Where Will Your Camera Take You? (Jimmy was dying and Charon wanted me to photograph the two of them together.)

Koh Chang, Thailand

Where Will Your Camera Take You?

Most photographers never really think about where their camera will take them. I can honestly say “my camera has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d ever go to.” When I make this statement, many readers may think I have traveled the world over and have been to exotic places. In some ways this is partially true, but you don’t have to go around the world to see amazing things and meet wonderful people. There may be an amazing place right up the street from where you live or amazing people in your community that you haven’t met yet.

My camera and my love of photography has taken me to places 10,000 miles away and it has taken me into the fields and forest behind my house. My wife is from Thailand and while my photography played a very small part in meeting her, it has played a huge roll in my life when I travel to Thailand. I can say without a doubt that there are places I would have never seen and people I would have never met if it wasn’t for the fact that I am a photographer. This sounds so prolific when you put the “10,000 miles away” statement in the paragraph. It makes me sound so worldly, I can also honestly make that same statement about the area where I live right here in the USA.

I live on the west side of New Jersey not for from the Delaware River that divides New Jersey & Pennsylvania. As my photography grew, I wanted more and more out of it. I didn’t want to just take photos of my dog anymore and I never was that great of a landscape photographer, however I did like product & food photography. I like my own product photography, I would sell stuff on eBay and I knew that the better the images of the product or item I was selling, the higher the bids would go. I sold everything on eBay from a postage stamp to a Caterpillar bulldozer. With that I was hired several times to photograph moderate to high dollar items such as antiques and cars.

Organic Pumpkin Doughnuts with pecans and maple glaze. 1/60 sec at f/3.5 ISO 50 50mm

 

Still I wanted much more from my photography. I would photograph events, just for the fun of it. Many times, I would be at a public event and think to myself “If not for photography, I would most likely not be at this event.” Some events I chose just because I wanted the challenge of photographing fast-moving things, so I would go to an airshow. Parades are always nice, but again I still wanted something more.

As my photography progressed, so did my editing skills. Learning Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom were a bit of a challenge at first, but like riding a bike it comes quickly if you keep at it. Around this time, I decided I really liked photographing people and I wanted to pursue it. I had always liked photographing people, however one day I sat thinking long and hard and came to the realization how much I liked it. The reason I had not pursued it I think was mostly due to lack of confidence and lack of equipment. One, being a mental thing and the other being obviously a money thing. So, I soon set off on a journey to acquire what I needed to photograph people. In time came better lenses and then onto building an arsenal of lighting equipment.

As for the confidence; it too came in an ebb & flow kind of way. It wasn’t like one day I woke up and “hey today I can photograph anybody.” I think what happened was, I realized I had the skill all along, all I needed to do was talk. I am not an “up front in your face kind of person” when I fist meet someone, however I found a long time ago that I have the ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. It doesn’t matter really who it is, but I usually find something to talk about. This is nothing new of course, we have all heard or read that we can start a conversation if we can find a “common ground” topic. So, using my gift of talking to people I found photographing people easier to do if I could talk as I worked.

Shooting portraits is something I really like to do because for one, I can make money doing it and two, it is a way to network into other areas of photography. Think about how much easier is it to get a wedding gig when I have already met the person/s. Business headshots is another way to network and get some good commercial work. I love photography and I love it more when it makes me money.

So as time went on my photography allowed me to meet more people, some of which I have become very good friends with and other who have become regular customers over the years. As I look back at all the places, I have been just because of my knowing how to work a camera and edit a digital image is really amazing to me. I might add it is not all about working a camera and editing an image in Photoshop. Just take for instance an engagement shoot I did at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now, I have done many engagement shoots and most times the couple wants to go to a rather quiet place, a somewhat peaceful place, but not these guys. The location is the Art Museum on a rather cold Saturday in January. It is a nice day, but cold and there is a lot of people and my job is to get good images of this couple and include the scenery of the outside of the museum all while not getting people into their photos. And if that is not bad enough there is not a cloud in the sky so the sunlight is as about as harsh as it gets. Also, I would guess about half the people walking around are also photographers on some level or another.

A little bit of a challenge it was. Just getting to the museum and parking was enough to make me want to go back home lol. Then there was the cold air and wind, the bright sunlight and all the people. All this is going on and at one point, for just a moment I think to myself “look where my camera has taken me today.” If not for the money I was making I don’t think I would have any reason to hangout one the steps of the Philly Art Museum on a cold windy day in January. The images of that day turned out great, the couple loved them and they pay for the job was very good.

