Even after writing this really long column, I still don't know what I'm going to do with the rest of my life

The question “What am I going to do with my life” has been plaguing twenty-somethings since the 1960’s, when, for the first time in history (if TV and movies have taught me anything), kids started rebelling against what their parents wanted them to do with their lives and started doing what they wanted to do. Come on, haven’t you seen "The Wonder Years?" The hippy daughter Karen was like, “I don’t appreciate your chauvinistic patriarchal view of the world, Dad!” And the mom was like, “Karen, do you have to do this at dinner?” And the dad was like, “You’ll become a homemaker and you’ll like it, dammit!” And Karen ran away from home and got knocked up by some burnout. You go, Karen!

The point is, everything I know about the 60’s I learned from "The Wonder Years," "Woodstock," or my huge collection of Jimi Hendrix CDs (15). As far as I understand it, it was a time when traffic lights were turning all kinds of psychedelic colors, white collar conservatives’ sensibilities were constantly being offended by hippies wearing wild colored clothing and smoking joints on the street, and young people were free to explore new, freaky, artsy careers like freelance artist/acid whore in San Francisco.

If only it were still that easy.

The short answer (see the first paragraph if you’ve already forgotten the question), in my case, is, and has always been “win the lottery and buy Cubs season tickets.” Unfortunately, the lottery has not paid off, and apparently my odds of winning, even if I spend my entire life savings on a thousand different PowerBall tickets, are still not as good as being struck by lightning. Stupid multi-state lottery.

Over the last sixteen months, I have worked at a job that some might call “rewarding” or “character-building,” and others might call “a gut-wrenching introduction to the soul and life-crushing realities of Corporate America.” Some of my co-workers seem to manage to have active lives outside of work; I know this because I hear stories about what they do. They have boyfriends and/or girlfriends. They visit friends, family and well-wishers. They write, paint, do yoga, play a musical instrument, or do whatever else it is their soul cries out for them to do.

For whatever reason, I do not have the energy to listen to my soul after working for eight to ten hours. Usually, all I want to do after work is to tell my soul to shut the hell up, and then play some GameCube until bedtime. This is why I did not write a column for nearly a year (and also why I have been working on this column for nearly three weeks).

This wouldn’t be so bad if I were doing something during the day that I genuinely enjoyed, but, as I alluded to earlier, I don’t. So I return home from work feeling drained and exhausted and not wanting to stare at a computer screen any longer. This leads to a vicious cycle of me not doing things that are important to me, such as writing, composing music, and giving hand jobs to the fine sailors I meet on the commuter train.

However, in my thoughts and daydreams, I have discovered a myriad of jobs that I would be willing and happy to do during the day. I believe that one of these jobs would allow me to feel more energized at the end of the day, like I had done something of worth during the day, as opposed to copying-and-pasting things into Microsoft Office documents for idiot middle-aged people who don’t know how to do it themselves. Then it wouldn’t matter if I came home and did nothing, because I would feel like I had already done something. As it stands, I feel that I have done nothing. This is why I am trying to do something, and yet, I keep ending up with nothing (or, after three weeks of chiseling and tinkering, a column). It is a paradox that would even blow your Philosophy professor’s mind.

Anyway, here’s a list of jobs that I think I would enjoy… okay, not necessarily enjoy, but would make me want to avoid getting hit by an Ford Explorer on the way to work.

