What do you want to be when you grow up?
That's something everyone gets asked over and over again as they live out their tumultuous teen years. It's a question that sometimes does more harm than good because of course, when you're a teenager, you have no idea -- at least good idea of what you want. Hell, you haven't even experienced enough of the world to know of a quarter of the things that actually exist out there.
Sure, there's going to be the odd girl or guy who will emphatically tell you they're going to be a neurosurgeon working for Doctors Without Borders, or "I'm going to start up an edible and sustainable herbal tee-shirt business and save the world." But sometimes you have to keep it real. Yet expectations weigh heavily on you.
Take the plight of 15 year old Alex Zaragoza, of Peoria, Illinois.
Alex was interviewed by The Onion recently where he revealed quite a lot. You see, he's not just your everyday 15 year old male, he's gay. His problems might be a bit more complex that yours and mine. So his story was especially informative and revealed a greater perspective on his challenges.
His number one issues wasn't fitting in. It wasn't being accepted. It wasn't finding a life-partner. It was ambition. His goals.
Alex Zaragoza, 15, told reporters today that he is worried about running out of opportunities to become the first openly gay member of any professional field or social group.
Zaragoza expressed anxiety over the fact that the possibility of personally breaking down barriers for homosexuals in any given field is rapidly dwindling as more and more people become the first member of their profession to live as openly gay. Zaragoza told reporters that if he wants to one day become the first out homosexual member of any given occupation then he better “act fast.”
Seems like all the good "firsts" have been taken already. Damn, I never thought about that. This kid really does have a problem if he wants to have a real impact on society. After all, that demand is put upon us all. We've got to be someone, somebody special.
“By the time I’m an adult, all the good stuff will be taken,” said the 15-year-old, who went on to note that the historic contributions made by San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, NBA player Jason Collins, and talk show host and television star Ellen DeGeneres have already broken ground in most areas of public life where homosexuals can hope to make a revolutionary impact. “Athlete’s off the table. Senator’s off the table. Singer was taken a long time ago. What’s left? First openly gay male boxer?”
“Fuck,” he added, looking at his web browser. “Already taken. Orlando fucking Cruz.”
I didn't know that about Orlando. Hmm. One thing I've noticed having raised two teenagers, they're impatient. They want everything right way. Society does that to us.
“I feel like I was born too late. Christ, even if I moved to Iceland and wanted to be the first openly gay prime minister there, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir would say, ‘Sorry, Alex, I broke down those boundaries four years ago and already served as an inspiration to millions,’” he said, adding that “I want to be an inspiration to millions.” “And just when you thought the first gay U.S. Marshal might be a possibility, fucking Sharon Lubinski swoops in.”
This tale of woe does have a happy ending though. First, it's enough just to be who you are, you don't need to be the first to be great. And if you still don't believe that's enough, I do have a suggestion for you. There is a position with no openly gay firsts.
You can become the first openly gay moat repairman. But Alex, you've got to commit yourself and hurry. Not because there are so many closeted gay moat repairmen out there, but moats in general are becoming endangered.
Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:
KNEE DEEP IN A TATTOO BOOM
We may have witnessed a generational sea change the other night at the Golden Globe Awards. Talking about when creator, writer and breakthrough star of HBO’s “Girls,” Lena Dunham, teetered up to the stage on what appeared to be hockey skates sporting a minor array of tattoos leaking out of her ball gown in front of a world- wide audience. Fortunately her dress had been color designed to co- ordinate with copious amounts of blue ink.
And these weren’t discreet little ankle hearts or some Chinese character supposedly representing “peace” but actually translating to “screw you round- eye” either. These were big bold tats. Peek- a- boo with the emphasis on the boo. One looked to be a two- house homage to the children’s book heroine Eloise spanning the width of the actress’ back. And on her upper right arm- Ferdinand the Bull in his field of flowers. And those were just the visibles.
Now, my generation dabbled with tattoos but generally considered them the mark of sailors, rock stars, Maori Tribesmen and Dennis Rodman. Hell, most baby boomers are loathe to put stickers on their laptops. But every generation yearns to physically differentiate itself from their forebears and long hair and baggy pants and ironically retro t- shirts were already taken. Thus, the kids use piercings and tats as their ticket to Hipster City. Which remains to this day a gated community.
And also why we find ourselves knee deep in a tattoo boom. Tattoos in quantities and places previously unimagined. Wander into a club at night and you’ll swear you’re attending a carny convention. Complicated sleeves and full body tats. Prodding carnies and cons to up the ante. Leading to a proliferation of neck and face tattoos. “Society is against me.” Dude, you got 666 tattooed on your forehead. You might be leading the charge.
Neither can we be sure youth is prepared for possible complications. Whenever permanently displaying an impromptu decision made in a questionable state of sobriety at the age of 18, problems inevitably arise. For instance, is youth aware their extravagantly illustrated canvases have a tendency to deteriorate over time? Change shape? That cute little butterfly may someday grow up to be a pterodactyl. The unicorn prancing on a rainbow: a rhino entombed in a striated bog. And in 30 years, the houses on Lena’s back could very well be hit by a Salvador Dali melting bomb.
Also, not everyone is going to spend the rest of their life in jeans and a hoodie. So we got that to look forward to. On formal occasions through eternity we’ll be treated to three- color dragon heads rising out of the small of backs. Laughing skulls popping wheelies on motorcycles made out of marijuana smoke bisected by satin straps. Mushroom cloud cleavage. We’re already seeing grandmas with Whitesnake tattoos. It’s only going to get better.
And who can dismiss the eternal difficulty of memorializing a lover’s name. Would need two arm sleeves to catalogue half my former girlfriends. An entire forearm devoted to those with names starting with MAR… Marci, Mary & Marni. And that was all before college. Makes you wonder if Angelina Jolie’s first husband, Billy Bob Thornton ever sees Brad Pitt and asks, “Hey buddy, how’s my name holding up?”
5 time Emmy- nominee Will Durst’s e- book “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, is now available at Redroom.com, Amazon and many other fine virtual book retailers near you. Go to willdurst.com for more info.
Oh my, what part of "been here more than five years" don't you understand Ms. Brightness? Via Media Matters.
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