 

“Look where my camera has taken me today” is something I actually think to myself a lot. Sometimes I will say it out loud even if I am all alone. I think the first time I really thought about it and actually said it to myself was in 2012 while I was in Thailand at a Buddhist temple on top of a mountain. We had driven to a parking area located nearly at the top of the mountain. Then we walked and we walked, uphill of course. “Don’t stop walking now we’re almost there” said my wife’s niece. It is very hot and humid, and I am carrying 30 lbs. of camera gear and a tripod. I am dying as we reach the steps. As I reach the top step and walk through the gate, I feel this wonderfully strong breeze blowing through the doorway. So, I step into the shade of the round roof & walkway that surrounds the temple and I stay right there. The breeze was heavenly and I drink two bottles of water in a about a minute.

As I was cooling down, I was taking in the beauty of the temple grounds, with all the amazing flowers, trees and walkways. Under the circular roof there were an endless line of gold monk busts. Then I looked toward the temple itself and it was nine stories tall and still under construction. As I walked across the courtyard into the bright sun, I was anticipating the coolness I knew would be inside the temple. I take off my shoes quickly and enter and “yes” it is cool, a nice breeze is blowing through. But nothing like the breeze that was blowing at the gate.

Okay, so there are nine floors to this temple and I will photograph my way to the top. Sadly, the elevator was still not finished and I had to climb the steep stairs. Each floor was hotter than the previous and there was no more breeze. Also, I was on my last bottle of water. So, I did make it all the way to the top and out to the open balcony. The view was breathtaking, I could see for miles. There was a slight breeze, but there was also midday sun beating down. While at the top I did take photos of the view and of the family and then back inside. After heading down the stairs, floor by floor I made it to the second floor and it was cool enough that I just wanted to sit. As I was resting, I seen a very nice scene I wanted to photograph. I was sitting on the floor preparing the camera on the tripod and then I stopped and waited as people were moving though my scene.

During this waiting for people to move and me recovering from the heat is when it hit me. I sat there thinking to myself; “look at me… I am here on this mountain top at this beautiful temple… me a country boy from 10,000 miles away” and then I said to myself “look where my camera has taken me today.” Sure, it was my wife’s idea to come to this temple, but only because she knew it would be an awesome place for me to photograph. If not for that reason I would have never been there. So, I just waited for the people to move and soon they did. I shot a series of HDR photos and moved on. But not before letting it really sink in that this camera, I am holding is really changing my life.

I have since returned to that temple once more on another trip to Thailand and I was better prepared. The second visit was well thought out and I annoyed the shit out of everybody traveling with me as I took my good ole time photographing all the stuff, I missed on the first trip lol.

Jimmy was dying and Charon wanted me to photograph the two of them together. Charon was a friend of mine who I had met on Facebook by way of her daughter who had done some amateur modeling. Charon had met Jimmy and they fell in love, I had never seen her so happy. I mean she was just so happy to have found Jimmy and he loved her too, they were an awesome couple. Charon said “I want you to shoot us, a couples shoot and it’s a paid gig, not a freebie.”

We all meet up at Smithville Park a very popular wedding and engagement shoot location in New Jersey. This was my first-time meeting Jimmy and he seemed a little “off.” I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but he seemed just a little weird. Then Jimmy said he had just had brain surgery a week or so earlier. When Jimmy left to use the restroom, Charon told me the bad news. Jimmy had brain cancer and he only had a few months live, maybe more. I continued shooting and never missed a beat. We all kept joking and moving around to the different locations at the park. We had stopped at a gazebo, it was shady and cool, I could see Jimmy was tiring and Charon was getting a phone call. So, I stepped back and let them have some private time together while I looked through my camera at the images.

I was really hurting inside. I was hurting for Jimmy who I had just met, but more so I was hurting for Charon. She is such a wonderful human being and her fulltime job is taking care of dying people. She met Jimmy because she was caring for his dying mother. They met, they fell in love and now just months later Jimmy was dying… and I am photographing the last good day of his life. And it was at that moment I said to myself “look where my camera has taken me today.” Not 10,000 miles away and not some exotic location, but to a place where I am capturing the end days of a man’s life with a woman he loves so much. After the job was done, I just sat in my car and after Charon & Jimmy left I cried.

