Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 5

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Links to everyone's blog will be included at the end. 

My Secret Subject prompt is: What are your 5 dream jobs, if you could get any job you wanted? It was submitted by:


One of my favorite novels (and films) is High Fidelity. There’s something about the bitter mediocrity of a record store owner that really makes a girl’s heart swell with desire. Or something like that. Maybe it’s just Rob Gordon’s vulnerability, his weirdness, his obsession with lists and music that really hits the spot for me. And maybe, just maybe, I’ve spent entirely too much time fixating on a figment of someone else’s imagination to the point no real man will ever hold up to his image.

The story is transformative. Rob Gordon starts out completely unhappy with himself--a miserable shell of a man with no real dreams, no goals, no mobility, and a lot of vices and issues. He has lost his live-in girlfriend through most of the film and takes a journey through his history of break-ups. It’s not really about the break-ups though. It’s about himself and not really knowing who he is. Taking that journey teaches him a lot about who he is and who he wants to be. There’s a moment, whether you’ve seen it or read it, where his ex, Laura, is getting some things from their flat and finds a list he’s made of dream jobs. Here’s the scene:

Laura: “Top 5 dream jobs.”

Rob: “Hey—that's private!”

Laura: “Number 1: Journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, 1976 to 1979. Get to meet The Clash, Chrissy Hines, Sex Pistols, David Byrne. Get tons of free records. Number 2: Producer at Atlantic Records, 1964 to 1971. Get to meet Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Birk. More free records and a shitload of money. Number 3: Any kind of musician.”

Rob: “Besides classical or rap.”

Laura: “Settle for being one of the Memphis Horns or something. Not asking to be Jagger or Hendrix or Otis Redding. Number 4: Film director.”

Rob: “Any kind except German or silent.”

Laura: “And Number 5 ... we have architect.”

Rob: “Yeah.”

Laura: “Seven years' training.”

Rob: “I'm not sure I even want to be an architect.”

Laura: “So you got a list here of five things you'd do if qualification and time and history and salary were no object ... one of them you don't really want to do anyway.”

Rob: “Well, I did put it at Number 5.”

Laura: “Wouldn't you rather own your own record store than be an architect?”

Rob: “Yeah.”

Laura: “And you wouldn't want to be a 16th-century explorer or the king of France or—”

Rob: “God, no.”

Laura: “All right, there you go then. Dream job Number 5: record store owner.”

This is one of the biggest moments of Rob’s transformation. In this list, he’s chosen some arbitrary career that really means nothing to him and with one little question Laura makes him realize that perhaps he’s doing what he wants in life, that maybe things aren’t as bad as he makes out in his own mind. You can see it on Cusack’s face in the film, but in the novel, there’s just this sense that this moment is a breakthrough for him. His change throughout the film/novel hinges on this conversation.

I’m not at that point in my life where I needed to answer this question and come to some sudden revelation about what I’m doing with my life. I’m doing exactly what I want to do right now, this year. Maybe that will change, but I still find the question fascinating in the way Rob answered it… history, education, and time traveling constraints be damned. Given those conditions, here are my answers in no particular order…

1. Novelist, present day. I think right now is a fantastic time to write. We’re living in the most socially forward time in our history. Sure we have a long way to go, but we’ve also come pretty far since this country began, so I think it would be awesome to write now rather than any other time in history. I could write about much more as a woman without getting completely overlooked, but there’s also still room to create controversy. It’s the perfect time for it.

2. Music Journalist, mid-60s through early 70s (at least), maybe Rolling Stone but the mag doesn’t matter as much as the job. These years were instrumental in the evolution of music. Rock changed in the 60s to something grungier and darker. Punk and hip hop began as answers to the culture of the times. There’s no other time period so important to the foundation of various music styles. Plus, so many of the artists I love were active during this period. This was the time of Woodstock, for fuck’s sake. Janis, Jimi, The Allman Brothers, The Clash, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Ramones were together in ’74…

3. Bass player, c. 1993, all girl grunge band. Forever, there will always be a part of me blanketed in flannel wishing she could be a rock star. The 90s were a weird time for me, but music got me through. STP, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Deftones… I still kind of want to be in a NOFX cover band with all women called NO-DX (no dicks). It’s not grunge, but it would still work.

4. Used bookstore owner (or record store or geek paradise or coffee shop). I love books. I don’t know if I would have made it through my childhood without being able to escape in books. Used books just have a certain appeal (though I love the smell of new ones better), and e-readers are the devil. I also can’t live without coffee. I’m pretty sure that my blood is at least 64.258% coffee. And of course I love my records. Any of these would be great. I also love film, video games, and some role playing type games/card games so a geek haven would also work. Either way, I would own a business surrounding something I love which would make my job pretty much heaven.

5. Screenwriter/director, 1980s. I hate 80s music, but I’m addicted to the movies. John Hughes, Molly Ringwald, Weird Science, Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Beetlejuice, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure… The 80s might not have been as advanced as now technologically but what some great fucking scripts, man. The fact that so many movies are being remade from that era in film is evidence enough of their greatness. I want to be in on that shit!

There’s a reason obviously that I became so fixated on Rob Gordon which may be apparent from similarities in our lists. Ever seen that movie Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock where they conjure up basically the perfect man thinking that the combination was so impossible he couldn't exist? Yeah, it’s kind of like Nick Hornby picked a man that embodies so many things I would want in a partner straight from my brain, an impossible combination, and threw it into a novel. It’s funny how a book can make you feel like you know someone intimately or that you’re someone else entirely or live in another, completely different world. Books are unique that way. A book made me feel like I was in love with someone that doesn’t really exist outside of an author’s imagination. I kind of dig the powerful magic in that. And perhaps the magic in an unconditional dream jobs list just goes along with that perfectly.

Thanks for tuning in. Here are the links to the other blog posts. Be sure to check them out!                          Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                        Stacy Sews and Schools                      The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy               Confessions of a part-time working mom                    Juicebox Confession                  Someone Else’s Genius                                          The Momisodes                                 Climaxed                           Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                                Cluttered Genius                  Southern Belle Charm               Evil Joy Speaks


  1. I never remember my's so much fun to read them and see where it leads. LOVE how you started this post. Novelist and book store owner sound darn cool. I wold like that too...even perhaps a chef!

  2. I can see you in all of those careers,but #1 will come true for sure. I can't wait til I can say that I knew you when!

  3. I'd love to see you as a journalist for the record. Novelist I'm pretty sure we'll see that from you hopefully 📖

  4. Did you peek inside my brain? Well, except for the bass player. I want to play the piano!

  5. Awesome choices, Jenniy! Especially love the book / coffee shop. Perfect combination!

  6. Number 1 and 4 are my favorites!

  7. I can see all those things for you.