When Elijah was little, he would say, “I want to be a sea animal helper when I grow up.” Over the years he’s stuck to this life goal with little variations like, “I want to be a ticket taker at the Shedd Aquarium.”
My career has given me a lot of awesome experiences (I’m writing this on a flight back from Dubai) and hilarious adventures and affords us a very Evanston lifestyle, but I lost sight of my own sea animal helper dream somewhere. I want Eli to hold onto his.
A few Sundays ago, I had to run into the office to check in on a hard working team who had burned the whole weekend trying to solve a particularly vexing advertising problem. Eli begged to come with. His number one reason was so he could get out of going to Luca’s soccer game. I tried to talk him out of it. He’d be bored and he’d have to sit in my office while I worked with the team in a conference room. But he preferred sitting in my office watching YouTube over giving his brother an ounce of morale support.
We got to the office in record time (the streets were free of idiots working on a Sunday) and checked Eli in at security. Seeing the look on his face, I remembered how easy it is to forget big office buildings are kind of cool. There were automatic doors and elevators that make your ears pop and giant windows overlooking Lake Michigan and absolutely massive bathrooms.
As I worked, Eli discovered the company’s free candy and the creative department games. He spun around in expensive office chairs and drew “Eli is great” on one of the many white boards.
The weekend team had done marvelous work and blessing it took far less time than I thought. I brought Eli to say hi to the team before we headed home. Eli was stunned. There was leftover Chipotle in the corner, and a bevy of other snacks and gum strewn about. The team itself was a collection of hip young twentysomethings. One of the guys had a ponytail! Oh, and get this. They had Nerf guns!
We walked to get a post work smoothie and Eli said, “Your job is the coolest.” I tried to explain that we were working on a Sunday, which was the opposite of cool. Eli nodded as he ate the free sucker from the 24th floor candy jar.
Maybe he can make ads about sea animals when he grows up.