I sat in the car just thinking about what had just happened. I was watching another couple with their photographer as she was photographing them in the park and thinking “they look just a happy as Jimmy & Charon, but I bet he’s not dying” and I laughed a little bit. I drove and got a cup of coffee to clear my head and then as I drove the hour or so back home, I ran though my mind all the places my camera had taken me. I thought about all the people I had met. It was one of those drives where I arrived at my driveway and don’t remember anything about the ride because my mind was so far away in thought.

Jimmy passed away four months later and left a hole in Charon’s heart that truly may never heal. I know they say “time heals all” and I truly believe that, but sometimes there are just not enough years in our life for time to do its good deed.

Sorry to end on such a sad note, but that is just how life is sometimes, that’s how it was for Jimmy & Charon.

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

 

 

 

Somebody’s Angel

Angels come in all shapes and sizes.

Angels come in all shapes and sizes. They can often appear in your darkest hours when hope feels like a meaningless word. Keeping faith in all things you do, stay strong and lead others. Faith in your god, your country and most of all yourself is what strong people are made of. You too could be an angel someone and never know it.

Freedom of Creativity (Sadly enough I never grew up and I’m stuck in “forty years ago.”)

By The Sea

I have never before created an image that drew so much criticism and also at the same time was liked by so many others. This is a two element composite that I created in the very beginning of 2017. Actually the image of the model was captured on the last day of 2016 in a studio. Many times when shooting a model session I will have some sort of prop that I will pull out at the very end of the shoot, sort of a surprise. In the past I have used fake hand grenades, fake cigars, and gas masks ect… On this day I had a feathered headdress that closely resembles the kind of headdresses worn by the indigenous tribes of the North American Plains or as many would call them today “Native Americans.” The headdress was purchased online from a dealer in Indonesia where the headdress is made. The headdress is fabricated from duck feathers and either painted or dyed with various colors for decoration. The rest of the material is mostly cheap felt, string, thread and plastic beads. I was actually quite disappointed when I received the headdress because the feathers were rather narrow and distorted due to the painting or dying process. For this reason I did not use it right away and I was looking for a better one. I soon lost interest and the prop was packed away. I then relocated and the prop was in storage for most of the year. I came across the headdress while sifting through my props and model wardrobe and thought “I might as well use it” after all I did pay $60 for this thing. So I brought it to the shoot, pulled it out at the very end, asked the model if she wanted to wear it and she (like me) though it would be nice and rather “Avant Garde” with the juxtaposition of the fitness attire she had on. After all I did know while shooting her on a gray background I would clip her out and use another outdoor background thus creating a “Photoshop composite” as I am so known for doing.

Why? I liked it. It was creative decision based on the look and color of the feathers and the overall feel it would bring to the image. In my years as a photographer I have designed and created my own headdress for models to wear as well as purchasing pre-made items. I have seen headdresses made from everything possible (or so it seems).  Just the other day I saw a headdress with biplanes in it. One was the plane of the famous Eddie Rickenbacker and the other Baron Von Richthofen or as many know him “The Red Baron.” I thought it to be rather funny and odd all at the same time. Some headdresses I do not get at all, such as ram horns, dead sticks, plastic garbage bags ect… But “hey” beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art, fashion and beauty are all “subjective” so while I may look at a model with sticks and deer antlers as a headpiece and think it is idiotic, others could find it artistic.

Now I am fully aware that no matter what I write in the following sentences will be justifiable in the minds of some people. I might add that I am not looking to justify anything nor am I trying to win over the opinion of a naysayer. All I am saying is “there is (in my opinion) no way possible that a model and a photographer standing in a studio and deciding to place a feathered headdress on one’s head and photographing it could bring harm to anyone”… period. The model is dressed in current day fitness attire that in no way depicts her and as a Native American. Upon close examination the headdress craftsmanship shows no possible comparison to the craftsmanship of a “Plains Native” war bonnet. Other than shape and color there is very little that could be comparable between a headdress of a Native American and the headdress that is in my image. There is nothing about the way that my image was created nor in the way the image is being presented that could be contrived as someone or anybody trying to demean or disparage indigenous people of North America who whore feathered headdresses. Now with that said there are still people whom are highly offended and for several reasons. The first thing that comes to my mind is “some people just like to be offended.” There’s no two ways to look at that, they just like being offended, its life. Then there are those who are offended because they have a vested interest.  I know that sounds rather idiotic, but it is true as true can be.

