No sooner had we paid off one kids' pre-paid college tuition plan, and gotten within a few months of paying off the other, when the two announced their career ambitions: trash man and
drive-through restaurant cashier.
Creed, who is 12, launched the conversation with his comments about how much fun it would be to work on the trash truck. It was the day after bulk trash pickup.
"I'll come visit you in your cardboard box,'' I said.
I don't know how to write the sound that he makes when he thinks what I'm saying is wrong. It's what I call the Exaggerated Gasp, and it is akin to an asthma attack wheeze into a microphone.
"Garbage men make a lot of money!'' he said. "They make more than teachers.''
I suspect he picked up that fact from one of his teachers, probably someone up high in the union.
"Teachers get the summer off,'' I countered, "but while they're on the beach, you would still be sifting through people's castoff garbage.''
Lily piped in. "I'm going to be a register.''
"What is a register?'' I asked, picturing an accounting ledger, and Lily sitting over it with a sharp pencil and designer eyeglasses. I was starting to feel better.
"You know those people you give money to with the register? They get paid!'' she said.
"You mean like a McDonald's drive-through lady who works on the cash register?''
I had a flashback to a running discussion I had with Creed when he was about 5. The theme was "Is BLANK a good job?'' And he had asked me after we went through a toll booth on the Turnpike, "Is that a good job?''
I'm not criticizing all the good people who hold these jobs. But we've spent a fortune on college tuitions for these two, already. And if you don't use these pre-paid plans, you don't even earn interest on all the money you shelled out!
Plus, as parents aren't we supposed to push our kids to get as educated as they can? Because I want to live in a nice assisted living facility when I get old. A place with a nice hot tub.
"Lily, you are going to be a doctor who delivers babies,'' I said. "And Creed, you're going to be a veterinarian.''
End of story. Unless, of course, Creed's high school graduation coincides with bulk trash day, and he succumbs to the dream.