Benign to Five on “When I grow up…”

Image courtesy of 'Gwernol'
Image courtesy of ‘Gwernol’

What do you reckon Alan Jones wanted to be when he was growing up? What about Kyle Sandilands? Or Pat Raw? These aren’t rhetorical questions, and I’m going to attempt to answer them in order:

Pantomime horse.

Condom vending machine maintenance person.

Chicken sexer.

It’s fun to look back at your preferred career at the age of 5. Fun, and also absolutely devastating. Our parents have a lot to answer for:

They’re Dreamin’

When I was little, I wanted to be a steam train driver when I grew up. Part of what I understood then holds true to this day: steam trains are among the top 10 things invented since that seminal moment when Homo sapiens told Neanderthals, “Stand aside, hippies  we’ve got a civilisation to establish.”

What didn’t hold true was the idea that Puffing Billy was the usual mode of commuter transport throughout suburban Australia. This eventual realisation that the truth of an occupation rarely matches the mystique is what stops most kids from becoming the footballer, fireman or ghostbuster they once wanted to be. Ignorance is unsustainable bliss.

Here’s what kiddies need to be told as early as possible about their more preposterous career preferences.

Artist: “I know you like paint. But do you like a lack of respect? Do you like being stereotyped? Do you like cruel cliches? Do you like poverty?”

Astronaut: “About 100 billion people have ever lived. Only 24 of them have travelled beyond low Earth orbit. Don’t be ridiculous.”

Ballerina: “Get your jim jams on. We’re watching a film before you go to bed. It’s called Black Swan.”

Clown: “Don’t you ever say that again. EVER!”

Prime minister: “Do you love Fluffy Ted? Yes? But what if you found out that a large group of people –  let’s call them ‘swinging voters’ - didn’t like Fluffy Ted? You’d still love him all the same? Then you can’t be prime minister.”

Teacher: “Refer to our discussion on you becoming an artist.”

My daily yearning to pull on the blue, soot-stained overalls every morning could have been avoided if only my dreams had been obliterated at an earlier age.


This article originally appeared in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. You can view the latest column every Saturday in the MyCareer section.

Picture 4


 The Grape Men quote of the day:

Grape Man 1: “OK boys. Another year. Potentially biggest year yet of grape sales.”

Grape Man 2: “What you fuck saying?”

Grape Man 1: “I’m just sayin’ we need to be at our best, you know. We need to put our heads down and our bums up and work hard. We’re not just here to pass the time of day. We’re here to make our families proud and… Frank, what are you doing?”

Grape Man 3: “I just do piss on Enzo car because he a shit stirrer.”

Grape Man 1: “OK, but when you’re done, you get fuckin’ serious.”

Grape Man 3: “I feel it could be long piss. Maybe 2 hour.”

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