When I finished my undergrad about 2 years ago, my dad requested that I sit down and have a breakfast meeting with him. It wasn’t a casual “hey let’s have breakfast,” he actually said “I’m coming to town and would like to have a breakfast meeting with you.” So we met at Perkins, and I overordered so I’d have enough food to last a couple days, and he laid out his scheme for what I should do with my B.A. in English.
Basically, I would move to Bemidji, possibly live with him and mom, and apprentice myself as a Thrivant Financial Services for Lutherans… something (agent?). His plan was that I would do the necessary training and take the necessary tests that would allow me to work for Thrivant Financial. We would share an office, which after ten years, would be my office.
Dont get me wrong, I was flattered, and a little baffled that my dad thought I could work in sales and investments, particularly since investing terrifies me and I hate selling anything. Whatever. I’m sure, having a B.A. himself, he knows that potentially writing short stories is not a valid career option (although he taught English, which is an actual career) Basically, he saw no future for me in the field of English, and wanted to throw me a safety net.
I turned it down because I don’t want to work for a Lutheran company (seeing my atheism as a conflict of interest), investments are as easily understood by me as Arabic, and I wanted to not admit that I couldn’t find my own job before actually graduating.
So I went to Grad school instead, which confused my parents immensely. Why would I educate myself further on something I already know how to do? My mother, when I was in high school, actually hoped I’d become a plumber; That would make me a decent amount of money and I could write on the weekends, was her rationale.
So I’ve been in graduate school for 2 years and my parents have been undermining me the entire time. After year one, when they realized that they couldnt badger me into quitting, and that that would be a waste of money, they settled for disparaging and questioning my hard work. “What are you going to do with this again? Do you really need this? You realize youre going to have to take out a lot of money in loans, dont you?” etc.
Now with graduation once again looming, I find myself tensed and ready for another breakfast meeting. Apparently, now, they (or my father at least) have decided to embrace my decisions. We were driving to Don’s Car Wash yesterday and he suddenly launched into a story about a guy he knew who died recently, and how in life you can make choices, but often its the things that you have no control over that determine how you will live. It was all very philosophical, very passionate, and very much completely out of nowhere. Basically, my next meeting with my father is going to be him telling me all of the stories that he wants me to write because, he actually said this, “you’re the writer, but I’ve got a lot of stories.” I didn’t tell him that I write primarily satire, and I’ll probably end up ridiculing this guy who he admires so much.