Trial Balloon

Art and Artifice

Posted at 6:00 AM on January 25, 2010 by Dale Connelly (39 Comments)
Filed under: Bubby Spamden

Radio Heartland has tickets to see Shawn Colvin at the Dakota this Wednesday, January 27th at 7pm.

Enter the drawing.
Obey the rules.
Good Luck!

A note came in early this morning from an old friend.

Hi Mr. C.,

I spent the whole day stretched on the couch yesterday, relaxing and watching football. It was awful.

And now I can't sleep! I kept playing the games over and over in my mind, especially that last one with the Vikings where it looked like they could win it and then they didn't.

That Brett Farve sure is cool with the gray beard stubble and the "aw, shucks" and all, but I notice that people love him when things are going OK and then a dumb mistake here and a fumble there and all the good stuff he's done gets erased and he's a goat.

Not that I have anything against goats. I know you're connected. But when a person gets called a goat, that's usually not a good thing. Especially an adult who seems to have everything going for him, otherwise. And that's what's keeping me awake, 'cause I make mental mistakes too! Not all the time, but every now and then. Well, once a day at least. Sometimes more.

As far as fumbling goes, I won't tell you the whole story about the cafeteria tray and the little spot of applesauce that someone left on the floor last Tuesday (which was Taco Day - my favorite), but what happened was loud and colorful and if there's any bright side at all to the Vikings losing yesterday, it's that people might focus on that today and finally stop talking about me with Mexican Cheese Medley on my face.

I was thinking that after I got out of school I would like to do some kind of work where I would still be doing my job even when I goof up. So far I've crossed politics, football, golf and acting off my list. And a lot of the ideas I got from your blog people last time also wouldn't work for somebody who isn't very perfect. Teachers, writers, psychologists and repairmen all get hammered for their mistakes, right?

So that's why Brett Farve got me thinking about my life.

He's not a Football Player, he's a Performance Artist.

He got everybody talking and kept them talking all through the fall and winter and now they're REALLY talking and some of them are FEELING things they haven't felt for years and years, and though it's kinda negative, the suffering people of the Monday After at least know that they're alive. And sports fan suffering isn't nearly as bad as real suffering anyway, so I figure it's OK.

So even when things go wrong Brett Farve is doing his job, as long as his job is Secret Performance Artist. Someday he's going to show up someplace in Uptown Minneapolis all barefoot with a beret and a cigarette and he'll announce that the whole thing has been an elaborate put-on to get people to examine their souls. Then Brett and his artist friends will toast each other with wine and eat some exotic French cheeses (or Mexican Cheese Medley!) and walk off, laughing through their noses! Cool!

So that's what I want to be, but I can't tell anybody. Just thought you'd want to know I'm going to be an S.P.A.! That's what I'll put on my college applications, if I ever get to write any. And if anyone asks, I'll say it stands for Sertified Public Accountant, but we'll know the truth. Secret Performance Artist!

I wrote Bubby to thank him for walking us through his post-game rationalizing, and I congratulated him on choosing a career. But I think he still needs to study spelling.
I was once resolved to be a Physical Therapist, but conditions changed.

Any interesting career paths chosen and then changed?

Comments (39)

Ah, Bubby being an S.P.A is sort of the human condition.

Donna: we saw some highlights of “Toy Story III.” Buzz Lightyear turns into Carlos!! He is an insidious scoundrel, has a finger in every pie, that paramour of yours.

Posted by Clyde Sans Beret in Terre Bleu | January 25, 2010 6:20 AM

wanted to study music but chose to do what Mom wanted me to do. (had no desire or inclination in that area, but Mom did :-) then some years later i knew i needed to change professions and while i was thinking of things thought "marine biology! perfect!" ha, ha! that was in the 70s and Jacques Cousteau was very much my influence. but when i found out Marine biology had to be studied where they had, um, oceans (duh) and how much that would cost me i cooled my jets. so went to the U because i could afford it, found something i like to do and did it for 30 plus years.
it sounds like we have lots of teachers on this blog - i know a good number of people who studied education, taught for a very short time and opted out.
should be a fun discussion today
good morning, All!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 25, 2010 6:20 AM

When I headed off to college, I wanted to be a translator for the U.N. Not sure exactly why that derailed. Spent several years in bakeries and while I loved decorating, I didn't love the bakery business overall. Years in retail and retail management. Eventually got to where I knew I needed to make a change. So literally took a piece of paper and wrote down what I really liked and disliked in my job. That led me directly to where I have been for ... dare I say it... more than two decades... incentive travel. It's been quite a journey!

