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When I was little, I wanted to be Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when I grew up. My mother, the liar that she is, told me this was a wonderful dream. Achievable, she said. “You’d make a lovely Truly Scrumptious, sweetheart” she cooed at me while brushing my rat’s nest of brown hair and attempting to pry a Klondike bar covered in peanut butter from my chubby little midget paws. No one thought to tell me that Truly was blonde and I was not. Or that Truly was tall and elegant and I was…not. Or that Truly was, oh, I don’t know, a fictional character likely concocted during the insane acid trip of an overzealous hater of the Iron Curtain. The Russians are trying to steal our cars! And steal our kids! Let’s make a children’s movie about it. I wonder if Joseph McCarthy will help me crowdsource? Duck and cover, kiddos. Duck and cover. Or, I don’t know, something like that.
Nope. Instead of sitting me down and telling me that I could not, in fact, grow up to be the beautiful Truly Scrumptious who saves a village of children all while dressed like a life-sized doll, my mother fed into this ridiculous fantasy. And so did my father. For a while, I refused to answer to anything other than Miss Scrumptious, and because I was small (in height, not in girth), everyone found this incredibly endearing. And so they continued to encourage this ridiculous fantasy. After a few months, or days, or, in all likelihood, it could’ve been a few hours, I don’t know, I didn’t learn how to tell time until I was twelve, I moved from my Truly Scrumptious dream to some other ridiculous and equally unattainable goal. For a while it was some Disney Princess, then it was Addy the American Girl doll who is black…and a doll…while I am white…and a human. At some point it was Mr. Potato Head and at another it was Eleanor Roosevelt. Like, I would literally sit in my 3rd grade Talented and Gifted (otherwise known as TAG, if you were one of the cool kids losers) class and tell my teacher that my life ambition was to be the plastic potato featured in Toy Story. First of all, someone really should’ve double checked my “TAG” status, and second of all, my teacher told me that was a wonderful dream. I’m sorry, but what? No. It is not a wonderful dream. It is an insane dream. I literally told her that I wanted to be a side item at an Outback Steakhouse when I grew up, and she told me something along the lines of “Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” So…what? Like, if my baked potato dream doesn’t pan out, maybe I can settle for being mashed or perhaps twice baked? It is stupid. She is stupid. I am stupid. But you knew that already. Just kidding. I was in TAG, for crying out loud. I’m a genius.
The list of childhood goals I had is quite ridiculous. But honestly, what’s even more ridiculous is that no one ever sat me down and was like, “Hey, that’s stupid. Cut it out.” Instead, everyone just encouraged my classmates and me to dream of winning bobsled races, becoming the youngest president in US history, and solving world hunger, and doing it all while beating the next level of Mario Kart and keeping our Tamagotchis alive for more than 12 hours. But you know what? I’ve accomplished none of those things. And I bet you haven’t either. Like, my Tamagotchi literally never lived longer than two hours. It’s one of the many reasons I don’t plan on procreating for a good amount of time. Well, that and, you know, #vodka. Honestly, no wonder we’re all so miserable all the time. Screw you, baby boomers! Thanks a lot for letting us dream. My Windows 98 existence is totally better than fighting aliens on Mars. “You can be anything you want to be,” they told us. Yeah? Well, they lied.
LOL. Honestly, I could just leave it at that, but I won’t. When you’re not 5’11, 100 pounds, and a natural blonde, you learn to overcompensate with other things. A few of my “talents” are overeating, an impressively bad driving record, and the ability to make fun of myself so you don’t have to. As Lena Dunham so eloquently said in Girls, “No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!” That’s how I am. I’m a giver. I do it so you don’t have to. But really, the fact that my parents let me think that I could be a model when I grew up is literally the biggest joke. Like, a hand model, maybe? Except that I bite my nails so that’s actually out of the question. I’m 5’5 and am so lazy that I have the Netflix app on my phone so that when I walk from my couch to the fridge, I don’t have to miss anything. There is no modeling career in my future.
Apparently my parents didn’t realize that in order to be an Olympian, you have to start training in the womb. Like, those little medal-winning gymnasts were practicing their layouts and tucks while trying not to strangle themselves with the umbilical cord and listening to the Madonna songs their mom was playing to her belly via Bose headphones. You don’t just wake up one day and think, “Hey, I think I’m going to be an Olympian today. Never mind that I’m 25 and haven’t exercised since I failed PE my sophomore year of high school for pretending to have menstrual cramps when I was really just trying to take a nap in the nurse’s office. No big deal. I’ll just put on my windbreaker and join the team. They’d be lucky to have me.” No, actually, they wouldn’t. You are useless, but it’s okay, because I am too. In all likelihood, the next time any of us gets a medal, it will be when our illegitimate children get a little league trophy for simply existing as a member of the human race. And even then, it won’t be our trophy. It will be theirs. And it will be stupid.
I have a history degree, which means I majored in watching movies and looking shit up on Wikipedia. I once cited Disney’s Pocahontas in an academic paper and very seriously attempted to include pictures in my thesis. The fact that my parents ever thought that I could be trusted in space, let alone get anything beyond a C- in science, is simply laughable. I’m quite serious when I say that the only reason I passed Astronomy my sophomore year is because I told my professor that if he failed me, I would just keep signing up for his class until he gave up and let me pass. I successfully blackmailed my way into a 72%. I don’t even know where The North Star is. The Three Wise Men had a better grasp of space than I do, and yet my parents wholeheartedly encouraged me to pursue a career in it. I’m fairly certain that NASA would sooner blow up the moon than put me in one of their spaceships. In all honesty, the only chance I will ever experience space, is if I decide to give that “let’s colonize Mars” idea a shot, and even I’m not that stupid. In all likelihood, that is a one way ticket to meet the maker and I am not about to spend eternity floating around in space. If I can’t find The North Star from down here, then I sure as shit won’t be able to find it up there in the dark. No thanks. I’ll pass.