February 02, 2010

Lowered Expectations

If you're a semi-normal child, brought up in a semi-normal household, in a semi-normal environment, then it stands to reason that you have semi-normal goals.  Looking at me now, it's not difficult to believe that I had goals as a young boy, unless you're Jan looking at me now.  She finds it difficult to believe.

But pay no attention to her.  I did have goals, I just didn't know that wanting something really bad was called a goal.  However, as I learned, some goals are not attainable.  For instance, I wanted to play on a little league baseball team, and even though my dad sponsored a team one year (Beverly Heating & Air Conditioning), I never made the cut, because I couldn't hit a fast ball.  You'd think the old bastard could have pulled a few strings so I could have least sat on the bench, but noooooo ... I didn't even get a cool baseball jacket.  What kind of fucked up shit is that?

Okay, so I wasn't very athletic, so none of those athlete-y type goals were met, but I thought I could at least do something cerebral.   But in addition to suffering from late blooming coordination, I also suffered from late blooming brain development.  However, there were ways around the brainy stuff, if you had money.

I remember my first trip to a dentists office.  As I sat waiting to have my mouth torn to pieces, I perused the books littering a table in the waiting area.  Instead of picking up a "Highlights" magazine (Goofus & Gallant was my favorite feature), I selected a National Geographic.  I was simply enthralled.  The pictures, the adventures, the animals, the bare boobs ... this was good stuff!  And it came out every month!  If only there was some way to read this without coming to the dentists office twelve times a year.

And then I saw the subscription card stuck in the middle of the magazine.  That's the ticket!  I'll just get my mom to buy a subscription for only ...  48 fucking dollars a year?!

Shit, that was two dollars an issue, and my mom wouldn't even spring a quarter for a crappy Look magazine once in a blue moon.  I was always under the impression that we never had any magazines around the house because my dad couldn't read, but I was proven wrong later on in life.  Be that as it may,  I asked mom if she would spring for the National Geographic subscription.  After all, it had to help me do better in school, right?  Hell, that was as good an argument as any.  But I was met with hoots of derision.  Mom used to hoot a lot.  I always thought that she would make a good Marvel comics villain.  You know, the Fantastic Four vs. The Hoot Owl ...

And so, I went through the rest of my young life, scarred ... forced to read tattered copies of National Geographic in strange medical offices.

You know how when you get to be an adult, and you realize that you can have all of the things you only dreamed about when you were a kid?  Like a Corvette, or a speed boat, or Yvette Mimieux?

Nah, me neither.  But, about a month ago, I received an invitation in the mail from ... THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY ... to join their prestigious family and receive 12 issues of the magazine plus a map of the world for the low, low price of only $12.99 (a 149 dollar value!).  So, of course I dashed off a check and sent it winging away.

This afternoon, I opened my mailbox, and waiting for me were the January and February issues of National Geographic magazine, a map of the world, and a National Geographic Society Membership Card.  Finally, after 50 long years, I had arrived!  And my first thought was ...


Childhood goals aren't all their cracked up to be.


  1. Congratulations on the honor. I hope your first issue had lots of boobs. I always wanted a Simon - the electronic memory game that every kid in the world except me had. But we spent all the extra money on our National Geographic subscription.

  2. I have a Simon in the basement that I can send to you, except you'll have to buy the batteries. Oh, and the red key doesn't work.