Tuesday, August 24, 2010

With Nothing Much At Stake

The Rest Can Go To Hell

I don't remember a lot about kindergarten. But I remember this.

The wave of political correctness hadn't washed over the school yet, so we were sitting "Indian style." In a circle. On the carpet.

And our teacher asked us to all say what we wanted to be when we grew up.

It was the usual stuff -- fireman, football player, astronaut, doctor.

And then the question came around to my friend Dan. "I want to grow up to be David Bowie," he proudly announced.

Our teacher seemed momentarily flustered. She turned bright red. She almost asked a question, then stopped.

As an adult, I imagine what her question might have been. Early or late period Bowie? Bisexual Bowie? Nine Inch Nails wannabe Bowie? Fashion Bowie?

Or maybe she'd ask if Dan wanted to be a musician. Or a singer. Or to marry Iman. Or if he really just wanted to tour with a mime or convince Mick Ronson to take arranging instead of songwriting credit.

And why had our teacher blushed? Was there some hidden desire connected with Bowie? Some wild backstage antics from long ago?

But instead, we moved on. The next kid wanted to train horses. For the Navy. (Oddly, that answer didn't faze our teacher.)

After school, I asked Dan why he wanted to be David Bowie when he grew up. He thought about it for a minute, then said "No, not David Bowie. Kareem Abdul-Jabar."

Because somehow, when you're five and you're new to this whole strange people-being-on-TV thing, it's very briefly possible to mix those two up.


asiangrrl said...

This is a great story, Alex! Do you remember your answer?

Alex said...

Sadly, I don't. I did go through a phase where I wanted to be a professional skier (until I found out that job basically doesn't exist).

William V. Madison said...

Hilarious! "Kids say the darnedest things."

Emily B Gerber said...

I remember the professional skier phase!

Holly A Hughes said...

Dumb video, but a wonderful song. I love that film, or at any rate I love about half of that film (I go to sleep for the other half).

I went through a phase where I wanted to be a back-up singer for the Kinks. Come to think of it, I still do.