I Wonder What It Would Be Like to Be…


Once again, I need to give credit to one of Christine Frazier‘s prompts – this time her suggestion of writing about a recurring daydream you may have, for the idea behind this post.

While I don’t really have any recurring daydreams, I do often wonder what it would be like to be someone else, what it would be like to spend a typical day in someone else’s shoes.

So here are some people I think it would be fascinating to be for just a short while:

Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers – every time I watch this video, which is way too often, I think ‘Man, that has to be the greatest feeling in the world,  singing in front of 5,000 screaming fans.’ I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier…

Bruce Springsteen – I assume every 50-something year old man has fantasized about being the Boss. Whether it is seeing him perform live or watching an online video, the passion and joy for what he does comes through loud and clear. And he’s been doing it this way for over 40 years! By the way, I consider “Thunder Road” to be the greatest song of all time…

President of the U.S. – really, how cool would it be that you get the opportunity to possibly change the course of the world, or to pardon a turkey…

Bill Gates – one of my tech heroes, and much like Jimmy Carter and his work with Habitat for Humanity, I think Bill’s “second career” as a philanthropist will be the one he is most remembered for. But I just can’t imagine (but it doesn’t stop me from trying), what it would be like to wake up and realize you are the wealthiest person in the world (as measured in good old dollars at least). I’d love to just spend a day with him and see what his life is like.

Ellen DeGeneres – I’ll admit it, I love watching the Ellen Show. And I often think how great it must be to make people so happy by surprising guests with checks for $10,000 or giving everyone in the audience a big screen TV. Many of these occasions bring tears to my eyes. Plus, she’s vegan! If I had a giveaway, it would be an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii for every member of the audience, along with their immediate family. I also realize being Ellen for a day would require some significant transformations…

Cain Velasquez – the current UFC heavyweight champ. Imagine walking down the street, just about any street, and having the confidence to handle yourself in virtually any physical altercation. I get scared walking into Planet Fitness…

Steven Spielberg – many times when I watch a movie or a play I often wonder what it must take to bring all of that together; the actors, the script, the scenery, the locations, the special effects, the editing, etc. It’s mind boggling, and few people, if any, do it as well as Mr. Spielberg. I still remember watching a movie a long, long time ago on TV called “The Duel“, and thinking at the time what a great movie it was. It wasn’t until much later that I found out that it was one of Spielberg’s earliest directorships. Highly recommended…

While we’re at the movies, how awesome would it be to be Robert Downey, Jr. Imagine getting to be Iron Man for a day, and then later watching yourself on a  70 foot IMAX screen. Or how about the opportunity to play the male lead opposite Anna Kendrick in a movie – as her dad of course. (I think my wife reads this blog…)

I also often wonder what it would be like to be a gifted elementary school teacher at a low income school, and sparking a love of math or reading or art in a young child.

And if I were to imagine what it would be like to be someone from the past, I would add Steve Jobs giving his graduation speech at Stanford, Jimmy Cagney dancing down the White House steps in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Leonardo da Vinci having one amazing idea after another to the list.

When I try to look for what all these people have in common, what do I find fascinating about them, I guess it’s that they are all people who are among the best at what they do. They found something they love, and worked hard to excel at that. And that’s something everyone cannot only imagine, but make a reality.

And for any of you who may have wondered, or perhaps even fantasized, what it’s like to be a college professor, well here’s a day in my life: watching students fall asleep right in front of (2 minutes into the start of class), receiving emails from students asking if they missed anything important, getting an obituary from a student showing that his grandmother had died (photocopied from a Korean language newspaper), having students ask for extra credit (for just asking for extra credit), and observing students “secretly” checking their phone several times during class. Sound appealing? Then by all means, the job is all you’ve ever fantasized about.

P.S. I really do love my job; I’m blessed to be at a wonderful University surrounded by great colleagues and great students. There aren’t many things better in life than watching a struggling student succeed after putting in some hard work, or having a former student come back to class as a guest speaker and marvel at the transformation that has taken place. It’s the great circle of life.

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