Your Doctors and Lawyers Did Something Stupid Once, Probably

Fifty Shades of Gray fans, there's a handcuff story in here.

We’ve always been pressured with that one question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. We dressed up as firefighters and doctors and princesses and ninjas when were in kindergarten in the hopes that the day we finally became one of those things called grown-ups, we would be a whole lot cooler. In high school, during homecoming week, we had a day devoted to dressing up as what we imagined we would be like, five, ten, or twenty years from then. Some girls lazily stuffed a pillow under their shirts and declared that by then they’d be pregnant. Some boys from military families put on their dad’s or older brother’s uniform; they would carry on their family’s service. Other students got more creative: teachers and doctors and the occasional astrophysicist walked the halls. I even saw our future president between classes. I dressed up as mime. I don’t know why; I think I had a clown nose and bowler hat on hand, and I’m already very pale, so…

Now that I’m in my twenties, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has become more and more frequent; only this time it’s disguised as “So after graduation, what’s next?” “What exactly do you want to do with your major?” and “What kind of journalism are you going into?”. Lately, I’ve been waving my arms around like a windmill, shaking my head and shrugging my shoulders, and rolling my eyes upward like a woman possessed, shrieking “I don’t know!”

My humanities major keeps my job range rather broad. Essentially, as long as I’m not working at Starbucks I’ll be happy. But many of my friends and classmates have their goals, their careers, their whole lives already figured out. And here’s where I get to my point about doing stupid things.

My boyfriend has a good friend who wants to be a cop. He just finished his degree in criminal justice, and has been working as a security guard. One night, this friend came over to my boyfriend’s right after work, with all his gear on him. I remember that I was sitting next to my boyfriend when he came up to him, took his handcuffs out, and linked up their wrists together without blinking an eye.

He laughed, my boyfriend laughed, and I laughed as the friend searched his pocket for the key.

“It’d be really funny if I actually lost the key, wouldn’t it?”

Then his eyes widened in fear.

“My point being is that your future fellow adults, the ones counting out your pills or filing your taxes, probably did something really, really stupid…But you know what? That’s great.”

Fast-forward through a few aggravating hours of searching the apartment, the friend’s car, and the sidewalk outside, I found myself, a 5’3″ woman, standing between two six-foot-tall idiots who were too worried about their masculinity to be caught holding hands by whoever would be out at midnight on a Tuesday. I stood between them, hands over their backs, making an illusion of three friends out for a stroll locked in some kind of huddle. The friend didn’t want to call the cops to unlock the cuffs for fear of ruining his reputation with them. My boyfriend had to pee.

We were walking to my house because I realized a few years ago my family had found a pair of handcuffs-equipped with a key-while cleaning out a relative’s garage. I left the two outside and snuck into my house, grabbing not only the key but also any sort of wire for lock-picking, and a saw.

I dropped the bag of metal objects with a clatter on the sidewalk outside.

“You’re both idiots,” I said. Then I unlocked the handcuffs with the key.

“Why did you bring a saw?” asked my boyfriend.

I drive too fast on the highway, and I know it. Whether it’s to work, class, or the movies, I’d prefer to get there in as little time as possible. I know that someday I’ll be pulled over for driving 90mph down the highway, and with any luck it will be my boyfriend’s good friend. I know that I wouldn’t say it aloud, but it’ll be nice to think that the officer issuing me a speeding ticket once needed my help getting un-handcuffed to another man.

My point being is that your future fellow adults, the ones counting out your pills or filing your taxes, probably did something really, really stupid. I know future doctors, journalists, psychologists, school teachers, and police officers. I also know they all did something slightly to incredibly stupid, generally around this point of time in their lives. But you know what? That’s great. At least now I know when I’m trying to be an adult in my thirties and forties, at least these other so-called adults are more than likely struggling to be ones, too.

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