When I was in middle school, when any adult would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would spout off this highly specific field I thought sounded really successful and important.
“I plan to be a cardiovascular surgeon specializing in blood and veins.” Or, “I plan to be an international affairs attorney with an emphasis in Mandarin and the maritime law of Kazakhstan.”
Sure, none of that really made any sense, but it sounded fancy AND smart! I remember my mom just beaming when these chosen professions would roll off of my tongue. In retrospect, perhaps she was just smirking at how ridiculous I sounded.
Too bad I didn’t realize this before I put one of these high-falutin’ gigs on an info sheet for a pageant I was in at the time. As I not-so-gracefully sauntered across the stage, the announcer read off my hobbies and whichever one of these “impressive” paths I had decided on that week, along with my favorite song, which was probably something by The Pixies or the The Black Crowes or Jane’s Addiction at the time — or some other such band the small-,town judges could use to profile me as being a “dope head” since I listened to “devil music” and not Amy Grant.
They weren’t going to box me in. No sir! You see, this aerospace engineer focusing on Martian dynamic thermal spacecraft technologies also had good taste in music. I was smart AND cool! At least that’s what I wanted everyone to think. What middle school-er doesn’t? I guess this was the ‘90s, low-tech version of curating your Instagram page.
Anyway, obviously, my career in ophthalmologic neurosurgery specializing in corneas and medulla oblongatas didn’t really pan out. But, hey, at least I was reaching for the stars.
Maybe that’s why I find the answers I get back from both of my children when I ask them what they want to be when they grow up a bit troubling.
I have a boy and a girl. The boy is 9 and the girl is 7, and they could not possibly be more different human beings with polar-opposite interests and personalities. Sometimes I wonder how it’s even genetically possible for my husband and I to produce such different children. (Maybe if I had become a human molecular geneticist specializing in molecules and genes and DNA stuff I would have been able to answer this!)
They are as different as different can be, yet they both want to be YouTube stars. Not even when they grow up. Now would also be fine.
The most puzzling thing about this to me is neither of them really seems to care what they do on YouTube, as long as they get a lot of views and become a star. I’m sure a lot of professionals in the porn industry have this same philosophy.
My son likes watching videos of other kids skateboarding or playing Minecraft and/or Fortnite. And my daughter’s jam is watching other kids opening toys and playing with them. How they find any of this remotely interesting is beyond me! It’s certainly no “Saved by the Bell,” which is what I would have binge-watched at their age, if that had been possible back then. #teamjessespano
They each have produced their own versions of these videos with their iPads. My little Fellinis, or sadly, more like, my little JoJo Siwas and DanTDMs. (Insert sad face emoji.) I guess I should be proud, though. They are already shooting shorts! I still have to remember which way to hold the iPhone when I am videoing something. It’s horizontal, right? No, vertical. Whatever.
But hearing my daughter end her pretend YouTube presentation of the “Toys I caught at Mardi Gras” video with “Soooo, guys, if you liked this give us a thumbs up and a comment! See you next time!” is just sort of crazy (and strangely impressive) to me. Are we creating an entire generation of QVC hosts?
Although, at this point in her career, I do question her veracity as a reviewer, as I did not hear her describe any of the stuffed animals she caught at Mardi Gras as, “It’s what looks to be a filthy, crusty bear that reeks of urine and is covered in what we hope is mud. He will most certainly test positive for both gonorrhea and syphilis. Machine washing and antibiotics are highly recommended. Give us a thumbs up! And tell us what you think the brown stains are in the comments.”
No, she is way more positive. “Look how cute he is!”
The videos my son hopes will make him a star on the ‘Tube do require a little more skill than just opening toys and talking about them. He likes making skateboarding videos. And I encourage him to set himself apart by being the world’s only skateboarding YouTuber not to sound like a stoned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. This can be done by simply avoiding the following words: dude, gnarly, awesome and sick. You have to find your niche, son!
He wouldn’t mind making videos of himself playing video games either, although that market seems to be cornered at this point. Maybe he can make videos of himself talking about other people making videos of themselves playing video games! I am sure there is a market there!
These YouTube stars did all rake in millions and millions of dollars last year (yes, we should all weep for humanity), so maybe I should be excited my children both want to be “internet-based reality sketch hosts specializing in mass media marketing and extreme sport exhibitions.”
That sounds fancy and cool, right?
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