OH, THE DRAMA

Today’s LetsBlogOff topic is: What did you want to be when you grew up?

I can tell you this sincerely. I NEVER said to anyone during my childhood, “What I want to be when I grow up is a marketing person for an architecture and interior design firm,  because there I will find appreciation, encouragement and respect.” I’m still not sure how I got here. But that’s another topic entirely.

Growing up with a father people referred to as a “creative genius” made me want to follow his happy footsteps into the advertising industry, which I did for about 12 years, writing and producing TV and radio commercials. One of my earliest jobs required that I go to an office each day by 9:00 AM to view soap operas. (I’m not kidding. This was a real job.) A TV was perched above my computer screen, and I would watch the CBS soaps with headphones on as two other girls watched ABC and NBC. We would type a summary of each show and hand the copy off to a voice talent before the next show began. The voice talent would record each synopsis, and as this was before everyone had internet, or a DVR, or knew how to reliably set their VHS, people who had missed their soap would call a 900 number and pay 99 cents a minute to hear what happened. Insane, right?

BEST. JOB. EVER.

I watched The Young and the Restless, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and the Bold and the Beautiful. I think I’m missing one… that’s what happens to your brain after subjecting it to that much drama every day.

To earn extra money, I volunteered to do the same thing for Falcon Crest and Dallas in the evening. It was fun to write the copy and insert a little “wink” here and there. It was impossible NOT to get a little tongue-in-cheek about it.

I guess at some point between that early job and the following work on actual commercials I realized what I REALLY wanted to be was a writer. Writing for me is that THING people tell you about. The “Whatever it is you find yourself doing when you’re putting off work is what you should be doing with your life,” thing. It’s like breathing.

Ideally, I would have started this blog years ago when the stepsons were 9 and 12 and providing constant material, but my big plan to be the Erma Bombeck of stepmothers didn’t pan out. Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn’t put the right amount of distance between the observation and the situation to really enjoy it. The ability to laugh came later, with maturity, and the surrender of sanity. So, no book deal, no movie, no big interview on Letterman. Or Oprah.

For now I have to say goodbye to the imaginary vacation house named
“What’s-Your Pointe” I would purchase with the proceeds from my best-selling novel,
“Not Genetically Responsible.” (T-shirts and bumper stickers sold separately.)

Sigh.

But, thanks to the people who read these occasional posts, in a small way, I am what I wanted to be when I grew up.

To see what others in the #LetsBlogOff wanted to be, click the logo. And enjoy!

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15 thoughts on “OH, THE DRAMA

  1. Dang, it.. You mean to tell me I could have been paid to care about Luke and Laura?? I am kicking myself for not realizing it.. Oh, those wasted afternoons :-) Erma Bombeck is a household name here in Dayton, Ohio. I think there is a street named after her down by the University of Dayton. I;ll have to check the next time I get lost down there.

  2. What a great post! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Perhaps there is a book in your future? (My grandmother was a neighbor to Erma Bombeck in Dayton, Ohio!) And, having raised (4) teenagers, I share your angst in raising them… step or not. : ) We laugh NOW about things we cried about then.

  3. That’s an interesting observation, “Whatever it is you find yourself doing when you’re putting off work is what you should be doing with your life.” I never thought about it that way, but that’s exactly how I ended up playing around on Twitter for a living. Thanks for that!

  4. I read the comment from Carl before writing my own comment, so now I guess I’ll comment on both! Really, it’s because Carl raised the subject of having a larger imagination for want to modern inventions while growing up. Man, the tales I can tell…….I was born in 1945, and as kids our main toy—I kid you not!—was big cardboard boxes we got from the rear of appliance stores in Helena, Montana. We used to take those boxes home and make forts out of them. When the forts fell apart—mainly from the many assaults on them… Hey, you can’t have a fort if you’re not defending a castle, right? So when the forts went to hell, we took what was left of the boxes and used them for summer sleds down grassy slopes! As a long-since adult, I really do look back on those days, though, and am grateful for having as my main childhood toy, an imagination.

    Oh, in reference to how you started this blog off, there was an interesting TV ad some years ago that made the same point pretty much. It was a bunch of kids six or eight years old, and this was what they were saying:

    “When I grow up, I want to file all day. I want to claw my way up through middle management. I want to be replaced on a whim. I want to have a brown nose.

    “I want to be a Yes Man. Yes Woman! Yes sir! Coming sir! Anything for a raise sir!

    “When I grow up… When I grow up…

    “I want to be underappreciated. Be paid less for doing the same job. I want to be forced into early retirement. “

    Man, think how happy those kids will be now in the world we’ve made for them!

    • I, too had a cardboard box for a toy. it was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I can only imagine what a child of today would say if you handed them a box and told them to amuse themselves. And I remember that commercial too! It’s one of those funny / ouch truths, isn’t it?

      • I think one of the many reasons I love Calvin and Hobbs so much is the use of the cardboard box as a vehicle for imagination. We played with them a lot too. On a contemporary note, I just saw a cute commercial during the NFL games Sunday, one of the “priceless” commercials, of a little baby playing with the cardboard box that her present came in. Some things never change.

    • That was a great commercial, Joe. And a bit of a punch in the gut.

      I certainly watched my fair share of television growing up, and when VCR rentals started my intake of movies increased. But well into my pre-teen years I was still playing with matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, building cities out in the dirt in our garden, running around with a toy gun and playing either Star Wars or my own made up variations of science fiction stories inspired by various books or films.

      I lived in a small housing area about 7 miles out of town and so playing included walking in the woods, climbing trees, damning up the small creeks to make swimming holes, catching tadpoles, gazing up at the night sky.

      I feel so fortunate to have grown up when and where I did.

  5. That does sound like the greatest job ever! I wouldn’t have lasted at it though. I would have ended up getting so engrossed in the show and would have “come to” once it was over with a “crap, what just happened!” panic setting in. :)

    Isn’t it amazing how different our world is now than it was just a few short years ago? I’m so happy I grew up in the time before VCR’s, when shows were on once and if you didn’t catch it, too bad. It makes me appreciate things now in a different way and at the same time I think I had a better childhood because of that. I had to use my own imagination, I didn’t have the internet doing it for me.

    Speaking of, I do enjoy how the internet and blogging in particular has given us the chance to work on those writing desires, even if it is just a post or two now and then.

    • Carl, believe me, I sometimes drifted off a bit and had to scramble to catch up. And we weren’t recording the show, so if I missed it, I was stuck! And nowadays, I often find that I won’t watch a TV show or movie if it is On Demand, or recorded, whereas if I just randomly come across it, I am hooked. I think it’s my own form of rebellion.

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