a good way into politics…