Thursday, August 26, 2010

When My Kid Grows Up...

My incredibly supportive parents have always insisted that they would stand behind any career choice as long as it made me happy.  A lot of parents claim to have this policy, but let’s face it... parents have their preferences.  And they usually can’t resist trying to steer their child in a certain direction at some point.

My mom is perhaps the only parent in history who has remained entirely neutral.  If I had told her that my lifelong dream was to become a cocktail waitress, she would've smiled, clasped her hands together, and said, “That’s wonderful!”  Then she would've immediately run out to get me a custom t-shirt that said, “World’s #1 Cocktail Waitress.”

My dad, on the other hand, secretly dreamed that I would be a female golf prodigy.  Golf was – and still is – his passion in life, and he wanted me to have the early start that he never did.  So when I was in elementary school, he started dropping subtle hints.  “Think about the college scholarships and the business networking opportunities!” he’d say.  He was convinced that my hands were ideally shaped and that I would be a natural.  He would often suggest that I join him on the golf course, and in response, I would roll my eyes and say, “Ugh, Dad!   Golf is for old people!”  (Years later, when I saw the college-age players on the LPGA tour with their million dollar endorsements and modeling contracts, I kind of wished I had listened.)

Although I had no desire to play golf, I was interested in playing pool.  Pool was another one of my dad’s hobbies, so he was happy to oblige.  I was the only eight-year-old I knew who had her own pool cue.  I looked very intimidating with the fancy carrying case slung over my shoulder.  Lessons with my dad were supplemented by instructional videos.  My personal favorites included Ewa: Pool’s Leading Lady and Amazing Trick Shots with Steve Mizerak.  I once tried to convince my friend to lie down on the pool table and hold a piece of pool chalk in her mouth with the eight-ball balanced on top, so that I could use the cue ball to shoot it off and into the pocket.  It’s probably a good thing she refused.  My pool skills peaked around age eleven.  I was never great, but I was able to hustle some of the older boys in the neighborhood.  Not for money.  I just robbed them of their pride.  Then I bragged about it in my diary.  I would harshly criticize their pool technique while dotting the i’s in their names with little hearts.

Eventually, my dad got over the fact that I would never turn professional.  And even though it's too late for me to be a golf prodigy, I may still let him teach me to play at some point.  Like, maybe when I’m old.

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