If I was a rock star I would’ve started the band because I thought it’d be fun. Also, it was a way to meet girls, or at least that is how my friends and I would’ve imagined it as we sat around with our guitars trying to figure out chords in my parents’ living room. In time there would be gigs. College parties, the occasional music festival. We would want to play our own songs, but the audience wouldn’t care. They were there for a good time and we were unknowns then. So we learned the classics and I would attempt to mimic other singers at every show. Then one day, while opening for a much better band, I would try out a new song. It would be a cynical piece but people would latch on to it as a love song. Before we knew it, we’d have a record contract and to our shock the song would jump up the charts. While the attention and money is nice I would become frustrated by all of it. Everyone (everyone!) wants us to do a song similar to the hit, but that just doesn’t interest me. That song was a fluke, it isn’t me! I would want to try new things, experiment, break ground in my music. It’d be probably at this point that some of my friends would begin to quit the band. But the rest of us would go on, because it had gone from fun to important to a job. Just a job. And later on, sometime during the middle of some random set at a casino, I’d look out over the audience (noticing again that the size is dwindling) and wonder when did this change? When? This was supposed to be fun, right? Fine, I’ll play that song again. Fine.
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If I was a painter no one would like me. I would never be happy, never be satisfied; for as hard as I would work and as hard as I would struggle my art would never match what I would see in my imagination. It would always, always be better in my mind. That frustration would seep into my life, my relationships. I would go days without shaving. I would go days without bathing. Yes, people would praise my paintings and I would begrudgingly smile, but all the while I would judge them for their opinion. They don’t see what I see, they could never. And I would lose hours staring at a blank canvas, thinking about how I was about to ruin it. I would be very lonely.
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If I was an accountant I would find peace in numbers. I would lose days feeling satisfied by the idea of things fitting into place. The power of addition. I’d dream soundly and peacefully every night and never doubt that things fit as they exactly were supposed to; for I would see the world, people, and meaning in mathematics. Then on a drive to the office, probably in my thirties, I would get stuck behind a slow train. As I drummed my fingers along my steering wheel impatiently, I would become suddenly transfixed by the reflection of the rising sun’s rays off of the metal of the passing train. Colors would come and go. Come and go. I would find it beautiful and start to cry, but I would have no idea why.
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If I was a zookeeper on my last day of work I would set all of the animals free… and then I would go home and watch the news.
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