Monday, August 06, 2007

Youthful Idealism

Well, my friend Daisy just told me, "Darren's just started dental school. He cycles off every morning with his back pack."

"You must be so proud," I said. "It's always a great feeling, isn't it, when the oldest one starts college?"

"Yeah, but he still makes me do his laundry."

We laughed our heads off, because Darren isn't her son, he's her forty-three year old husband. Although, truth be told, he does look like a student, a slobby student, with an appalling haircut. He's already started economizing, since the fees for dental school are $100,000, and now cuts his hair with hair clippers. The only comment I can make on his haircut is that doing it himself was a false economy.

How Darren decided to become a dentist goes something like this. He was a bio-chemist who liked sitting in a lab staring at test tubes all day, but was useless at writing grants or publishing papers. So, he was fired from his job, and then sat about at home, staring out of the window for a few months, then decided he wanted to be a doctor. So he applied to med school in Adelaide, since the couple had once lived in Australia and were keen to move back, and flew off to the Land of Kangaroos for an interview. In fact, he was down under for several weeks, having a wail of a time, hanging out in youth hostels and puffing on bongs. When he returned, many nights of the munchies had put ten pounds on him. He was also a couple of thousand dollars lighter in the pocket. I suppose all that would have been okay if he'd gotten into med school. Alas, he hadn't.

So then, when he got back and had started staring out of the window again, Daisy said, "Why don't you become a dentist? It's almost as good as a doctor, right?" And when she still wasn't getting too much response, Daisy took the bull by the horns and more or less wrote his application for a dental school here in Baltimore, which he eventually got into.

So yesterday, Daisy went to a party the University was holding for all the dental freshmen, where Darren was the oldest freshman by twenty-two years. She said there were lots of cute girls there and she told Darren, "If you have an affair with any of these girls, I will cut your nuts off with nail scissors." Meanwhile, she was drooling over all the hot young guys. "One of them was all over me, eager as a puppy," she gushed.

"Yes, those young uns can be awfully cute, can't they?" I said. Indeed, their attraction is in their naivety and optimism. Some of the younger generation actually believe they can change things, bless their cotton socks! Although I must say, I wasn't really like that at college. I went on a march once for 'Grants not Loans' and then loans came in and I thought, well, that wasn't exactly much of a success, was it? I was always pretty cynical about stuff like that. But a lot of young people are just so sweet. They're like, "I'm going to be a politician and stop injustice!" And you want to pat them on the head and make them a nice cup of cocoa and tuck them into bed and say, "There, there, of course you are. But now it's time for teddy bye-byes." Or, if they are attractive young men, I suppose you might want to tuck yourself into bed with them.

Almost every youthful idealist ends up a cynical, bitter person by forty, bogged down with debt, a job they can't stand and a pack of moaning, demanding kids. Or have I got it wrong? Maybe you're the exception? Do you remember what you thought you were going to achieve when you were young? And did you ever achieve it?

24 comments:

karoline said...

lol..lemme try again..

of COURSE my ideals evaporated, my dreams were radiated to death...but i've adapted because i have opposable thumbs...and i'm well and truly entrenched in brainwashing my boys to be smarter than i was...

k
;))

la fille mariƩe said...

Thank god for living through our kids. That's all I can say. :)

rilly super said...

was that march the one that started in battersea park in about '89 emma? just askin', ya know...

Midnight said...

I was going to be a vet and save lots of animals. Now I'm just going to kille some (as humanely as possible) so I suppose not quite what I had in mind.

having my cake said...

I could never decide if I wanted to be a nun or a stripper. So I became a secretary instead. Now I seem to have a picture of myself in a state of undress in a public place so I guess I kind of fulfilled the stripper thing... well loosely :)

Misssy M said...

I vowed that one day I would have a job that would allow me to stay in my jammies all day.

Two weeks ago I did it. I go freelance at the start of September. Success!

OK it's not Prime Minister type ambition but it works for me!

Luka said...

I vowed to never let truth and beauty destroy my innate cynicism. It's worked for me so far.

Sailor said...

I think for most of us, the ideals and dreams fade.. I was going to fly, knew from the time I was six that that's what I would be doing.

So, now I analyze technology for a fortune-50, in a cubicle, and about as close as I get usually is watching the sky.

Heigh ho, things change

:)

Gumpher said...

Like Midnight, I harboured ambitions of being a vet, but that got knocked on the head when my 'o'level results landed on the doormat. I guess I'm fairly lucky now in that my work is fairly flexible & I get a lot of time at home with my family. Not sure if thats achieving, but it makes me happy

Despina said...

