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What’s My Line?

There was a fun thing going around Twitter the other day about what you wanted to be when you grew up, at different school stages of your life. I thought I’d expand upon it here, because while Twitter is good for some things (like memes, jokes, poisoning the social media well with white male supremacist toxicity, watching the U.S. collapse into straight-up fascism in real time, cute animal videos), there aren’t enough characters in a single tweet for me to really dig deep into what I imagined my line of work would be in THE REAL WORLD.

First, a disclaimer: I can’t say I ever really wanted to grow up. I didn’t want to always be living with my family and I definitely fantasized about having a career or two, but there was little I saw of adults that made me think, “Yeah, I want to be one of them!” I didn’t want to smell like sweat and cigarette smoke, I didn’t want to yell and get yelled at by people, I didn’t want to always be complaining about my job and stressing about money, I didn’t particularly want to drive a car, I didn’t want to stop playing. Unfortunately, growing up is pushed on all of us whether we want it or not. Some people might argue about how well I’ve achieved “grown up” status, and being an adult is something I resist as much as possible, but here I am regardless.

Second, another disclaimer: this post is taking me longer to write than I thought it would when I started it, so I’m breaking it up into two posts.


“Elementary school: writer/artist/superhero” — There were actually a lot of things I wanted to do when I was in elementary school. I wrote stories and I wanted to keep doing that. I wrote and drew comics and I wanted to keep doing that. I wanted to make animated cartoons (set in a vague 1920s-1940s time, like most of the animated cartoons I loved). I wanted to perform stage magic. I wanted to practice real magic. I wanted to be a scientist, preferably with a secret lab hidden behind a bookshelf. I wanted science (or magic) to give me superpowers so I could wear a costume and fight bad guys. I wanted to travel the world investigating UFO sightings, cryptids, and haunted houses.

“Middle school: comic strip writer/cartoonist” — I still had dreams of writing fiction and comic books, but I mostly wanted to write and draw newspaper comic strips. The strips I created were…very much not funny. The Comics Curmudgeon would go to town with them. But I read LOTS of comic strips past and present and I researched the biz. This was the first time I seriously looked at something as a career. I also started learning to play guitar and fantasized about being a rock star. Like you do. And after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark, I entertained ideas of being an “archaeologist/tomb robber-type dude.”


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