"Ma'am, would you like fries with that subpoena?"
When I was five years old my parents bought me a Burger King. No, it was not a franchise. It's pictured below for your amusement. Check it:
Granted, that isn't me in the photo. If it had been, maybe I would have become a professional child model, which would have led me to discover photography at a young age, and that would have eventually put me on the path to a career in photography sooner than my 50's. Truly it no longer matters. The past is meaningless. I'm doing the work now, and life is good, but I can't help myself. It begs the question: "Can I sue my parents for child abuse if I can prove that this act determined my self-worth, which ultimately determined my net worth?" More importantly, what kind of parental terrorist places a phone call, and speaks to a Sears Catalog representative, with any confidence and pride, and orders a giant piece of red and yellow fiberboard with the words Burger and King printed on it without taking a beat to consider there might be another way to spend 12 dollars and change that wouldn't preordain one's offspring to a life of polyester, weird hats, and beef? What did my mother say exactly? I imagine it was something like this, "Oh..hello...yes...I would like to order Item #10 in your catalog. Yes, the Burger King Play Restaurant. Uh-huh...yes...that's the one. Yes, it's for my son. Oh, yes he will love it. We believe him to have no future, so we thought it was best to keep any hopes and expectations he has very, very, very low. Wouldn't want him to think the world to be a place of wonder, discovery, and endless possibilities now would we?" I think the act speaks far more to my mother than to myself. She barely knew me. I was five.
Regardless, of what my mother thought, something told me I was meant for better. While it did take a long time for me to find my calling, I did manage to avoid a career in Whoppers and Chicken Fries. (Hurts to even type those words) It took a recipe of therapy, hard conversations, self-help books, and a husband who believes in me to give me the courage to trust my talents, and move into something fulfilling. Not to mention that I've got the coolest chosen family on the planet backing me up...loving me every step of the way. Love those crazy kids. I'm also fortunate that my clients have been truly brilliant collaborators. I wouldn't have any art to display if it wasn't for them.
So, who cares that my parents made disturbingly bad choices when it came to gifts. It was the 70's. I'm lucky. I could have ended up a five year old coke addict, shaking my ass on a mirrored dance floor like Drew Barrymore. I think I'm okay.