A Hooker with a Heart of Gold

When I was in fifth and sixth grade I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. To be more specific I wanted to be a payload specialist. I studied the movie Space Camp backwards and forwards. I memorized movie lines and could discuss rocket boosters. On family trips to Florida I most looked forward to visiting Cape Canaveral. When the Challenger exploded I mourned for the lost life and the space program. It was my mother who finally brought me back to earth, “Heather, not everyone is meant for college.”

You may be thinking that was mean, but I promise you it wasn’t. I was a terrible student. I never did homework and my ability to do basic math is laughable. What my Mom was trying to say was, “we all can’t be doctors.” She was a logical woman. If everyone had the ability to be a president, CEO, lawyer, doctor, scientist, or astronaut, there would be no mechanics, receptionists, teachers, actors, writers, or cashiers. Everyone is not destined for greatness. It may seem mean, but sometimes the truth is harsh. I dropped my dream of working for NASA, but I still had other dreams.

Molly Ringwald needed an understudy and I was up for the part. I would have been the kind of understudy found in that cinematic gem Showgirls. Poor Molly would have slipped on a rosette that had fallen from one of her kicky vests and I would have gracefully accepted the lead in For Keeps. I loved “Moll” (it’s my private nickname for her) in every movie she did. In Sixteen Candles I cheered for her when she sees Jake after the wedding. In Pretty in Pink I cringed when she created the world’s ugliest dress. In The Breakfast Club she ate sushi. I was pretty sure that I would like sushi someday. As you can clearly see I was obviously meant to be Molly Ringwald. After a while it seemed clear that Molly had her career under control and I moved on to my next career, artist.

My life as an artist peeked when I received an art award in the third grade. That was it. My artistic talent never matured past that. This was a short-lived phase because I looked dumb in a beret. I did spend ten years working as a graphic artist, but I was kind of terrible at it. My design was rarely creative and I once listed my own phone number as the ISBN number. I am self aware enough to recognize when it is time to drop a dream. It was time to forget about a life in Paris.

The biggest and most exciting thing that happened to me up until age 16 was that my best friend, Kristi, had movie channels. These movie channels helped to form my next great career idea: hooker with a heart of gold. I was fascinated by the movie Angel. It is a sweet story of a fifteen year old girl, who is best in her class by day and a teen prostitute at night. The absolute best part of my hooker obsession was that Angel was a three-part series. Three parts! Someone created three full screenplays on this one character, and I have written one line of a novel. It seems so wrong. The hooker with a heart of gold is one of my favorite Hollywood themes. If Ricky Business is on then you will find my ass planted on the couch. If Pretty Woman is on then no laundry will be folded. If I catch the opening scenes of True Romance you will hear me sigh and say, “I wish someone would kill my pimp for me.” My hooker obsession was at an all time high when I tried to convince a boy at Kingsway Skateland that I was a prostitute at night. Because nothing screams teenage whore like a pair of over-sized glasses, a perm, and a white Swatch watch. After a while “selling my body to the night” seemed like a bad career choice and I went with my true love, writing.

I have been many things in my 38 years. Mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, special education assistant, graphic artist, administrative assistant, and a case worker in a child support office. However, the one thing that was a constant through all of the things that I have been was that I like to write. I like to tell stories. The other day I had a moment of clarity. Every week I sit in front of a computer and I type. I come up with a thought that I want to discuss and then I discuss it. I put words on a screen and then I put it out there for people to read. Sometimes I get great feedback. Other times I hear almost nothing back, but guess what? I am writing. Acclaim and greatness may never come my way, but still I write. I am a writer and I am more than a little proud of myself.

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