Want to Be

One day

when we were young

Owen asked me,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I want to be an astronaut.

It’d be so cool to go into outer space

and wear a space suit

and do space stuff.”

Several years later

Owen asked me again,

“What are you going to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I’m going to be a professional soccer player.

My parents and coach say I’m good enough

to get scholarships for it, and I want

to get into one of the top leagues.”

Another set of years passed,

and Owen again asked me,

“What are you going into?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I’m pretty much set to be a welder.

An astronaut is ‘too impractical’—I’d

never get there, anyway—and I focused too much

on soccer and not enough on my grades.

Spent too much time on things I’d never make it with.”

“Welders are good,” I told him.

“Welders are always needed.

There are always things to be welded

that machines can’t tackle.”

Owen never asked me again.

It made me think, though,

so one day, I asked something.

When I turned and asked the world,

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

all I heard was sadness.

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