There’s an old joke that goes along these lines: The parents of a young child were curious to see what he would be when he grew up. So they put him alone in a room with a Bible, an apple and a silver dollar. Depending on which one he chose, he could be a priest, a farmer or a banker.
After a brief wait, they walk back into the room to discover him sitting on the Bible, eating the apple and pocketing the silver dollar. He went on to have a successful career in politics.
As my senior year draws nearer, I’m bombarded with questions about my life plans. Every week I’m asked, “Where are you going to college?” “What will you major in?” “Where will you live after graduation?” “Will you get married? Have kids? What will be their middle names? Where will they go to college?”
I haven’t the vaguest clue in all of God’s green Earth. I tell them this, despite this being the same answer from the previous week, and the one before that. I can’t wear college sweatshirts anymore, as people interpret it as a declaration.
So I’ve decided to end the suspense and figure out my career right now, to stop the interrogation. I could use a logical thought process and seasoned reasoning of my aptitudes and weaknesses in order to choose a career, but where’s the fun in that?
Using the same strategy as the parents in the previously mentioned joke, I’m putting my trust in another seemingly simplistic indicator: board games. Judging from my past experiences with each game, I’ll be able to decipher just what occupation lies ahead for me. I’m looking to the past to figure out my future.
I can safely declare that construction is out, and I do this for others’ safety. I could never construct the elaborate contraption in Mousetrap, and could never pull a Jenga block without the tower tumbling down. I’ve never heard of a business hiring a contractor who couldn’t build a stable structure or even demolish the monstrosity he just created.
Being a detective is off the table, too. Want the evidence? It’s Professor Joe, in the game room, with the lowest score. Clue aptly showed me what a Sherlock sham I am. I’m from the “CSI” generation, so I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t just test the revolver or candlestick for DNA and wrap the game up in five minutes. The whole “deductive reasoning” thing didn’t make sense to me in a post-Horatio Caine world. And I still can’t find Carmen Sandiego.
Business is a definite no. That’s not because I’d be bad at it. No, it’s far worse. It’s because my brother Tommy, as demonstrated by his Monopoly skills, is the capitalist Adam Smith could only dream about. In each game he collects enough paper money to send a shiver down every tree’s spine (or trunk).
Over the years his callous talents have earned him the following monikers from my family: Scrooge, Mr. Potter and “a cruel hybrid of Bernie Madoff and Milton Bradley.” He’s now majoring in business at Gonzaga, which leaves me fearful of entering that field – at least in the West. I still might give economics a shot in North Korea, where I’m guaranteed to be the best capitalist.
A military career doesn’t hold a lot of promise. As Stratego demonstrated, a pacifist Quaker would make a better strategist than me. I’m pretty sure I’m the only player in Risk to lose pieces to friendly fire.
However, I win more often in Battleship, so maybe the Navy will take me. I’m sure America will sleep soundly knowing that Liam Neeson and I are randomly firing missiles into the ocean until we hit something. Take that, terrorists!
Despite my bleak prospects in these fields, I can still find solace in the game of Life. It guarantees that one can choose to be an artist, yet still make $90,000 a year, drive an SUV and live in a Victorian mansion. So why worry? Life, or Life, will take care of itself.Joe Joyce of Tacoma, one of six reader columnists whose work appears in this space, will be a senior at Bellarmine Preparatory. Email him at joeA.firstname.lastname@example.org.