Skip navigation

 

When I was seven or eight, I wanted to grow up to be an archeologist. At the time, my family and I lived in England, next to an Air Force base, and I had developed an interest in history at the British elementary I attended — I was particularly fond of knights and the 1066 Battle of Hastings. There was a compounding factor, however. My family had just rented “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and according to that film, Archeologists primarily ran through ancient tombs, fought Nazis, and saw all types of adventure. Basically, Indiana Jones gave me the impression that really cool people studied history, got advanced degrees, and taught in college classrooms — all that and fighting evil. To me, back then, there was no other career possible.


My parents, for their own amusement, played along. When I asked for a leather coat, they gave me my older brother’s hand-me-down bomber jacket, complete with a fake-fur trim. I asked for a hat, just like Dr. Jones’, and they dug a beaten up, gray fedora out of the closet. They drew the line at the bullwhip, however — no matter how much I pleaded or reminded them of the scene with all the snakes in the Egyptian tomb. Eventually, I found some moldy old rope in the garage, and that seemed to do. I saved up my allowance and bought a squirt gun, but I had no holster, so I shoved it into my beltline, and the water always leaked into my underwear.


Still, I was ready, prepared to commit acts of “Archeology,” and that meant fist fighting imaginary fascists. More often then not, near a compost heap at the back of the yard. It often doubled as a volcano, or a burial mound, and there, I conducted “digs,” finding remarkable things like the plate my sister accidentally broke and hid the week earlier. Eventually, that got boring, so I moved my “digs” to the backyard, proper, and my parents didn’t seem remotely concerned that I was putting holes in the lawn. My mom did mind the grass stains on my jeans, however, and she was little consoled that I was doing it in the name of history and freedom.


Eventually, my family left England, as my father took a job on a Naval Air Station in Bermuda. The archeological itch came with me. And my father, not yet alarmed that this “phase” had lasted so long, dubbed me “Bermudiana Jones.” In the base library, I read up on ninjas, samurais, and Egyptian mummies, which expanded my list of potential enemies and allies.
Behind my house, I pulled down length of vines from the trees, and used that for a whip. Plus, deeper into the woods, there was a big, white, downward sloping rain-catch that provided much adventure, but one place remained a favorite. There was also an abandoned old single room dwelling hewn into limestone. This always doubled as a tomb.Still, the phase didn’t last. Watching Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters,” swayed me a little. I stopped crinkling up tinfoil, burying it, digging it back up, and calling it an “artifact.” This time, I was running around the dense, but tiny, patches of forest near my house, chasing “Ectoplasmic Beings.” Still, the Ghostbusters were all college professors, too. That just further reinforced my desire to be a college instructor.


Eventually, I gave up play make-believe, picked up a skateboard, and made some friends. Decades later, I never pursued a PhD, but I did earn a terminal degree, a Masters of Fine Arts in poetry, and I have reached one of my childhood goals. I am a college instructor, but I’m not fighting fascists or running through Incan tombs or capturing spirits with a fly swatter. I’m grading a mountain of papers, teaching introductory research and basic composition, and worst of all, I don’t have a full time job. Last semester, I adjuncted at three different schools, barely keeping on top of my bills and the mortgage. This semester, I’m at two community colleges, and I work in a tutoring center. My wife and I are barely scraping by. Sometimes, when I remind my mother of “Bermudiana Jones,” she quips, “Why didn’t Harrison Ford play a tax attorney?”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: