“You can do anything you put your mind to,” they said. “Anything.”
Those are the first words I remember hearing. My earliest years had proven a tough time (what with my lack of athletic ability), but in these words, I found new hope. After all, my parents could speak nothing but truth.
At age three, I came to my first major career decision, and made it my ultimate goal to become a stegosaurus. Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate in putting my mind to it. I could be found hard at work, either in the park or at the local sand box during every last one of my week’s free hours. Other parents had never seen such determination; I could tell by their shocked facial expressions that they were impressed. I knew that realistically, I would never make a proper stegosaurus without sacrifice. I cut down on animal crackers and began a regimented applesauce diet.

But, I soon learned the hard way the truth of the old saying: the best laid plans of stegosauruses and men often go awry. By the time I was five, demand for the services of a quality herbivorous quadru-ped had dwindled, and my playground training had, I admit, begun to feel stagnant. The time had surely come for me to pursue a more economically viable position, to start thinking seriously about making a name for myself in the professional world. Thus, I decided to shift my path to that of a superhero.
I considered various aliases, most involving adjectives such as “super,” “awesome,” and “super-awesome,” all of which would be appropriate once my superpowers revealed themselves. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I realized that my prime was behind me. I was much too old to begin fighting crime, developing telekinesis, etc. My return to the drawing board was a bitter one.
With two disappointments under my belt, I began to question the validity of Mom and Dad’s original confidence. In years since, many an occupational dream has come and left me. In no particular order, the more memorable ideas include the following: attorney at law, marine biologist, veterinarian, President of the United States, beekeeper, Vice President of the United States, prospector, President of Atlantis, cowboy, Indian, candy man (I didn’t know what the profession entailed, but it sounded like a safe enough bet), dentist, hedge-fund consultant, pizza chef, and author.
The truth is, I’ve never argued in a court of law, saved a puppy, revolutionized foreign policy (in America or Atlantis), bee-kept, funded a hedge, or done whatever it is that a candy man does. But I’ve written this much, haven’t I?
That might just make me an author.
Maybe Mom and Dad were onto something.

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