Can't wait to hear everyone's stories - I bet it's going to be amazing!

Posted by sherrilee | January 25, 2010 6:30 AM

My son's first grade career goal was to be retired! Given his slow pace thru college he may graduate and retire simultaneously.

Posted by Beth-Annb | January 25, 2010 6:38 AM

i'm sorry, but i DO have to say something about that "hero or goat" thing. how about "hero or human?" as far as i know, my goats don't make mistakes. and anyway football, to a goat, probably looks like a very dumb activity. why would one who has a fun toy like a football want to throw it to someone else or kick it away? i can just hear it. Dodger says "look at that - he had the ball and he gave it to someone else!" and Dream says "what a human!"

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 25, 2010 6:44 AM

Good Morning All,

I ended up in agriculture, but I don't think it really amounted to a career. I did do a lot of substitute teaching, but that was a part time job. Some things I did in agriculture were interesting but didn't lead to any kind of a career.

Some how I made it to retirement, so career hunting is behind me. Thank goodness for that. If I had it to do over again I might choose something like special education teacher which is always needed. However, I don't discourage any one from going for any kind of career or life work even if employment might be hard to find.

Posted by Jim | January 25, 2010 6:45 AM

Morning all,
I'm waiting until it gets a bit lighter out before beginning my crazy commute, which gives me a chance to jump in again. I was going to be an astronomer ... after a couple of college major changes, I ended up a degree in Italian (Sherilee, I was going to translate books), a degree that has come in handy at restaurants. Got me into law school, though, for better or worse - a degree I never expected to pursue when I was an undergrad.
And yes, Tim, to follow up on last Friday's story, I had a few memorable fencing trips in younger days but that one tops the list.

Posted by Connie in LP | January 25, 2010 7:07 AM

I haven't had careers as such...shifting jobs and locations. Tried teaching a two or more times and when I finally decided I liked it, my college had purged my records and jobs in the area were scarce and insecure.

I took many different kinds of jobs that taught new skills and paid the bills. Once wanted to be an artist in Paris...then started raising goats and horses, painted pictures of them when I wasn't feeding took jobs that paid the feed bills.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 25, 2010 7:20 AM

barb i think the goats may have something there. the game is a little task based isn't it? why is that fun? get big giant guys to jump on little fast guys and then get upset when they jump on the ones you don't want them to jump on...should've guessed.
connie, a sword carrying italian speaking blogger who backed into law. you amy work out ... i thought about law and then realized it was based on creating or battleing unhappiness and decided to go into art music and seloling stuff. my selling has accomadated my love of the art and music.

Posted by tim | January 25, 2010 7:33 AM

Well, my Dad thought my career path was interesting. He did it for 35 years. I've done it for almost 15 years now...and I really can't say I've enjoyed it even though it's provided, and is providing, me with a decent living. Or maybe I should say 'a decent way of paying bills.' The two are distinctly different.

Posted by That Guy in the Hat | January 25, 2010 7:36 AM

Good Morning, I was thinking about Neil Young's song "Long May You Run". I know it is written about an automoble but alot of football fans in upper midwest are hoping a certain quarterback will come back to his job next year.

Posted by Steven in Moorhead | January 25, 2010 7:36 AM

Like Sherilee, I had visions of a U.N. career, or a career in some sort of foreign service, diplomacy, etc. It seemed a good fit after 3 years of Russian language in high school. When I got to college, reality set in on just how far I had to go before I was fluent - that and the politics of the time being what they were (it was the Reagan years), I was pretty sure I didn't like what I might be asked to do by my government. So I majored in theater and anthropology instead. And now I work on web sites. If there is a path there, I seem to have strayed off it a few times...

