catapult magazine

catapult magazine


you can be anything!


Apr 19 2003
09:21 am

When I was growing up in the 1940s, it seemed like all parents (at least in my lower middle class environment) said that anybody could be anything they wanted to be. Usually, it was framed in terms of anybody could grow up to be President of the United States. To some extent, it was a mantra; to a lesser extent, everybody believed (or wanted to believe) it, because that was the essence of “the American Dream.”

I still think that you can be almost anything you want to be. (Actually, it’s probably more true for women than it was in the 1940s and 1950s. My wife took one of those career aptitude tests in high school; the counselor said that, if she was a boy, she should probably be a forest ranger; since she was a girl, she might be a flower arranger in a florist shop). Having said that, I don’t think it is possible for anyone to be President. Probably anyone can be an actor, but I doubt that talent and hard work are enough to make you a “star.” “The American Dream” looks pretty tarnished to me, but it’s still probably easier to envision in this country, Canada, or some of “old Europe” than anyplace else.