When I was a kid, I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to do for a living, and all of them came from movies I’d seen. I used to be what I refer to now as a “Whimsical Dandy,” a person who changes their entire life’s goal depending on what new thing they’ve heard about that week. Pretty much every time I watched a new film, I’d decide that is what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. None of those career goals included writing silly movie reviews or abstractly-premised conversations. I decided to stop off in my subconscious construct for another chat with my 8 year-old self to figure out how I got to where I am.
NOW: Hey, pal.
THEN: Where’ve you been?
NOW: It’s been really hot lately; I don’t have as much control of my brain when it’s this hot.
THEN: It’s summer.
NOW: I know… What are you up to?
THEN: I was just building this cool LEGO submarine.
NOW: Oh yeah! I remember that thing. That’s really awesome.
THEN: I know. Guess what!
THEN: I’ve decided I want to be a deep-sea explorer when I grow up.
NOW: What are the odds?
THEN: I just saw this movie called The Abyss; have you seen it?
NOW: You do know how this works, right?
THEN: Oh, yeah. Well, based on that I’ve decided to go as far down into the ocean as possible and make contact with the weird water beings that live there.
NOW: Oh boy, that won’t last too long.
THEN: What won’t?
NOW: Your desire to do that.
THEN: How do you know?
NOW: You do know how this works, right?
THEN: You’re being a bubble-burster again.
NOW: You’re right, I’m sorry. I’ve been accused of being mean to you so I’ll work on that.
THEN: Thank you.
NOW: I wanted to talk to you about all the things you’ve wanted to be when you grew up.
THEN: How come?
NOW: Well, frankly, because I didn’t become any of them, and I’d like to see if there was something there that caused me to take the path that I did.
THEN: Sounds introspective and douchey.
NOW: Now who’s being mean?
THEN: Okay, fine. Where do you want to begin?
NOW: Well, what’s the first thing you can remember wanting to do when you grow up?
THEN: Hmm… I guess that’d be a scientist.
NOW: A scientist. Okay, what did that mean to you?
THEN: Well, Doc Brown was a scientist and that looked like a lot of fun.
THEN: Calm down.
NOW: You wanted to be a scientist to, what? Invent things?
THEN: Yeah. A time machine, mostly, or jet packs, teleporters, spacecraft, laser shoes.
NOW: Laser shoes?
THEN: Yeah, to make sure you always walk in a straight line.
NOW: I don’t think there’s much point in that.
NOW: So, basically what you’re saying is Back to the Future made you want to be a scientist.
THEN: Kind of, yeah.
NOW: Now we’re getting somewhere. What about after that, what did you want to be?
NOW: Besides Batman.
THEN: After that, I wanted to be a paleontologist.
THEN: Because dinosaurs are awesome.
NOW: No, I mean what made you think to become a paleontologist?
THEN: Well, I saw that movie The Land Before Time and then my class took a field trip to the natural history museum and we saw all those bones. I just think it looks cool.
NOW: That movie had that big an impact?
THEN: Oh, huge. I sure hope they make more of them.
NOW: Well, you’ll get your wish; they make like 13 of them.
THEN: That seems like too many.
NOW: I agree. Wow, all this dino-love and you haven’t even seen Jurassic Park yet.
THEN: Ooh, what’s Jurassic Park.
NOW: So now you’re into deep-sea diving. Hmm…
NOW: I was so interested in science and I didn’t do anything even close to that. I went to theatre school, got a film theory minor, and now I write things. I don’t get it.
THEN: What’s not to get?
NOW: I don’t know why I gave up on science like that. I probably could have done all of these things if I’d have tried. I feel like I squandered some potential somewhere.
THEN: You’re dumb.
NOW: Maybe. I never thought I was dumb.
THEN: No, not unintelligent; I’m saying you’re dumb for not seeing what’s pretty obvious.
NOW: Which is?
THEN: I was inspired by movies, right?
THEN: And do you know what the best part of wanting to be all these things is?
NOW: Wearing a white coat?
THEN: Pretending. Daydreaming.
THEN: Fool, your imagination is what got you to where you are. You’re inspired by movies and you spend your time in a fictional brain-land thinking of stories to write and conversations to have. I mean, you’re writing this right now!
NOW: That’s true.
THEN: Me having these grand plans and spending hours of the day plotting them out is what gave you the attention to detail and the imagination to concoct things yourself. All the things I do have a direct impact on you now.
NOW: You think so?
THEN: You do know how this works, right?
NOW: Yeah, I guess you’re right.
THEN: Of course I am.
NOW: Thanks pal.
THEN: You’re welcome. Now, would you mind telling me what Jurassic Park is?
NOW: Two words: Dino Droppings.