At any time, we achievement-oriented nut jobs can come up against our insane belief that we’re actually in control. Listen, God? I’d really like to take that client golfing tomorrow, I feel it would really put him in a mood to be receptive to new ideas. So, that rain you’re supposed to dump on us? How about holding off, just for me? (The worst part is when it ends up not raining, and you think you actually had something to do with it.) Needless to say, we have to be vigilant in keeping our control issues at bay.
So, when my daughter snagged the lead in the elementary school production of “Annie,” the nightmares began. My kid will end up getting the acting bug, and going into a profession where 95 percent of the workforce is unemployed, and the 5 percent that are employed buy mansions where they can have all-night sex parties. Hold on, Tom, pull it back for a moment. It’s unlikely that she wants to pursue a career in show business, so just let her have fun. Besides, acting teaches good memory skills, poise, discipline, all skills that will serve her well in the future workforce.
There, my control issues have subsided. I can just sit back and enjoy my daughter enjoying being in a play. I have no business projecting into the outcome of what this small school production could have on her future. All I can control is what is right in front of me. And what’s right in front of me is my daughter, starring in a play. Wait a minute, she’s going to be out there for everyone to see! Somebody needs to make sure she acquits herself in the most admirable fashion she can muster! Surely, I can’t trust some hack director at the school to make my little girl look good out there! I’ve got to step in here!
Before you can say “Daddy Warbucks,” I’ve pumped another grand into the set design. I’ve hired a vocal coach who can take my daughter’s voice from basso profondo to flageolet in 2.2 seconds. I’ve hired another vocal coach to make sure all the other kids in the chorus are at their optimum, so my girl gets the support she needs. I’ve paid off the parents of all the kids in the band, kicked them out of the pit orchestra and hired, at great expense, the Seattle Philharmonic. I’ve fired the director and taken over those duties myself, screaming “No, no! Annie grew up in an orphanage! It’s just not in her character to worry about a permanent for her curls! Come on, think, think about your motivation here!” And of course I’ve pulled every string I have to make sure the biggest local talent agents in town are in the front row, ready to sign my kid to a lucrative commercial contract as soon as the curtain goes down. Sure, it puts undue pressure on an eleven-year old, but I’m only looking out for her best interests!
Thankfully, all of the above desperate measures take place only in my poorly-adjusted mind, and I am able to step back and let things happen as they may. After all, it’s a hard knock life, and the sooner a child realizes that, the better. Not that I’m trying to control that, too. Aw, heck. I guess work/life balance, much like tomorrow, is always a day away.