Not too long ago, a friend, Danny, the bartender at 99 Buttholes in Santa Cruz (now permanently closed due to COVID), asked me, hypothetically speaking, if I could do any job that I wanted, what would that job be? Since I had consumed more beer than I had minutes to think about it—it’s a deep question and I am not very deep—I responded that I was actually pretty happy doing the pointless garbage I am currently doing. “I get paid twice a month, whether I need it or not.”
When you are asked such a question in the moment, what you want your life’s work to be, the response can be ineffable. For me, I studied Engineering, then I worked in Engineering for more than a decade, and then I did a doctorate in Engineering, and then I taught Engineering thinking that it would be my final purpose in life. I would retire and die as Professor Godsoe. Believe me when I say that I sit at the least popular table during family reunions, and not just because most of my family inherited the idiot gene, likely from my paternal grandmother. Some got the hair, the rest got the brains and the iconoclastic attitude. Genetics aside, considering life beyond engineering has never really been much of a thing for me. I was born a snake handler, I’ll die a snake handler.
But, seriously. How should I have responded? I want to do something completely different from what I have been academically and professionally pursuing my entire life. My expertise is in Electrical and Computer Engineering, but I really want to breed heritage pigs. Animal husbandry and aged pork have always been unrecognized passions of mine. Well, that and charcuterie, cheese, and tiny forks.
In that moment, if I were being genuine, authentic, and honest, I would have told Danny that I would like to be a writer of stupid funny stuff that makes people laugh. Arbitrary stuff, disconnected from politics and social involvement. Meandering, unhinged, even schizophrenic stories about random crap that causes people to snarf coffee through their nose before they realize who is watching. It makes me momentarily happy thinking that someone else is enjoying my perspective on insanity, and that’s all I am going for here. Please like and enjoy my stories. They are all I have left.