Job Pro Con Hurdle For Entry
Professional baseball player Great perks, including a nine figure salary, hot women in every city wanting to sleep with you, endorsement deals, idolized by people across America. Also, get to play baseball for a living. The media. They’re such leeches, man. I suck at baseball so much you wouldn’t believe I played little league for seven years.
Screenwriter (TV or Film) Get to write comedy for a living; some readers of this website would say I’m pretty good at that (thanks, Mom)! Requirement to become screenwriter: waiting tables in Los Angeles and giving a traumatic amount of oral sex to producers. I have no connections, and a general dislike for schmoozing, bullshitting, and doing all of the other superficial crap one must do to get along with superficial idiots who run TV networks and film companies. I have an extremely talented friend who was denied a writing job on a popular sit-com because some woman on the show thought he didn’t know her name (and he did). Seriously.
Short-order cook I like to cook; low-stress environment (unlike all of those Charlie Trotter types I see freaking out all the time on Food Network). Might get to work with a sassy, heavyset middle-aged woman named Rhonda who uses 50’s diner slang (“Hey, Al, get me a pair of wagon wheels with a bale of hay!”). Terrible salary, and I would imagine, benefits. Might get tired of working with a sassy, heavyset middle-aged woman named Rhonda (“Hey Al, I don’t care much for them queers!”) I guess aside from lack of experience (I don’t really want to have to work my way up from grease-trough cleaner), I might try to impose unrealistic snooty standards on the diner, such as outlawing American cheese and ranch dressing, and introducing salad caprese with a balsamic reduction probably wouldn’t go over too well at Denny’s.
Owner/manager of small, trendy gourmet coffee shop Could become incredibly pretentious and feel little to no guilt about it; would get to be around and involved with coffee every day. Do you know how hard the restaurant business is? Especially when you have to compete with Starbucks? Lack of capital. Frightening lack of business savvy.
Porn Star Doing it with nasty sluts for a living Doing it with nasty sluts for a living I’m not going to pull punches here – my cock simply isn’t the size of a paper towel roll.
Rock Star Roadies. Tons of free drugs. Good chance that there will someday be a “VH1: Behind the Music” episode based on life Album of cover songs lambasted by critics divides fan base. Band becomes passing thought in nation’s conscious and punchline to many awful Leno jokes. I don’t see any hurdles to entry here; indeed, I plan on becoming a rock star as soon as I pen that number 1 hit single.
Drug Dealer Tax-free income! Fear of getting caught leads to paranoia; also, the downward spiral of addiction would be kind of a bummer. Lack of drugs; lack of junkies to sell said drugs to
Starving artist It’d be like, so noble to like, live for your art, you know? Eventually having to realize that you’re never going to make ends meet doing what you’re doing. Also, starving. Extraordinary lack of desire to starve; probably wouldn’t get along with “starving artist” colleagues.
President of the United States The best part of being President is the post-presidency. You get to do lame speeches for $100,000 a pop, you get your own library, and you get free bodyguards. Plus, you can move to New York and have an affair while your wife is running for Senator. Actually being President for four or eight years would probably be a thankless, exhausting job. Unless you’re George W. Bush. He always looks very well-rested. Thanks to this website, and all of the dirty, offensive things I have written on it, I am doomed to never run for public office. America’s loss, I suppose.
Stand-Up Comic If "Seinfeld" has taught me anything, stand-up comics don’t have to do much work, and they get to date a new beautiful model every other week. Seriously, though, folks. Nobody makes it as a stand-up comic. Tendency to be even more awkward and jumpy on stage than I am in real life.
Construction or similar blue-collar job Get to be outside, exercise on the job. Get to be in a potentially corrupt union. If injured, get workman’s compensation. I would imagine that the foreman would always be on my ass about something. Scrawny, girly arms.

The job that I would probably most like to have in the world is what I’m doing right now; writing this column, and somehow getting paid for it. The problem with that is that most newspapers don’t want to hire a columnist like me. This is not just because I use naughty language in my columns. Apparently, newspapers don’t want humor columnists who rock the boat one way or another, and not just in a political sense. I have a friend who works for a small suburban newspaper, and occasionally gets to write a humor column for it. He says his ideas have run dry, because he’s not allowed to make fun of the fat, the ugly or the elderly (fodder for most of his columns in college).

Newspaper readers and editors of America, I ask you this: If you can’t make fun of the fat, the ugly or the elderly, who can you make fun of?

Now, I don’t fault the overweight or the ugly for being sensitive. If you’re really fat or really ugly, sad as it is to say, society really looks at you differently. If you’re ugly, well, that just sucks, and despite what The Swan may make you think, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. But if you’re fat, try not to eat so much damn baloney on Wonderbread™. Try tuna on whole wheat. No, it doesn’t suck! It’s fucking delicious! Have you ever tried tuna salad with low-fat mayo, celery and apples? It’s a fucking flavor fiesta!

I do, however, fault old people for not wanting to be made fun of. Jesus Christ, old people! You guys are a gold mine of comedy. Consider the following: you can’t see; you can’t hear; your teeth are likely removable; you have that bizarre, inexplicable old people smell; it is highly likely that, despite being a grown adult person, you wear diapers; many of you likely are AOL members despite the fact that you do not own a computer; and if you fall down, you might die! Come on, old people! It’s the last years of your life. You might as well laugh along with those of us who laugh at you as you’re slowly deteriorating into the grave.

Originally Posted November 23, 2004