What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?
Jul 9 2012
Have you ever sat in your cramped work cubicle with thousands of emails piling up in your inbox, millions of missed meeting notifications popping up on your iCal, and the muffled plop of your co-worker's gassy farts, which he squeezes out in threes, ringing inside your ears? It's enough to drive you insane, right? How did you become a desk jockey shoveling papers, managing inane projects, kissing old wrinkly white behinds, and humoring stupid people? You were supposed to be an astronaut who would discover a long lost race of intergalactic aliens or a diplomat who would wear smart slim pin-stripped suits and drive a convertible sports car with a bad bitch in the passenger seat. The difference between your reality and your childhood dreams is an insurmountable bummer. We asked some schlubs on the street if they too failed to achieve the lofty goals of their youth.
VICE: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Matt, sales: How old are we talking about?
I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones in the desert.
So, an archeologist?
What do you do now?
I sell tickets for comedy shows. It beats waiting tables.
How did you get from archeology to this?
I realized that laying belly-down polishing things with a tiny toothbrush wasn’t going to be something I’d enjoy doing forever.
And hustling tickets is? To each his own.
Sharon, secretary: I have no idea.
You never had any dreams?
I dropped out of high school. That doesn’t leave much time for dreams.
What about before high school, as a little kid?
I think I wanted to work in a corporate office and be a CEO of something.
You dreamed of corporate jobs as a child?
Yes, I think I did.
What do you do now?
I’ve been a secretary at a law firm for 30 years.
Julius, Construction: I wanted to work in the subway tunnels.
What are you doing now?
I’m doing exactly what I just said, I’m working in the subway tunnels.
Any hermits down there?
Nah, just me and the tunnels.
Beth, Shopping: That was so long ago. I suppose I’d have to say a ballerina.
Are you currently working as a ballerina?
What do you do?
I shop [Laughs].
How do you support your shopping habit?
So you married for money?
Yes, I married for the money... But don’t do that.
Why not? It looks fun.
Oh, it is definitely fun, but you know, something is always missing. Marry for love.
Oxana, Homeless: What do I want to be? At this point, it’s pretty much over for me.
What did you want to be as a kid?
I always wanted to be an artist. Actually, I would still consider myself an artist.
What happened between your dreams as a kid and where you are now?
It’s a lot of stuff that I really don’t want to get into.
[I throw some money in her cup]
That was my water cup.
I’m so sorry.
It’s OK. Just go.
Natal, Construction: When I grew up, I wanted to be a rock star. I even got a record deal at 16, right around your age.
Well, I’m 20, but that’s OK. What do you do now?
I’m a construction worker. I had two kids, the record deal fell through, and I had to make a living doing something else. Things were different when I was a teenager.
What do you mean?
Just ask your parents, they were around in the 60s. Be careful if you ever do mushrooms. Who knows what’s in them today? Have you heard about that new drug that makes you eat people?
Yup, that’s it. I gotta make sure my kids stay off those. Some lady just ate her baby’s brains because of bath salts.
You’re not gonna’ photoshop my picture so it looks like I’m fucking a cow, are ya’ [laughs hysterically]?
No I’m really, really not.
Yu, painter: Growing up, I wanted to be anything that would make me famous.
What are you now?
I’m a painter.
A famous painter?
Are you mad you’re not a celebrity?
No, I don’t think that’s for me anymore.
Previously - Would You Eat a Mermaid?
The Story of Dakota Joe, a Jailbird on the Appalachian Trail
The US Prison System Is Shrinking, but Very, Very Slowly
Meeting the Man Who Cared for Survivors of Anders Behring Breivik's Killing Spree in Oslo
The Alternative Miss World Beauty Pageant Prefers Bitchy Quips to Bikinis
I Relived My First Week of College to See if Students Have Changed
Tropical Diseases Are Keeping Americans in Poverty
On the Ground at Hong Kong’s Occupy Central Protests
The Man Who Turned Cannonball Dives into a Sport
Bad Cop Blotter: Why Did a Black Man Get Gunned Down in Walmart for Carrying an Unloaded Air Rifle?
Tana Toraja Villagers Take Tomb Sweeping to a Morbid Extreme