You know, I used to be this skinny little kid with white hair, running around with a broken broom handle screaming, "By The Power Of GreySkull!" at the top of my lungs. All the while I would be hacking at trees and shrubbery and small animals and pretending that I was what I wanted to be when I grew up: He-Man. Nothing wrong with that, right? Being six years old, it's perfectly okay to want to be He-Man.

A few years later, I'm doing the same thing, but running around with a machete in each hand chopping down weeds and small trees in singular mighty blows. Not He-Man this time. I think I had figured out what a closet case He-Man was by then... I mean, Tila hanging around all the time with the booty just BLAU! right out there, and he never even looked... but MAN did he love Battlecat.

Anyways, this time I wanted to be a swordsman. A knight maybe. And then I would go shower. See, the main negative for being a knight was the fact that I liked to bathe. I was a really screwed up little kid. I mean, who analyzes their fantasy worlds like that? Did you take hygiene into account of YOUR childhood fantasy? No. I didn't think so.

So, after that, when I figured out how trite those childhood fantasies were, I decided on something more realistic at the age of twelve: I wanted to be a marine biologist. I can see you grinning and going, "What a fucking dork." But see, I also know that a full 75% of all kids, at some point in time, want to be marine biologists. This usually follows your first ever visit to Sea World where Jeremy the Fish Guy tells you about the Dolphin's G-Spot. I'm not kidding. That really happened.

So being twelve and fully aware of coital techniques for use with Bottle Nose Porpoisi, I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was gonna live by the ocean and study fish, and be on boats all the time. Don't get me wrong, I still love boats; but somewhere along the way I lost my passion for a life at sea with nothing but an astrolabe and a turkey baster (for use on the Porpoise G Spot.) Most of my fantasies and their respective deaths can be categorized, but with that one, I have no idea where it went.

One day, when I was about nine, my father had woken me up around 2pm and said, "Hey, you should listen to this. It's John Bonham." Like I knew who the fuck that was. But I listened, and I was amzaed. This guy sounded like God Itself playing drums. I had been beating on things around the house for years with pencils and hopsicks and raw spaghetti, and doing so along to horrible oldies on the radio. I think that explains my later fetish with playing WipeOut at EVERY GODDAMN TALENT SHOW I WAS IN. But I digress.

It was at this point I started playing drums and liking it. At the ripe old age of ten, I had decided that "Music would never be a profitable career, and would always be just a hobby." I'm ten years old and talking like that. Someone should have held me down and stuffed the entire combined Voltron Robot up my ass, in order to get the proper amount of frivolousness back in my bloodstream. But it never happened. I played with my toys, and I drummed, and occasionally I thought about fish.

Immediately following the death of my third What-I-Want-To-Be-When-I-Grow-Up fantasy, I decided that I would indeed play drums for the rest of my life and make a good living at it and be one of the best in the world. And for the next nine years, I strove to do just that. I got really good, like, so good it got me laid. And I won a shitload of competitions. And I made money by teaching. I went to a music conservatory, yacka a doodle doo.... all that kind of "Triumph of The Human Spirit" shit.

The first thing you have to know is that I took everything WAY to seriously. I gave up mack for drumming. Let me repeat that: As a teenage guy, I gave up mack for drumming. See how fucked up I was now? I mean, yeah, I had my periods here and there when I was a 9th degree mack belt, but it wasn't enough. I wasted all the good drinking and fucking times of my high school life on the pursuit of music. If I had it to do over again, I would have practiced just as much, but not done my homework so I could have gotten more ass and drank more often. Which, truthfully, would be hard, because I drank alot.

See, I was raised with the idea that you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. I think the only thing my parents told me I couldn't be when I grew up was a woman, and that's for obvious reasons; of course, technology wasn't nearly as advanced then, but hey, my parents did great in that category. I mean, I got my ass kicked enough, you know?

So I could be anything I wanted to be, and I fell in love with that idea. And what I wanted to be for a long LONG time was a groupie groping hard drinking rockstar. Even at the age of 13, I wanted this. I spent all my time and money on Def Leppard and Guns 'n' Roses albums, playing along to them and getting every note down. What a cockmonkey I was. Hell, looking back, I would have kicked my own ass. Wearing Monkees T-shirts and singing "Rock Of Ages" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" to myself at lunch. I remember this girl I had a crush on in fourth grade, Kathy Gunnels. She was sitting next to me and I started singing that song, "Rock of Ages", right at the lunch table, right in front of the girl that I really liked. She turns to me and says, "that's not how the song goes!" referring to the Hymnal version. So, I, being sage and wise, found it a good idea to say:

"Well, if you ROCK it is!"

