When I Grow Up…

It shouldn’t surprise you that I was a kind of weird kid. Sure, I loved playing games and watching movies along with all of my other friends. I was even in the Cub Scouts. (NOTE: I didn’t make it further than the bear badge, because I got really bored of knots and racing wooden blocks–and I think my Dad was getting weirded out by having to take me to a church immediately after Hebrew lessons every week.)

But there was one thing that made me different from the rest of my friends: my ambitions later in life.

See, the normal kids among us wanted to be police officers, firefighters, soldiers, or murderers–like every well-balanced fie year old. They’d talk about it all, discussing the pros and cons of each profession. “I get to have a gun!” said one. “Yeah, well I get to play with fire!” another would respond. “Yeah?” said the weird kid who sniffed only black markers, “Well, I get to bathe in the warm blood of those who cross me.”

We’d laugh, then ostracise him by not letting him play hide-and-seek or foursquare with us. Truly, those were the halcyon days, there in the frozen tundra of Canton, Ohio. We knew not what life had in store for us, and the worst dilemmas we had to face were rushing home from school to get back in time for Power Rangers.

But I was different. Where all of my friends wanted to be something that would allow them to act out their innate, childhood fantasies of firing a gun or playing with fire when their parents had spent years telling them not to, I wanted to be a psychiatrist. And no, before you ask, it wasn’t because I knew it would make me a lot of money.

I wanted to help people. I didn’t know why, but I felt that everyone around me was flawed in some way, and that I could help make them feel better. Now, with the power of hindsight, I look back and I know why I wanted to be a psychiatrist: Bob Newhart.


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