Last year, I made one of the best decisions of my life and decided to go back to school for a certificate for Marketing at UCLA Extension. In those 12 months, I gained tons of useful knowledge and my teachers were encouraging, supportive, and incredibly inspirational. But before I discovered the program at UCLA, there was an extended period where I had no direction in life. During this time, I drank a little more than I should have, watched too much TV, and let every show influence my potential career choice.
DEXTER: I convinced myself I wanted to be a blood spatter analyst. Sure, I’d have to deal with dead bodies and get called to crime scenes during dinner and on holidays, but wouldn’t it be fulfilling to help solve murders? I could always get a degree from ITT Tech or one of those places that advertises late at night when your insomnia kicks in. And ok, the idea of being around a warm corpse does kind of churn my belly, but if I could stomach 4 tequila shots plus 3 dirty vodka martinis last weekend surely I can handle the smell of rotting flesh?
FACE OFF: I convinced myself I wanted to be a makeup artist. Sure, I hardly ever wear makeup and I always stab my eyeball when applying eyeshadow, but this looked like FUN! I could learn to sculpt like Demi Moore in Ghost, then enter a dazzling airbrushing frenzy when painting the costume mold. Perhaps my character would end up looking like a lumpy mountain of silicon, but then I could just cover it up with cheese and tell Glen Hetrick that I purposely created Pizza The Hut from Spaceballs. Voila!
HELLS KITCHEN: I convinced myself I wanted to be a chef. Sure, I’ve nearly set my apartment on fire a few times and I don’t own any pots or pans, but my hard work and cheery attitude are certain to win over the brash Mr. Ramsey. I would kindly smile as he called me a donkey, and keep my sunny demeanor apparent as I make a fresh order of scallops after burning them for the 73rd time.
INK MASTER: I convinced myself I wanted to be a tattoo artist. Sure, my drawing skills are heinous and I could never stay inside the lines in my coloring books, but how amazing would it feel to forever etch a stunning masterpiece on a human canvas? This idea was rather short-lived, however, when I thought about my sloppy stick-figure drawings being a permanent fixture on a person’s body.
EPISODES: I convinced myself I wanted to be a writer. Sure, the only things I’d written recently were grocery lists and emails to my parents, but how hard could it be to translate the schizophrenic thoughts in my brain into a cleverly written script? Turns out, way harder than I thought. There’s no sexy salt n pepper Matt LeBlanc in my living room asking me how how I’m doin’ and reeking of cinnamon-Joey-scented-cologne. But at least this show helped me realize I wanted, and needed, to do something creative.
So now, after I finally have a clear goal and career path in mind, I owe a debt of gratitude to UCLA. But I also owe a giant thanks to TV. As a wise man, Homer Simpson, once said, “The answer to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!”