Happy Monday all.

Posted by Anna | January 25, 2010 7:38 AM

Started life as a pre-med and did a year of an anatomy Ph.D. before the research politics and stressed out rats drove me out.

Got an MFA in design and have been working in costuming ever since, although have never really been a "theatre person", that, the politics and stressed out hands, shoulders, etc. are convincing me to move on.

If I told it right, it could sound like a glamor-career, but really, I'm with Cynthia and just want to pay the feed bills (although with considerably less livestock at this time-I think I would rather work with goats than people-they know who they are and don't get tied in knots about their careers-they just know).

Posted by catherine | January 25, 2010 7:43 AM

I began college as a music performance major. Eventually I switched to French and became certified to teach. Then, I made another switch to teaching Cisco internetworking, which is how I got into my current field, network engineering and design.

Interesting reading here in the blog comments this morning. Can't find my headphones this morning. Grr! It's Monday!

Happy Monday, all.

Posted by elinor | January 25, 2010 7:48 AM

you are so right, Catherine. hope you get your herd again sometime soon.
Cynthia knows also - i came to knowing much later. but actually TGITH is right. paying the bills and living are two different things. i helped pay the bills for 30 some years and now i'm living! and very lucky
it's cold and dark and Dream still thinks its breeding season - pretty feisty this morning. i love it

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 25, 2010 7:54 AM

oh, don't get me started!!!

i went through a number of majors in college: French, political science, history, and finally journalism...but was told at the newspaper i didn't have the right "killer instinct" to make it as a reporter--sigh (these were the days of woodward and berstein).

backed into being an editor when i discovered people would pay me for reading and fixing up other people's writing....did that at museums, magazines, various nonprofits....

then left it all in August, hoping to get into something new to pay the bills: working with animals? working with kids? for now, freelancing while looking. any ideas for my next career, gang? i'm open!

(and yeah, like many others here, tired of dealing with office politics and stressed-out rats!)

Posted by Kay H in Utah | January 25, 2010 7:58 AM

Our storm was profoundly disappointing this weekend. We were promised inches and inches of snow, and only received a paltry 5 inches with ice. I wonder if meteorologists question their vocational choice when they let so many down on a regular basis. I was so hoping for a snow day!

Posted by renee | January 25, 2010 8:02 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone!
Stephen in Moorhead - Neil Young is coming up!

Posted by Dale Connelly | January 25, 2010 8:09 AM

mmmm, melancholy bird songs:
gordon lightfoot's The Way I Feel (is like a robin)?
White Bird (by it's a beautiful day)?

Posted by Kay H in Utah | January 25, 2010 8:10 AM

where the hell is Donna???

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 25, 2010 8:19 AM

yeah, really, barb! here i get up all early and watch the sunrise and no donna!

Posted by Kay H in Utah | January 25, 2010 8:24 AM

Greetings! I've stumbled through a few changes in my life. Got the BA in Theatre but never acted. Went back to tech school for Word Processing/Secretarial and did that well but without heart.

Then I trained in therapeutic bodywork and dabble doing that while working retail. We're all Performance Artists strutting and fretting our time on the stage of life. Still not sure where it's all going for me. Maybe karate instructor next ...

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 25, 2010 8:38 AM

Been sitting here at the office trying to sleep, which I could not do at home. So been drifting in and out trying to think of more than one of my students who had a career path chosen in Jr. High and took it all the way through. I have tracked the lives of a few hundred, but right now can only think one one, my daughter, who did that.
I backed into education, the choice of teaching English and speech was very odd, but quite frankly I did go into it with passion/commitment. I lived that commitment for 25 years until I got burned out with correcting papers and fighting the lack of passion, lack of vision, lack of caring, and hatred for anyone who tries anything besides drill-and-kill-sitem-in-rows-and-talk method. (I once got in trouble with my principal because the janitors were upset that my desks were not in rows and thus easy to sweep. I offered to clean it myself, since I pretty much was any way.) I even coached football for a bit; please forgive me for that.
I wrote all of my own materials since the texts you buy apply very little of what we really know through such unknown things as RESEARCH about how to teach most of the language skills and elements. [I told you to be glad I was out of it on the day language game up last week.] Then I got a chance to try to apply what I knew to writing, publishing, training. “Those who can do; those who can’t teach; and those who can’t teach teach teachers how to teach.”
In the middle of that I drifted into Lutheran Lay pastorage for 11 years, which is maybe where I should have been all along.

