Careers I Could Have Had (if it wasn’t for a few little things)
Astronaut – This was my first career choice, aged five. The thought of exploring the universe was extremely amazing to me, but in reality I got motion sickness in my mum’s Citroen 2CV Dolly car, so the thought of having my internal organs behaving like a lava lamp in zero gravity was a bit of a dampener. And I didn’t want floating poo anywhere near me. Not mine and certainly not anyone else’s. Add the fact that there wasn’t a huge recruitment for NASA training in 1977 Wales, my Astronaut dream remained just that.
Florist – I love flowers. One of my favourite subject matters to photograph. I just think they are all so beautiful and flowers always make me smile, so what could be more perfect to work with. Well, it would be perfect if I didn’t have hay fever. And loath early mornings. Getting up early for the flower markets when you’re a night owl would not be pretty.
Teacher – I toyed once with the idea of being a teacher. Sharing knowledge to others, shaping young lives, having lots of holidays, etc. But then I realized that I don’t like children and it would be shear hell on earth. So I stopped toying with that idea.
Funeral director – I was, and still am, obsessed by death. What could be more perfect than becoming an undertaker? I like to work alone, like unsociable hours and could do hair and make-up on a corpse better than on a real live human. I had my careers talk in school on being a funeral director when I was fifteen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get work experience with any funeral directors. Or quite possibly fortunately. I’m incredibly squeamish. If I get a paper cut I need a lie down, and I have to look away when watching ‘Casualty’. Which is a bit of a contradiction as I love watching horror films and seeing people being mutilated. But my love of horror films would probably have made me more jittery than a live chicken at a voodoo party, not good when working alone with dead bodies. I would have given myself a heart attack by week two. I’ll stick to the horror films.
Marine biologist – I’ve always been fascinated by the sea. I get excited that a lot of it is still so unknown and there could be any number of weird and wonderful creatures down there. But having watched Jaws when I was six years old I have not been able to swim in the sea since. I have an irrational fear that I will have my legs bitten off by a shark. Which is a shame as I’m a good swimmer. I even had to get out of a swimming pool once as I was convinced the grills in the deep end of the pool (that controlled the wave machine) were hiding a shark that would be released when the waves were switched on. Yes, my brain is that much of an idiot. So there’s no way I could wet suit up and go diving in the sea. There’s actually no way I could wet suit up full stop; I don’t think there’s enough talcum powder in the UK to squeeze me into a suit. And if I did I’d have Greenpeace boats circling around me, protecting me from whalers.
Professional dancer – When I was little I loved watching the dancers on Top of the Pops. Pans People, Legs & Co, Hot Gossip, I loved watching them all. I even wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking for Jim to fix it for me to dance with them. In retrospect I’m glad my letter wasn’t picked. But I wanted to dance and wear pretty floaty outfits with sparkles on, lots of sparkles. This however could not be a career choice of mine as being overweight with a severe lack of co-ordination is a hindrance to a dancer. I just dance unprofessionally in private now.
Vet – I love animals and helping to heal them would have been ideal. If I wasn’t allergic to animal fur and saliva. I think a vet specializing in the hairless Cornish rex cat and goldfish would be a little too niche. I would also find this too emotional, if I couldn’t save an animal I would be devastated and if I thought someone’s pet would be better off with me I would steal it and take it to my animal sanctuary that I would undoubtedly need. I would become a ‘petkleptomaniac’.
So there’s some career choices I didn’t make. But when I die I intend to have my ashes fired up into space (they’re attached to a rocket then parachuted off when out of Earth’s atmosphere apparently), so maybe I’ll get to explore the universe and become an astronaut after all.