I had a conversation with a fellow student the other night. He's going to be Prime Minister and change the world. At 22 I'm already cynical. I said my ambition was to have adessert named after me. He wasn't so impressed.

Conortje said...

Maybe it goes in cycles and we'll be optimistic again by the time we reach 50. nahhh, don't think so.

EmmaK said...

karoline....Our kids will certainly be smarter than we are. I mean, speaking purely for myself, they could hardly be stupider!

la fille mariee..I suppose mine are still too young to live through. All they do is talk to their My Little Ponies and put on pink nail polish and have the idea they are going to be princesses one day. But in the future I'm sure their ambitions will be more tangible.

rilly super...Yes it was the march 1989 that started in Battersea Park. Were you there too?? It was a pretty good march as these things go, although of course it didn't achieve anything.

midnight...very amusing answer. I never wanted to be anything jobwise except ...I do remember writing to Victoria Wood (the comedian) as a teen and asking her if she had any slots on her show for ugly girls (I thought I was ugly at the time) to be funny on her show and she actually replied saying, sorry she had enough ugly girls. I still think my main talent in life is to make people laugh, but I don't think I could do stand up, I am better off on youtube.

having my cake...I don't see why you didn't just become a stripping nun.

misssy m...congrats on the lounging around in PJs job. It shows that all good things come to those who wait.

luka...Here here. You and I are cut from the same cloth.

sailor...Don't be so negative. You must have flown many many times. And okay you weren't actually flying the plane but next time just put on a pilot's cap while you are on British Airways and tell everyone "I'm the pilot and I'm in charge of this plane." And your dream will have been achieved ...or maybe your prank will mean you end up in a mental institution...but you will still have achieved your dream!

EmmaK said...

gumpher...alot of us wanted to be vets after watching James Herriot, but the reality is, do most of us want to spend our lives with our arms up cows bums? It's not all glamor you know ;)

despina...actually I think to have a dessert named after you is a pretty good ambition. you just track your prime minister friend down in ten years and see how far he has gotten down that road...I bet he won't even be working in politics!

conortje....We might be optimistic at 50 if they invent some crazy happy pills for old people, otherwise no.

Edvard Moonke said...

ah to be a student again... *sigh*

Angela-la-la said...

I wanted to be a social worker and change the lives of poor unfortunate children.

I went on to have three poor, unfortunate children who will need a social worker by the end of these damn holidays.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I initially read that as denial school...which all things considered is for the best :)

Manuel said...

I revel in my bitterness...

so many shattered dreams...

The Shepcarpclan said...

I wanted to be a vet also. I did end up as a vet tech. I did that until my second son was born. I do remember not wanting children when I was a kid. Now I am a stay at home mom with five children. Are mine smarter than me? Oh heck yea, none of them wants to be a vet.

Gorilla Bananas said...

A vet is an honourable profession, I always went to one for my dental treatment. He was too damned scared of me to do anything that hurt.

EmmaK said...

edvard moonke...the student times were fun, yes, but how was anyone expected to have successful sex on those very narrow beds in the student residences?

angela....re the kids needing a social worker by the end of the holidays. I know exactly how you feel.

benefitscroungingscum...he he...very funny: denial school.

manuel...I think you're not being very honest. Weren't you born wanting to be a waiter or did you just fall into this noble profession?

the sherpcarplan.....I expect looking after five kids can be a bit like working in a zoo so in a way you did achieve your vet ambition!

gorilla bananas....You seem like such a mild mannered gorilla, but I guess anyone would be scared if they had to put their head into a gorilla's wide open jaw!

Drunk Mummy said...

I am always rather intolerant of these male mid-life crises. I hope for Daisy's sake that Darren is acting like a teenager in the sack too, otherwise she would do well to tell him to haul his useless, free-loading menopausal arse out of her life.
But then, that might just be me being a cynical, bitter person bogged down by a pack of moaning demanding kids!

Manuel said...

Oh no I was born for this job. But where are my perfect pecks and buns of steel?

The Hangar Queen said...

"Make no mistake my friend,your pointless little life will end"
Morrissey

Perhaps that's true but I'm going back to flight school anyway.

EmmaK said...

drunk mummy...
I hope for Daisy's sake that Darren is acting like a teenager in the sack too, otherwise she would do well to tell him to haul his useless, free-loading menopausal arse out of her life....
You echo my sentiments exactly, but Daisy loves him even though he is not exactly a teenager in the sack. Love is blind as they say.

manuel...some men are perfect even without the buns of steel. And you are one such specimen!

the hangar queen...going back to flight school. I'm proud of you. You go girl!