My daughter says it is white out over by Redwood Falls.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 8:45 AM

I don't know how to explain this to anyone who is new to this blog, but it seems Donna has an adrimer named Carlos who is always about to sweep her off her feet. Perhaps Carlos finally made his move and Donna ran off with him.

Posted by Jim | January 25, 2010 8:55 AM

Phone home, Donna.

Upate to all who gave me recommendations for music purchases: I bought a three CD set with about 65 songs on it from Redhouse. Each CD covers about 8 years. Silver Anniversary set. Very fun to have the mix on one CD. Not the artitis' big hits, but that is fun too, to hear what I have missed hearing over the many years of listening to this program in the three forms in which I have known it.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 9:05 AM

Clyde...I also got into trouble for moving desks into the "wrong" patterns...not from the principal, who was totally open...after all the best teacher (my mentor) in the building down the hall did the same thing. But, the janitor, of course. He was pretty good natured about it all, however.

It was a great first year teaching experience, but I still left it and the gray skies of Port Angeles, WA for Europe.

Next teaching gig was in Leadville Co with a miserable principal who did even so tolerate the moving desks.and experimental teaching. Lasted two years there...ah, the wanderings of youth.

Best of the Monday to y'all!

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 25, 2010 9:32 AM

Cynthia—I had a very open and supportive principal for most of my years, but for two years in the middle I had the opposite. His wife told my wife a story one night at the library where my wife worked. It seems all three of their very successful very well educated children were home. At the dinner table he asked them who was the best teacher they had each had in all those years of education. They all named me. His wife said it was delightful to watch his face.

Good thing you left Port Angeles; it’s full of my relatives.

Two comments about movies:
1) For all you Ireland fans-- we went to see “Leap Year” yesterday, pure chick flick remake of “It Happened One Night,” which Amy Adams carries very well. But the real star is the Irish countryside in the background, and sometimes the foreground.
2) In the movie “Teachers” there’s a social studies teacher they all call “Mr. Ditto” because he has his kids drilled. When the bell rings, the last student in each row goes to his desk and gets the dittos and passes them up. The kids beaver away on the dittos to get them done before the end of class while he sits in back reading the newspaper. One day he dies behind his newspaper, still holding it up. Nobody knows he died until the end of the day. Every year he wins the district award for discipline because his classroom is so silent.

Okay, a related story and then I will stop telling teacher stories. I student taught at a junior high in south Mpls. There were 9 social studies teachers, 8 of whom used the same routine. Dittos on Mon and Wed, and movies on Tues and Thurs, tests on Fridays. They would meet on Thursdays to talk about movies they could use and share (in the men’s faculty room; believe it or not the faculty rooms were separated by sexes then.) One day a history teacher was telling them about this great movie about fishing in N. MN. They should all use. One of the civics teachers was a little reluctant to use it because he was not sure what it had to do with civics. So the others gave him justifications for using it. At that point the music teacher asked snidely, “Does it have any background music in it.” They did not catch his tone of voice and started telling him about the background music. At which point I laughed; so then they got his point. They banned me from the faculty room for the rest of my time there.

I guess I woke up and will now go to work.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 9:57 AM

Clyde... my father could have been one of your junior high students who picked his career and kept on that path. My dad decided when he was in grade school that he wanted to be a lawyer. My grandmother always said this was true, although I never figured out if there was an "aha" moment for him. He struggled through school (didn't like to be told what to do), struggled through college and graduated the bottom 10% of his law school class. Then went on to become one of the hottest condemnation lawyers ever in the state of Missouri. So, there are a few "stay on the path" types out there... just not on this blog apparently!

Posted by sherrilee | January 25, 2010 10:26 AM

sherrilee--failure in school is a very good predicting of failure in adult life. Success in school is not a very good predictor of success in adult life, as per your father.

