Bill’s post (which was Freshly Pressed – congratulations Bill) about wanting to be an Emergency Broadcast Announcer reminded me that when I was a kid I wanted to push grocery store carts professionally. I can’t remember how old I was when I abandoned this idea, but I must have been quite young because by 4th grade I was convinced my destiny was to become a therapist.
Like learning how to use scissors, pushing a grocery cart in a controlled fashion down the aisle, weaving around other shoppers without taking out end-of-aisle displays of salsa and canned pumpkin is a big challenge when you barely weigh more than the cart. My mother had mastered this skill and I wanted to imitate her slow, controlled motions. Stopping, starting, weaving left and right.
Instead of just tagging along like other children, I wanted to be a part of what was going on. Is the 12 or 24 oz. can of tomatoes a better buy? Which cereal matches the coupon? These were adult decisions – choices that affect outcomes. Adult decisions that as a child I observed, but did not have the authority to make myself.
I wanted to be helpful. I wanted to feel like me being there made a difference. Without me there my mother would have to calculate the cost of tomatoes and move the cart out of the way for the elderly lady with a cane. With me there she wouldn’t have to worry about a thing.
Looking back it seems silly. Even though I wanted to be a professional grocery store cart navigator I knew the job didn’t exist. But when I examine what I wanted out of a career, it doesn’t seem that different from want I want today.