Most of us have experienced bullies growing up, every class had one or more. And if it wasn’t in the class room, it was at the park or on the school bus or somewhere in our life. You didn’t have to provoke a bully, just the mere fact that you woke up that morning and now standing in close range you were going to feel the wrath of the bully. Be it physical or verbal you were going to feel the wrath. Myself personally I felt the wrath of a few bullies and I found that the biggest way to combat a bully was to fight back. But not to fight back it the way the bully fought against me, in some cases just ignoring the bully was good enough. However most effective was a flat-out “take’em out quickly and as mercilessly as possible. It could be done verbally or physically, whatever way worked best. Now cut to forty years later we are to play patty-cakes and give blue ribbons and have an after party at Panera Bread or Starbucks. Sadly enough I never grew up and I’m stuck in “forty years ago.”

So what happened on social media? Ok here is the time line of my image. It was initially created a few days after the photo shoot. I sat on it for about a week as I made various changes to the overall color and sharpness. I made test prints and used it as an image to compare different print method. Then after about two weeks it was posted to my blog. There was very little reaction. It had been keyworded with headdress, fitness, feathered and so on. Then after a few months I decided to put the image on Instagram. It was received very well, but no more than other images of comparable quality. Then it received the first comment “this is the dumbest pic I’ve ever seen.” The man was a Native American and I waited about 12 hours and asked back “what is it about the image that you do not like? His answer said “well thank you for asking, as a native it is always disappointing to see models wearing headdresses thereby the stereotype continues, women don’t wear them, it’s disrespectful to us, but people continue to misuse our culture, thanks again for asking, most people don’t care to ask.”  I did not reply and left it at that. Then there were people hash tagging it and those I deleted. The random hash tagger is the modern-day bully whom you really can do nothing about.

While I do understand a little bit of what this gentleman is saying when it comes to native women not wearing headdresses, so I guess to him it would be like me seeing a man wearing a dress. I get that and I can live with that. But this whole “stereotype” thing is a bunch of crap. I literally have no idea what so ever of what stereotype I am keeping alive and how I am misusing anyone’s culture. So I set off and a three-day research binge to try and find what I was doing wrong and how my actions could have brought harm upon this man or anyone else. Yes for three days I spent every free moment reading and researching how the Native Americans feel and their current position in society today.

Here are my findings:

Nearly every single article I could find written on the subject of downtrodden Native Americans was on blogs, and very few were on actual creditable news sites. The articles posted to these blogs were very scathing and dramatic. While most of the facts were correct about the history of the settlers pushing out the indigenous people, the articles are clearly written to be used as “click bait” and it was easy to see why. Every single one of these blog sites were filled with pop up after pop up as well as every pixel of extra space taken up by affiliate advertisements. Essentially these were all “pay per click” sites that generate revenue each time the site is clicked upon. Are they “Fake News?” No I didn’t really see anything fake about them; however they clearly have an agenda to write articles that are jaded to drawing the reader to a predetermined conclusion rather than letting the reader draw their own conclusion.

So now I leave the blogs and head off to message boards where there is no “pay per click” and it is just everyday people talking about everyday stuff. I find that about 75% of the Native Americans who I actually questioned did not care at all about my image or any other involving non-native people wearing a feathered headdress. In fact one man said that the only people who are going to be offended are people who have something to gain by being offended. And I think he’s right. The other 25% really didn’t have bad things to say, they just thought it best to not offend anybody about anything. So let me get that right… you’re not really offended by the feathered headdress being worn by a model… but I still shouldn’t do it. Ok.

So after all the research and questioning, still no one can tell me what stereotype I am keeping alive or how what I have done has brought (or will bring) harm or doom to an indigenous person/s. My conclusion is that the biggest criers are the writers who are posting to “pay-per-click” sites. This is actually the case with a lot of social topics today. While the world is now bogged down with this increasing blight of “Fake News” we are also being bogged down with one-sided dramatic opinions that are being contrived as “facts” and it is all in the name of pay-per-click advertising. For all I know the blogs that I visited may have not been run by Native Americans at all, there really is no way to know. After all you yourself could write a post on any topic, make it as dramatic as possible and post it to your pay per click site and start making money.

For now my image will remain online. People are free to comment although they have to keep comments realistic and on topic.

“You Dick” (sad day when school principals start reciting copyright law)

This is a sad case for the school. All I have to say is ” the dick of a principal better hope pray to the high heavens that an attorney like Ed Greenberg doesn’t get a hold on him.