Posted by Clyde Again Mankato | January 25, 2010 10:39 AM

Hear, hear, Clyde.

I was extremely successful in school, but have yet to make the conversion in real life.

Don't think of myself as a failure, just not "working up to potential".

Constant disappointment to my mother. You are led to think you have a doctor and end up with a knitter.

Posted by catherine | January 25, 2010 10:44 AM

catherine--saying that success is school does not predict success in adult life is that it measures success in adult life by the same standards generally as we measure success in school and generally in our culture. Who says that knitting is failure? Who says being a dr. is success? Like all old people I regret I did not take more risks, knit more, work less, etc etc etc
I love Bubby because I taught many of them. One of my Bubby's is now a major researcher in cancer. He used to pump gas. I had not a clue how brillaint he was.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 10:58 AM

Good point Clyde about whose vision of success we use. Like Catherine, I was a pistol in school and based on our society's vision of "success", my service industry job isn't quite up there. But I have a great kid, big ole house, good puppies & kitty, fab friends, fun hobbies and great blogging community. The heck w/ what society thinks!

Of course, I do wish I could knit! And I haven't milked a goat yet in my life either!

Posted by sherrilee | January 25, 2010 11:10 AM

Thanks Clyde, couldn't agree more.

The father of the son and heir was told by a high school math teacher he was wasting his life and would never amount to anything (or some such thing)-as I recall, that teacher was one of the first people he went to see when he got his Fulbright.

Spelling is also not his strong suit, but as he put it, if you are smart enough to get a Fulbright, you are smart enough to hire a proofreader.

Myself, I've opted out of chasing "success" to put in more time in momhood. I pay the feed bills and try to remember how much I resented being nagged when I start nagging-uphill battle that one.

Posted by catherine | January 25, 2010 11:11 AM

Clyde...maybe I taught some of your relatives! Good kids, most of them, but then second graders are the best...I think. Though I do like four year olds and fifth graders, too.

I taught at Monroe -- a little school east of town. Richard Timm, principal par excellence.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | January 25, 2010 12:19 PM

I was one of those who know from junior high on what I wanted to do/be. Interior Design all the way! Got my degree and then moved to a state where there was NO demand for interior designers.

Eleven years later moved to MN., joyfully became a kitchen designer and then had horrible experiences working for remodelers and contractors with no business sense and no integrity. Have now decided that I can't make a living doing what I love and am good at, so will have to move on to something else. At a crossroads and not happy about it.

My mother always told me I should know how to type, but that was the LAST thing I wanted to do---be a secretary. Guess what jobs I'm looking at now? Argh.

Posted by A. Lee in Mpls. | January 25, 2010 12:37 PM

A. Lee
1 Never never never prove your mother right. Never.
2. How can you spin what you know and can do? What skills can you transport? How can you do it independently? Who do you know in the industry who will give you good ideas and listen/respond wihtout narrow vision and trying to solve your problem? "But What Color Is Your Rainbow"

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 12:53 PM

A. Lee--that is BUY
"What Color Is Your Parachute"

Sorry. Good book for you or go to your library. Usually there.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 25, 2010 1:42 PM

I'm 57, and still haven't quite figured out my career path. I have been in the same field for 32 years.

I landed in it by accident. I went into the office of a large local company and pretty much said "What have you got?" It's been good to me financially and fairly fulfilling at times, but It feels lke I have seen it all, and I don't need to see it again.

It's hard to imagine doing anything else at this point, but not sure I can stick it out to retirement. I need a change, but what?

Bubby should probably not look to me for career advice.

Posted by Johnny | January 25, 2010 5:17 PM

Have the book already, thanks! Will re-read it now.
I need a job to pay the bills (single mom), and don't have the time or money to take the test I need to become certified so I can go out on my own. (CKD) Even then, in these econonmic times doing a "start-up" would take time to develope to the point I could be self-sustaining. No reason not to consider it, and maybe still start out in a limited way, but still... I really thank you for your comments.

Still practicing my typing tests online, and hoping not to prove my mother right.

Posted by A. Lee in Mpls. | January 27, 2010 11:15 AM

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