Needless to say, the relationship between myself and Ms. Gunnels never did come to fruition.

So I get into high school, and within a half a year, I'm the hottest shit to hit drumming since this one guy lost his mind at practice one night and started throwing hot shit at the drumline. I'm SUCH a bad-ass, right? I was very cocky. (No wonder I didn't get laid until I was seventeen.) But I'm doing all this extra shit, competing, writing music for drumline, teaching... totally immersing myself in this music. And masturbating furiously all the while. And drinking by myself on the weekends. You see the pattern developing here?

All work.

No play.

Then I get some play.

Then I go back to work.

The sick part is, I really liked it that way. I loved it that way. Hell, I started whacking off with my left hand because someone told me that would strengthen it for drumming. Again,a true story.

By now, I'm sure you are all wondering what the moral of this story is. Well, my moral is not a positive one. Yeah, you can be anything you want to be when you grow up, UNLESS

The unless is open ended for a reason. True, it does happen to a lot of people. They follow their dreams and never give up on them and become big stars or the doctor that discovers the "Third Nut Principle". But then again, anything can happen.

Take for instance, me. I was a drummer, I'm drumming, I'm drumming, I'm a badass musician, I'm gonna make it, women love me, men want to be me BAM! Total Gimphood. The hands give out, the music career is done with, now it's time to work at FuncoLand. Great. I'll make sure to get my whole head in front of the shotgun.

OR! , any amount of other nasty things could happen to you. I have a few examples:

Trey: This guy is a piece of work. His father runs a music company out of Nashville. They just signed Waylon Jennings. Mick Jagger's cel phone is on his speed dial. And what does his son do?

He works at Blockbuster. He's all the way up to middle management.

He doesn't have any ambitions of inheriting his father's business. He lives with his mom. He's thirty. He has an engineering degree from SMU. What happened to this guy?, you may ask.

Hell if I know. It's sad though, huh?

Taxi Guy: This was a guy in Boston that used to ferry my friends and I around in his checker cab. He stunk of liquor all the time (but hey, the rides were free). He had like four stringy REALLY LONG white hairs. He was 28. He had graduated from Berklee in '91 with a degree in Music Production. What happened to him?

I have no idea, but it's scary, isn't it?

I also have a reverse incident:

Jeff Pavelka: This is a guy my brother went to high school with. If anyone remembers me on my wildest, craziest, most death defying night, that's what this guy did for breakfast. He did more drugs than our entire graduating class combined, he could drink 48 beers in one sitting and be just fine, he got laid ALL the time, and not always with the cleanest of women. He had a GPA of 2.

Now he's a head tech engineer for Intel. Makes about $300,000 a year.

It just doesn't seem fair, does it?

I have a perfect, and no doubt timely example of how unfair life can be. I go into Target tonight to apply for a job, and the guy behind the One Hour Film Counter calls out to me.

Chet: "Hey! You're that guy in my english class! The guy that knows everything!"

Me: "Well, I try to offer what I can and bleed into the background as quickly as possible."

Chet: "Oh.... "

(forty seconds of silence)

Chet: "So! How about that test huh? I'm gonna die!"

Me: "Well, did you ask questions in the review class today?"

Chet: "Oh, I didn't go to class today. I'm gonna go study with this chick. Maybe she'll give me some good luck head!"

Me: "Yeah Maybe. I should go."

Chet: "okay, well, I'm Chet. What's your name?"

Me: "Al. Al Timeter."

Chet: "Okay, cool! Hey, do you wanna work here with me? That would be coolio! We could go get bitches after work!"

Me: "Well, I already have a job."

I said that as I was going out the door. The irony here is, this guy got a job, no problem. I've been turned down for 19 jobs so far. These last two weeks. I'm pretty smart. That guy had the intellect of a broken vending machine. And his name really is Chet.

At this point, you say, "Well, Target would have hired you!"

And to that I say, "Yeah, But I'm not a retard."

The point to all of this is that it's okay to have dreams and wants and needs even, but you have to learn really quick that the only being that has a hand in fate anymore is the Devil himself, and he's horny, and you look mighty good in them shorts.

The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can relax and take it like a man.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Well, I'll never grow up. And if I do, I want to be a fireman.

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