ESP Photoshoot (so here we go… fingers crossed)

Chloe (Model)

Chloe (Model) in a cell at Eastern States Penitentiary

 

So it’s off to ESP for a fun personal project shoot tomorrow. Personal projects can be so much fun. If done right they can prepare you for bigger and better things. It’s that “you don’t know till you try” method of learning. I have many personal photo projects planned for the autumn season involving the fall colors. But my personal projects will fall between paid work with the high school seniors/sports portraiture. There will be more outdoor shoots and now that I have found a team of models with different looks and color I can get to work on the Photoshop composites and that is where the real fun begins. In between all the photography and working a job and running a catering business I will travel to Southeast Asia (Thailand/Laos) to visit family and look after the construction of our house there. Of course the shutter will not stop, the shutter never stops.

My knowledge of photography and Photoshop comes from those who arrived before me. Some are great photographers and photoshoppers/retouchers. You have to pay homage to those from whom you’ve leaned. Some are unknowns and others are greatly known. I have read book after book and more books on photography & Photoshop and Lightroom. I have sat through hours upon hours of online classes, course and interviews. I have traveled to seminars and meetings. I have an continue to do all of this and it is not so I can be that photographer who is “just so much better” than all the others. That does not happen to anybody. The only photographers who are better than everyone else are the “legends in their own mind” and there are many. But here again I have learned from the greats like Joe McNally, Peter Hurley, Lindsay Adler, Glyn Dewis, Woody Walters (oh Woody is the man), Cliff Mauntner and even studied the legalities of photography and registering your work taught by Ed Greenburg. And these are just a few, then there all the friends I have online whom I have never met but we share advice and techniques. I hold back very little when it comes to sharing. I can’t give all I know away for I have spent countless dollars and hours to gain the knowledge I feel others who are serious should do the same. With that said I still love the joy of helping others move forward with projects & photography.

So off to ESP I go tomorrow in hopes of capturing some great images and having fun with new friends… crazy artists that they are.

How I Became Known Around The World (But I like crazy, that’s me)

Dalian China 2003

Dalian China 2003

 

Several years ago, about 2007 to be exact I heard about a program named Skype. I found it by way of watching a news interview and the reporter was being patched into the live news program via a program called Skype. I looked up Skype and read about it and at first I thought it was just another chat program. I never really was into chat, after all who would I chat with? If I wanted to talk to someone I would just pick up the phone. So I went on to read and learn more about Skype and I found it was a little different (at the time), so I downloaded it. Ok… Now I have it downloaded, but nobody I know has Skype so now what? It was like sitting in a sports car with no gas in the tank. After a few days of thinking about it and pondering I remembered reading that companies used Skype for global communications. So if I had a friend on the other side of the world I would be able to talk to them and… ah so what, I barley know myself let alone somebody on the other side of the world. I always wanted a Chinese pen pal, I have always been fascinated with Asian cultures, Chinese in particular because it dates back so many centuries and has an enormous history. Also China is so large the cultures are not the same in all regions.

So why not get a Chinese pen pal, there must be a website for that. Right? Now before I go any further I know a lot of you are thinking “he’s crazy” and that’s ok because for the most part I’m right there with you on that thought. But I like crazy, that’s me. So yes there are pen pal websites although now they call them “language exchange” sites. I pick out a site and spend time reading and studying all about it. Many times when I tell this story I get asked; how did I know how to do this? Do what? I just spent hours reading about it. But isn’t that boring? Yes, but remember I’m crazy. So after reading I make a profile and then I sit there and look at the screen… now what? Maybe about two weeks later I get an email that someone wants to contact me, then a day or two later another contact comes in. I contact the person back and tell them I have Skype and nothing really happens. Now you must know this is strictly plutonic on my end. I am not in any way looking for online relationships other than to talk about culture and daily life. The second contact was a hit and we would chat. It was a Chinese boy who was a swimmer training for the upcoming Olympics. His English name was Ben. He was very interesting to chat with. Then a girl named Grace contacted me but not through the exchange site but rather by way of the Skype directory (like a big phone book). She just pulled my name out of the directory because I was in the USA and that intrigued her. We chatted and she told me many stories about her life in China. Nothing special, just everyday life.

