I want to be an artist

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Not sure if that was the exact question but, when I was in Grade 6 at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mrs. Butler wanted to know our career aspirations.

I said, an artist.

My classmates approved, and all around the room I heard comments along the lines of, “He’ll make it.”

Not so fast, said the dream killer.

Mrs. Butler proceeded to pull out a collection of drawings and paintings from her former students and said, “You think you’re good? Look at these.”

Not exactly a confidence builder for a 12-year-old.

Though, if my friend Mike McDougall reads this, he proved Mrs. Butler wrong because he actually became an airline pilot.  Ha, you naysaying ninny.

A few weeks ago, I started to sketch the scene my living room. The couch, entertainment unit, Ringo and his cage. It wasn’t half bad, and it took my back to 1974 when I had rendered a black and white sketch, totally free hand, of baseball legend Hank Aaron. Not sure why I chose Hank but it was the same year The Bad News Bears had been released, and  Ahmad Abdul Rahim told Bears coach Buttermaker  he wanted to play the same position as Aaron, right field.

I’ve always preferred left field though I buggered up my arm a month ago playing centre field. Caught a ball off my shoe tops, snapped my arm back at the elbow and, torn bicep tendon. Though, since I had to wait over three weeks for an ultrasound, surgery may no longer be an option. At least it’s my non-dominant hand. I can still throw and bat without pain.

But that sketch of Hammerin’ Hank didn’t impress Mrs. B.

I took art in high school. None of my teachers saw anything promising and I spent those years wondering what I really wanted to do for a living. Years later I told Mike that I had considered being a pilot, so much so that I had to to go back for an extra semester to catch up on physics and chemistry.


Failed both of them. I wasn’t meant to be a scientist, pilot or insurance adjuster. Though, between high school and college I did work in the mail room at Pilot Insurance. The pilot logo was a sea captain, not an aviator.

Would Mrs.  Butler have suggested journalism, or a career in radio? 

My local dollar store has pencils and sketch pads for $1.29 and I’m often tempted to buy those and start drawing again. Life is full of regrets and I don’t want to be 110 (yes, I am a dreamer) sitting on the patio of a beachfront bar, looking out at the water and thinking, “I should have….”

Maybe my sketches wil be crappy. Maybe good. But the joy is in creating and, torn bicep tendon notwithstanding, I should put pencil to paper, raise the finished piece and salute my Grade 6 destroyer of dreams.

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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