As time passed I made many friends in China both male & female, from different regions with different jobs or careers. Some worked in science laboratories, one lady was a coal broker and another was a purchaser for a manufacturing company. One person I found very interesting was a college student who had very strict parents. They wanted her to learn English and paid for a private tutor for her and her younger sister, one hour every day. She also was learning proper American etiquette and would contact me when she had a question about her homework. I remember teaching her how to set a table with the placement of each utensil and what that utensil would be used for. She ate with chopsticks so she had no knowledge at all of what a salad fork vs. dinner fork was. It was truly a fascinating thing for me. Boring for anybody else, fascinating for me. I remember a young man about 22 or 23 contacting me and asking if I would re-write his résumé in correct English. He was applying to a Japanese company that specialized in disaster rescue after catastrophic events like earthquakes and tsunamis. He got the job and moved to Japan and I never heard from him again. I learned about what they learn in school, what they like & dislike, how they live, work, play commute. I also learned what they think about USA, Obama and all our politics or what they know of it. I learned what they hear in their news is not always the truth (as we know it) and I learned more so what we hear in our media is not always the truth. Funny thing I learned is that Americans always talk about how our media sucks (for the lack of a better word) but we’ll defend it as the truth if another country’s media says something different. I would hear things like “what the hell do they know… they’re China.” And yes the Chinese do the same, they defend their media. I guess you could sum the whole experience up as “we are all the same” we are human; we are the people of the world. My chat friends had the same problems we all do. They had divorce, cancer, love & hatred, careers, college, vacations, pets, loneliness, depression, happy, domestic problems, religion, and a zest for life.

I still have never traveled to China and most of my chat friends have moved on except for Grace. We stay in touch through email and exchange photos. She has a job as a travel agent and sends me photos of the places along her travels. I know I will travel to China one day and I know it will be the time of my life. I like most tourists want to see the Great Wall but that is about as far as I want to go with the “normal” tourist travel, for having friends there that you personally know sheds a whole new light on things and opens so many more possibilities for being able to see other places like farms and the countryside. Maybe having a chance to go to an out of the ordinary place that and American tourist would never get to see. If you have read some of my previous blog posts about travel you will know, yes I like to travel but I hate the masses. I have never been on a tour bus in my life. Not to say they are bad but it just is not me. So there you have it that is how I became known around the world (I guess you could say). It certainly changed the way I view the world, that’s for sure. I think the one thing that hit me the hardest and has never left my brain is the fact that Chinese children (today) start learning English at about the 3rd grade. Problem is they are taught by other Chinese and not by a native English teacher so the reading and writing is there but there, but the speech is horrible. A Chinese person who can read, write & speak English can at this moment triple their yearly salary working for an American company based in China. Now here is the real kicker and the ironic contrast as I call it. Chinese people, 1.8 billion are willing to openly let English come to they’re daily life. But here in the USA where we are 300 million plus and we are having Spanish shoved down our throats and up our ass by 15 million wanna-be residents. Just think about that… and let it sink in.

The reason I wrote this post was to let people know a little about how I became friends with people I never met face to face 8000 miles away.

I also met my wife via Skype as a 100% cold contact; I just picked her name out of the directory. That is another story for another day.

Just A Quick Thought… (Yes, I was a smart ass in third grade.)

Black Diamond Jet Team 1/4000 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm

Black Diamond Jet Team Lehigh Valley International Airport
1/4000 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm

 

Just a thought… when I was a small child adults would ask us children; What do you want to do when you grow up? From boys there would be answers like a fireman, an astronaut or maybe a policeman. I can remember in third grade Miss Dilts (god rest her soul) going around the room and asking this question and really digging your brain for answers. I remember a few boys saying that they wanted to be a farmer “just like my father.” Really I can remember it like it was yesterday… Wait a minute… come to think of it I can’t remember yesterday. So ok so let’s just say I remember it very well. I remember the girl Karen sitting next to me explaining how she wanted to be a doctor like her father. I remember one young man saying he was going to be a pilot and he did. He grew up and entered into the air force and became a fighter pilot. When she asked me I said I want to travel around the world. And in a way I have, I found a lovely wife in Southeast Asia and life’s not over yet so who knows. I remember Miss Dilts saying “that’s it travel around the world, that is not a job.” I said “but you asked me what I want to do, you did say anything about a job.” (Yes, I was a smart ass in third grade.)

Not to sound sarcastic but I will… I wonder if there ever was a child who dreamed of growing up to be a blight on society like a Kardashian (it pays better than a doctor or attorney) or to become a tool like Ryan Seacrest. Or do any children aspire to be like Al Sharpton or Chris Christie. Just wondering…